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September 26, 2017

September 26, 2017

Publishing News

Opinion: Hearst's Clinton Offers 'Facts Vs. Fiction' on Magazine Media, Including Newsstand
Writing in Hearst's blog, Michael Clinton, president of marketing and publishing director, Hearst Magazines, writes in part: "Here’s a headline for you: Print is alive and well with consumers everywhere. I know it’s different than the headlines you’ve been seeing lately, but it happens to be a fact. True, the magazine media industry is in a transitional moment, but a few select stats can easily paint a picture that doesn’t reflect the state of our industry. At Hearst, we value our core print business, and readers do as well. The most recent report for the first half of 2017 shows that, for the industry as a whole, print circulation is consistent, and, at Hearst, it was even slightly up. What’s more, more than half of our portfolio has seen audience growth, which is especially impressive considering that many of our brands have increased the cost of their subscriptions. Magazines have successfully extended across digital platforms, and all expressions of our brands are consistent or improving in terms of audience numbers. For example, Good Housekeeping’s circulation is 4.3M, where it has been for many years. At the same time, the brand has seen an increase in its overall audience, with robust traffic online and millions of social media followers across platforms. All boats are lifted. Print enhances digital and vice versa... Hearst drives print circulation with digital and mobile experiences. Through initiatives with digital and mobile partners, we are building print audiences: Our T-Mobile Tuesday promotion in April engaged 2M mobile app users and generated 235,000 paid subscriptions to 13 Hearst magazines in just one day. That’s demand. And we have two more programs lined up for later in the year... our online sweepstakes platform continues to be a powerful driver of subscriptions across our portfolio--on track to bring in over 1M subscriptions this year, and 5M sweepstakes entries." On the newsstand: "Ibotta, a mobile rebate app, is a new partnership that’s augmenting newsstand sales... The newsstand is an important channel for Hearst, especially because it keeps our brands front and center with consumers on their daily commutes and shopping expeditions. We pay special attention to the newsstand--for example, this is the second year of our 'We Are Fashion' campaign, highlighting our four key fashion magazines with major promotions at Hudson News transportation terminals and Barnes & Noble bookstores. But retail too is changing, and currently accounts for about 7% of our total circulation. That said, Hearst is the number one publisher on the newsstand, with the largest average single copy sale, and six of the top 10 best-selling monthly magazines." On launches: "We also know that great content drives demand, and we’re committed to launching new products in print. We introduced The Pioneer Woman Magazine earlier this year as a newsstand-only test, and it was extraordinarily successful—so successful that we went back to press to print an additional 100,000 copies to meet consumer demand. We doubled the print run for the second issue, on sale now. Initiatives like this prove that the newsstand will always be a significant part of our business. Airbnbmag, our other print test, has tapped into a new global community who have a different ethos as they travel the world. This has also captured new newsstand and subscriber readers who want a content experience from Airbnb..." On magazine brands' influence: "When fraud and unsafe environments are top of mind, readers know that the information and ideas they get from brands like ours is authoritative and edited. And our readers are influencers too: An MPA survey showed that magazine readers are among the most highly influential consumers--they spark conversations based on the content they read, and trust, from our brands... Consumers are connected to magazine brands because of their connection to the content, not the platform on which it’s delivered. In a world as fast-paced and news-heavy as ours, readers crave immediacy from our digital efforts, but also the ability to slow down and have a non-digital experience with self-selected content that they love in our print products. It’s our job to continue reinventing what’s on the page to keep the reader excited and engaged. Consumers are connected to magazine brands because of their connection to the content, not the platform on which it’s delivered. In a world as fast-paced and news-heavy as ours, readers crave immediacy from our digital efforts, but also the ability to slow down and have a non-digital experience with self-selected content that they love in our print products. It’s our job to continue reinventing what’s on the page to keep the reader excited and engaged..."

Time Inc., Coors Light Team On College Football VR Initiative
MIN: "Time Inc. has teamed with Coors Light to bring virtual reality to college football fans. Fans 21 and older will get access to some of the sport’s most legendary athletic programs—starting with the University of Texas and the University of Southern California. Experiences are available via Time Inc.’s Life VR app. Through the app, USC Trojan fans will be virtually transported to the field at LA Memorial Coliseum to see what it’s like inside the huddle. Texas fans will get behind-the-scenes access to Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium, including an in-depth look at the newly renovated locker rooms, with former UT star Jordan Shipley..."

