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May 23, 2018

Publishing News

Strong Newsstand Expected for Post Royal Wedding Issues, After Digital Traffic Surges
NY Post: "The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle triggered an old-style race to the finish for print editions of celebrity weeklies. It also triggered a record surge in digital traffic, which is eclipsing the viewership of the TV audience. Nielsen said that 29.2 Americans tuned in to watch across 15 broadcast and cable channels. The digital audience for People alone over the weekend was 22.5M, and Hearst digital across all its titles pulled in another 25M. The best TV network draw was NBC’s 6.4M viewers, followed by ABC’s 6.2M... The first of the post-wedding print issues will start hitting Wednesday, and publishers expect a bonanza on newsstands. 'People are obsessed with Meghan and her romance with Prince Harry,' said Jess Cagle, editorial director of People, which is raising its cover price by $1, to $6.99, for the royal wedding issue. Michelle Tauber, the royals editor, wrote the lead for the 38-page print package and supervised the entire digital and video package, which includes royals correspondent Simon Perry. 'There’s a book in the works as well,' Cagle added. That hits June 1. People’s top social post, '#PrinceHarry adorably wipes away a tear at the #RoyalWedding,' hit more than 17M video views to date, making it People’s most-viewed Instagram video of all time. Time magazine editor Edward Felsenthal also had his staff work through the weekend and moved its own sale date to Wednesday, two days earlier than normal. Felsenthal’s old boss at the Daily Beast, Tina Brown--a bestselling biographer of Princess Diana--contributed to Time’s coverage. US Weekly Editor Jen Peros was in Windsor, England, for the wedding and is cranking out the publication’s cover story for Wednesday. Not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon... 'We decided to take a little bit of a contrarian approach,' said James Heidenry, editorial director at Bauer... [Its new] In Touch features a cover on FLOTUS Melania Trump, with a royal wedding 'chip'--industry jargon for the smaller photo on the corner of a magazine cover for the second-most important story in the issue. Closer’s main is the 40th anniversary of “Grease,” and Life & Style features country singers Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert--although both titles give the royals a chip on the cover. Hearst's Town & Country published a $13.99 bookazine entitled “American Princess: Meghan Markle” on April 12--one day before a $14.99 bookazine from Life hit. T&C staff worked through the weekend to produce a second bookazine with a $13.95 cover price, “T&C Presents Harry & Meghan, The Royal Wedding Album,” which hits Thursday. Condé Nast said bookazine “Vanity Fair Harry & Meghan” hits June 5, after the first round of weeklies will be off the newsstand. It also said Brides saw a 144% jump in digital traffic. Martha Stewart Weddings got in on the act, going with live social media coverage from 5 am to 5 pm on Saturday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram."

Garden & Gun Opens Cocktail Club in Atlanta
WWD: "The Charleston-based Southern lifestyle glossy is expanding to include the Garden & Gun Club, a 50-seat cocktail lounge in Atlanta. The club, which held its opening party Monday night, is owned by the magazine (G&G wouldn’t disclose figures) and, like the magazine, it plays up the Southern charm. 'A lot of what we are focusing on is deepening and expanding engagement beyond the magazine. Our goal was to create a place where our readers would be comfortable coming and dining or having a drink, but also to be a beacon to new people who have possibly crossed paths with G&G at one point or else have never heard of us,' said G&G CEO and co-founder Rebecca Darwin. 'It is absolutely a reflection of out brand. On the one hand, it feels very clubby and traditional and on the the other it is very modern'... The Southern haberdashery Sid Mashburn designed the aprons and ties worn by the staff--which, along with the leather check book covers and magazines, are available for sale.The club is situated in the Battery, the area that has sprouted up around the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium. 'The Braves is the baseball team of the South, and I think that they envisioned us as the expert on Southern culture and Southern food and entertaining and all that,' Darwin said. 'We will be the place where, when you’ve gotten tired of the hot dogs and the noise and clamor, you can escape and have a cocktail.'"

New Owners to Fold InStyle U.K.
WWD: "Time Inc. U.K. has axed the local edition of InStyle once and for all, shutting down the magazine, which became digital-only in 2016. 'As a result of Time Inc. U.K.’s new ownership [private equity firm Epiris], the company has decided it will not be continuing with the InStyle U.K. license,' a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. 'From May 21, the InStyle U.K. web site will automatically redirect to so U.K. users will continue to enjoy the InStyle experience.' The celebrity-focused magazine transitioned to a digital-only brand in 2016. At the time, the company said the relaunch of InStyle U.K. was meant to address the changing needs of the magazine’s 'fashion-obsessed audience'... The InStyle closure is one of the first moves by the new owners, Epiris, [which bought] Time Inc. U.K. from Meredith Corp. earlier this year. The terms of the deal were not disclosed"...