Time Inc. Inks Deal for Content Distribution Through Transportation Modes, Via Global Eagle
Time Inc. has signed a worldwide agreement to have Global Eagle, through its Content-to-Go platform, distribute Time Inc.-produced programming to airline, cruise and maritime audiences under the newly created "Time Flies" brand. The first two products to be distributed are Time's multimedia project "100 Photos: The Most Influential Images of All Time," and the Emmy Award-winning series "A Year in Space," which original appeared on

J.J. Gould Named Editor of New Republic
MediaPost: "New Republic has appointed J.J. Gould, former editor of The Atlantic’s site, as its new editor. Gould succeeds Eric Bates, who joined the magazine in April 2016, but stepped down recently. Bates will remain at New Republic as editor-at-large. Bates has also accepted a position as visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU.Win McCormack named himself editor-in-chief of the magazine shortly after he bought New Republic early last year. The editor of the magazine reports directly to him. 'New Republic' Names J.J. Gould As Editor by Sara Guaglione , Yesterday New Republic has appointed J.J. Gould, former editor of The Atlantic’s site, as its new editor. Gould succeeds Eric Bates, who joined the magazine in April 2016, but stepped down recently. Bates will remain at New Republic as editor-at-large. Bates has also accepted a position as visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU. Win McCormack named himself editor-in-chief of the magazine shortly after he bought New Republic early last year. The editor of the magazine reports directly to him. Owners of New Republic usually get the title of EIC; Chris Hughes and Marty Peretz held the role. Last year, McCormack stated that an editor for New Republic has to “meld relevant investigative journalism, fact-based political analysis, and incisive cultural commentary, with a leavening degree of irony and humor,” as well as “stake out a philosophical position that is bold, coherent and meaningful.' In a statement today, he said Gould’s 'extensive knowledge of history, strong commitment to independent journalism, and confident grasp of the dynamics of our current politics' make him 'especially suited' to become the New Republic’s next editor. Gould is also a lecturer in history and politics at Yale University. Before the seven years he spent at The Atlantic, Gould was an editor at the Journal of Democracy. He has also written for the Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, The Chronicle Herald, The European Journal of Political Theory and The Moscow Times..."

How Time Inc. Plans to Grow PeopleTV
Digiday: One year in, People/Entertainment Weekly Network--just rebranded as PeopleTV--also has new plans to fund original content. "PeopleTV is an ad-supported video streaming channel that offers more than 300 hours of video content produced by Time Inc.’s People and Entertainment Weekly magazines, as well as a few outside production partners. Every week, PeopleTV puts out five to seven hours of original content, including the daily morning talk show "People Now"; a weekly celebrity interview series with People and EW’s editorial director Jess Cagle; and “EW Cast Reunions,” which brings together casts from classic TV shows. In its first year, most of the content was created in-house; the next move for Time Inc. is to fund more original content, both in-house and with outside production partners, according to PeopleTV GM Susanne Mei. Upcoming fall and winter shows include “Shelf Life,” a book-discussion series hosted by Oprah’s Book Club special projects producer Jill Adams and produced in-house by People; and “Family Portrait,” which will spotlight diverse American families, produced by actor Rainn Wilson’s digital media company SoulPancake. In 2018, PeopleTV will premiere “Sizing Up the Dress,” a reality series about a Chicago bridal boutique that carries plus-size wedding dresses, produced by Authentic Entertainment. Time Inc.’s budgets for externally produced PeopleTV original series are in the five-figure-per-episode range, according to a studio production source. That range is on the higher end among digital publishers buying shows from production companies, but falls below some well-funded streaming platforms such as Verizon’s Go90. PeopleTV is an important video play for Time Inc. But unlike other streaming video portals that have tried--and largely failed--to curate the best of web video, Time Inc. is positioning PeopleTV as an extension of its existing editorial brands. People are free to watch social videos made by People and EW on Facebook and Snapchat--and they do, to the tune of more than 1B video views per month, according to Time Inc.. But for the smaller percentage of its audience that would be interested in longer-form programming such as a daily talk show or live red carpet specials, PeopleTV is armed with hours of videos. '...With video, we have to be on places like Facebook and Snapchat where consumers who are not actively searching for our content can get it, and for the fans of our brands that are going to come to our sites and apps to consume multiple pieces of content for longer periods of time, we have PeopleTV,' says Mei. Building a streaming video channel from scratch is hard. It’s no different with PeopleTV, which still has a small audience. It recently surpassed 100M video views for 2017 across its site, mobile and connected TV apps, according to Time Inc. The apps themselves have been downloaded more than 2B times..."

Martha Stewart Living's EIC on Redesign, Staying Relevant
In a Q&A, MSL's chief editor, Elizabeth Graves, says that the print magazine was reorganized to make its health/beauty content more visible, and maximize cross-platform content use. Content was also "refreshed" with the help of great photographers, and an 'Everyday Food' digest was revived and incorporated as part of the magazine to give readers the "easy, elevated" recipes they crave. A well-read column, 'Healthy Appetite,' was also turned into a video series. The redesign, more extensive than was originally expected, has gotten "wonderful" feedback from readers and Martha herself, Graves says. MSL is "timeless--and that's no small thing in our 27th year"--because it's about "making people’s lives better or more comfortable," she says. "It gives them things to do in their downtime. Wanting to have the most comfortable bed or eating delicious food or celebrating holidays in memorable ways will never go away... People want to take advantage of things that make them feel in control... We just take things one day at a time and focus on making good decisions for the values of the brand."

The Week Finds Success in a Challenging Market
Dennis Publishing's smart distillation of each week's news, The Week, "has barely changed since the late Felix Dennis launched it in 2001," but sticking to a formula that readers find valuable is still working, writes Folio: 1H print revenue is up 12% an overall 1H revenue is up 5%. YTD ad revenue is up by double digits. Circulation is 573,684, significantly above rate base; it's 100% paid; and the subscription price ranges from about $59 to $79, or 25 issues for $1.19 per issue. "'The loyalty of the audience has always been a key,” says VP of publishing John Guehl. 'We’re not trying to have an artificial rate base. That’s one of the things that stands out in 2017.' Guehl reports that brands including Breitling, American Express Platinum, Dell and Morgan Stanley have begun advertising in the print magazine this year, and Charles Schwab, Showtime, Liberty Mutual, and NBC News have come into the digital side (with full-issue takeovers sold to Emirates and Morgan Stanley). 'Print is the only medium where people are not actively trying to avoid ads,' Guehl says. 'There are still advertisers that want to tap into that'... Guehl says that The Week’s [typical] reader is in his or her mid 40s (the brand skews male by 60/40), lives in a major city and has an average household income of $160,000.

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Documentary Celebrates Highlights Magazine
Detroit Free Press: "44 Pages," a critically praised documentary that examines the philosophy and history of family-owned Highlights Magazine as it goes behind the scenes of the creation of the creation of the magazine's 70 anniversary issue last year. "'We show how the world could be, and should be, within the pages of a magazine," says a magazine staffer in the trailer for the documentary... While the content has evolved from its baby boomer beginnings, it still delivers sweet, gentle messages of caring and sharing to today's online-savvy youngsters. It may be a magazine for pint-sized readers, but it's as much a part of our social fabric as National Geographic or People in its own way," writes the Detroit Free Press. "As the AV Club website put it, "44 Pages" is 'a good reminder that...Highlights helped shape a good portion of us modern-day pop culture nerds.'" The documentary, currently playing at Cinema Detroit, was directed by Tony Shaff.


Retail News

Target to Boost Workers' Wages
SN: "In a move the company said would boost its service levels--and will likely introduce further pressure on wages for competitors--Target Corp. said Monday that it would increase its minimum hourly pay to $11 in October and to $15 an hour by the end of 2020. Target’s current minimum pay is $10 per hour, which was implemented in May of 2016. An $11 minimum is higher than the minimum wage in 48 states, and matches the minimum wage in Massachusetts and Washington, the Minneapolis-based company said. The company said the investment would allow Target to continue to recruit and retain strong team members and provide an elevated experience for guests and in the communities it serves... 'Target has always offered market competitive wages to our team members,' said CEO/chairman Brian Cornell. 'With this latest commitment, we’ll be providing even more meaningful pay, as well as the tools, training and support our team needs to build their skills, develop professionally and offer the service and expertise that set Target apart.' Target said the increase would result in “thousands” of workers receiving a pay raise next month, and would include more than 100,000 hourly team members Target intends to hire for the holiday season. The commitment to move to a minimum hourly wage of $15 will be implemented between now and the end of 2020..."

Kroger and Tops Make List of Healthiest Workplaces
PG: "The Kroger Co. and Tops Markets LLC are the only two supermarket operators to make the 2017 list of the 100 Healthiest Workplaces in America, compiled by Healthiest Employers LLC, an organization that evaluates employers’ efforts regarding corporate health. Kroger came in at #38 on the list--its second appearance in three years--thanks to such corporate wellness initiatives as health screenings, preventive-care education and wellness challenges. Associates also have access to unlimited coaching, by phone or video, to help them achieve their personal health goals under the grocer’s Employee Assistance Program... Tops came in at #59, its second consecutive appearance, due to the wide variety of wellness programs it offers, including The Tops WELL Annual Weight Loss Challenge, the Walking to Tops Program, the Road to Financial Wellness Program and the company’s annual participation in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. All of these programs began in 2010..."

New CEO Ross Details Future of IGA, Grocery Industry
PG: "'Our industry is changing,' said John Ross, recently named CEO/president of the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA), succeeding Mark Batenic, who remains chairman of IGA. “If you want to understand those changes, the place to start is with the consumer, and I think you’ve got to look at the role that independents will play with optimism and enthusiasm.' Among those changes, he detailed the rising farm-to-table trend that goes hand-in-hand with the 'intensely local and intensely fresh' products that consumers are demanding. He also noted that regional food preferences are expanding and that smaller households are demanding different products from grocers than in the past. Homogenization in retail was the driver of growth in the past 25 years, he observed, but that's the opposite of what consumers want now and will want in the future. Customization and connectivity between the grocer and the consumer are another two trends that will need to be addressed to meet needs of consumers. Independents have always been able to meet the customization need fairly easily, and the fact that they don’t necessarily use a hub-and-spoke distribution chain but often draw from a more local supply is an advantage rather than a disadvantage, Ross noted. “What does the future of grocery retail look like?” he asked. “[Consumers] might choose smaller, more customized stores. Now the future looks really interesting.'"

More Brands Employing Snapcodes
BI: "Gatorade, Wendy's and Evian...are just a few of a growing roster of brands that hopped on the Snapcode bandwagon this past summer, using Snapchat's own version of QR codes to elevate their marketing campaigns on the platform to another level. By plastering Snapcodes onto product packaging, print and even out-of-home ads, these brands have been able to encourage people to use their smartphones to unlock exclusive branded filters, lenses, custom websites and even Snapchat-specific mobile games. Evian, for example, printed Snapcodes on over 300M bottle across six countries, which opened up to exclusive branded content, including filters and lenses on the platform. Wendy's...put the codes on its drink cups, donating $5 to a foster care foundation every time someone scanned the code to unlock a custom Snapchat filter... 'Snapcodes are unique as they seamlessly connect social and real world experiences,' [said Jimmy Bennett, Wendy's head of media]... [Snapchat] says users are already scanning over 8M codes a day, making for a sizeable audience that brands can target... Evian's 'Live Young' campaign, for example, saw over 2M unique Snapchatters interact with its lenses and over 3M play around with its filters... Unlike filters, lenses or video Snap Ads, Snapcodes are not actual ad products. In fact, they are free, and Snapchat says it doesn't charge advertisers extra for them... Snapcodes let brands 'extend their Snapchat campaigns across TV, out-of-home or guerilla marketing initiatives, enabling a campaign to have more integration with traditional media,' said Sherwin Su, director of social at digital agency Essence... But perhaps Snapcodes' most compelling advantage is that they give brands an opportunity to collect data on some of their biggest customers on Snapchat--an app that has long been slammed for its lack of data to track return on ad spend compared to some of its competitors... [Still...], developing and deploying Snapcodes across traditional media placements requires extra creative and production costs and resources... Further, marketers are still not sure how exactly to track [ROI] for Snapcodes..."

Target Embeds Pinterest Camera Search Tool In Its App
WSJ: As part of a multiyear advertising deal that is Pinterest's largest to date, Target is licensing Pinterest's camera image search tool, "which lets users of Pinterest’s app browse similar images and objects to pictures they take with their phones. Target will embed the tool in its own app, allowing shoppers to snap photos on their phones of items they like, and receive suggestions from Target for similar products to buy... Target has exclusive use of the camera search tool among retailers in the U.S... The deal with the camera tool, called Lens, came about after Target had debated how to incorporate a search tool in its app. Eager for shoppers to have a way to add products they see on the street onto a wedding or baby registry, for instance, the company pondered buying the technology from another provider..."
Wall St. Journal (paid sub req.)

Analyst: Amazon Can't Compete With Off-Price Stores
CNBC: "Off-price retailers--TJ Maxx owner TJX, Ross Stores and Burlington--are expected to see incremental sales growth of $18B to $19B by 2021, according to JPMorgan. And that boost will primarily stem from the demise of department store chains, analyst Matthew Boss wrote in a Monday note to clients. 'We expect off-price will be the primary beneficiary of this brick & mortar sales volume up for grabs and benefit from the plethora of close-out merchandise for several years,' Boss wrote. And when it comes to the growing threat of Amazon, the Street shouldn't be worried about off-price players losing market share, Boss added... Amazon's approach to the apparel industry more closely resembles a full-price department store, instead of a Ross or TJ Maxx model... since 2011, department stores have lost roughly $25B in sales on a combined basis, and are on pace to lose another $22B in sales over the next five years, [whereas] off-price retailers have gained $14B since 2011, the firm said..."

NYC's Mayor Lobbies for Amazon HQ
NY Post: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said his administration is working on a strong pitch-to be the home of Amazon's second headquarters, and about 50,000 new jobs--as are dozens of cities across the country. 'We’re going to show them different parts of the city that can work in a single campus or multiple pieces,' the mayor said. 'I think Amazon would do very well in New York City, and I think New York City would greatly benefit from Amazon’s presence.' However, the mayor said he doesn’t intend to offer the firm economic subsidies to set up shop here."


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