Family Handyman Uses 'Shed' Campaign to Expand Social Reach
MediaPost: "The Family Handyman announced its second annual "Ultimate Shed Campaign" with this year’s project, the Game Day Shed. Partnering again with LP Building Products and with Honda Generator, the DIY campaign engages readers across the print magazine, website and social media platforms. 'We had a great response on social media, particularly video, so we will be leaning into our strong visual content,' Trusted Media Brands executive brand director Christina Masterson [said]... A feature in the June 19 issue offers the base for audiences interested in building the shed. Custom content on, including downloadable blueprints for building the shed, an editorial time-lapse video and custom sponsor videos, expand on the project. Last year, readers downloaded more than 2,220 building plans for the shed, according to Masterson. To increase audience engagement, the magazine has made the digital experience more accessible, with increased video storytelling and a redesigned custom content page based on reader feedback. One of the videos will feature TFH senior editor Travis Larson taking a tour of the shed. This fall, the magazine will run a similar campaign called "The Ultimate Garage." TFH has seen particularly strong growth across its digital platforms. In February of 2018, it reached 4.6M unique visitors, up 41.1% from the same time last year and the highest increase among its competitors, according to the brand. Social media growth is also up substantially. In March 2018, the brand’s Instagram audience increased by 443% vs. same period 2017, while its YouTube channel saw an increase of 141%. According to MPA's Q4 2018 Social Media Report, TFH ranked number one on Pinterest for engagment among measured magazines."

Vanity Fair Cuts Include Fashion Director Michael Carl
WWD: "Vanity Fair has let fashion director Michael Carl go in another round of cuts, as new editor-in-chief Radhika Jones continues to put her stamp on the magazine. Around six employees across different departments [were laid off last week], the highest-profile of whom is Carl. In February, the magazine cut more than a dozen employees from the masthead, including managing editor Chris Garrett, features editor Jane Sarkin and deputy editors Aimee Bell and Dana Brown. In March, VF’s creative director, fashion and style Jessica Diehl, left to 'pursue other opportunities.' The February cuts also touched Glamour, which, like VF, has a new editor. 'Vanity Fair and Glamour are taking the first steps in reshaping their teams to reflect the new editorial directions of the brands--with new additions and initiatives to be announced shortly. The priority for each is to create quality and provocative content across all platforms equally, embracing the next generation of readers and viewers,' Condé Nast said in a statement at the time. Carl’s successor is set to be revealed in the coming days. [VF's] April issue featured Lena Waithe on the cover in a stark white T-shirt--a clear departure from covers under former EIC Graydon Carter. The May issue seemed to be less of a departure, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the cover. The summer issue is slated to hit newsstands next week and will continue to represent the evolution of the magazine under Jones."

Publishers' Candid Thoughts on Video
Digiday: "The pivot to video has cooled, but many publishers are still focused on video — and that means figuring out what platforms are best for what roles. At closed-door sessions at the Digiday Video Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 21, publishers gave their candid feedback on the issues they’re facing, from how to make money off Facebook to the roles YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and, yes, Twitter should play in video-distribution strategies." Excerpts from anonymous comments: “Facebook cares about Facebook’s business--they have made that abundantly clear over the years if you bothered to listen'... 'We haven’t been focusing on Facebook for a long time in terms of video. We know what their audience behavior is. We said to them early on, ‘You actually don’t care about 360 video; you actually don’t care about Facebook Live.’ They tried to persuade us for a little while; then, they said, ‘You’re right''... 'We have three brands that we developed specifically for social. What’s interesting is that they do extremely well on social, but when we try to showcase those on our [owned and operated sites], they do not resonate at all. It’s frustrating because they don’t make a ton of money on Facebook'... 'YouTube is quite clearly a video platform, so it’s easier for a video to be optimized and do well. Facebook has never been like that'... 'YouTube is reliable. The revenue responds to the levers as you pull them, and there’s something comforting and nice about that'... 'Twitter, right now in marketplace, is more amenable and thoughtful in conversations with publishers'... 'Amazon has been very keen in trying to make deals that are favorable because of deals others are trying to make. They’ve been really amenable to creating terms that are different. It’s not take it or leave it. They understand if they piss on publishers long enough, they’re going to diversify'... 'Churn is actually pretty good on Amazon. It’s lower than direct-to-consumer OTT. It’s bundled with Prime, so it’s pretty significantly lower--at least 25% lower'... 'If the terms are decent and the concept makes sense, sure, we’ll do a deal. But if they’re going to own 100% of [intellectual property] that’s going to be valuable to us, no'... 'Owning IP isn’t always so clear. When Malcolm Gladwell writes an article for Condé Nast, they don’t necessarily own it. They may own parts of it'... 'What’s the big thing now? Making original content for OTT platforms? IP? We’re just a bunch of...sheep falling over the cliff repeatedly.'"

Interview Has List of 300+ Creditors
WWD: "There are nearly 300 creditors listed for Interview, and about 30 more in the separate bankruptcy filings for Brant Publications Inc. and BMP Media Holdings, which formerly published the titles ARTnews, Art in America, Modern and Antiques. Those titles have since been moved under a new holding company Art Media Holdings LLC, which is not involved in any of the bankruptcies. A spokeswoman for Brant confirmed that Interview’s bankruptcy “will not have any impact on any other magazines.' But that may prove little comfort to advertisers, employees and other media partners at those titles, with Brant remaining chairman of AMH. There are plenty of creditors with soured dealings at Interview, where Brant also served as chairman and his daughter Kelly Brant was president. The publication owes every major modeling agency, from DNA to Wilhelmina and even Trump Model Management, along with scores of other talent and creative agencies; it owes the curatorial department of the Hammer Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, also a museum; then there’s Aurora James, the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies; Christopher Klimovski, who wrote for Interview in 2015 before moving on to become managing editor at Complex Media and more recently a producer at Condé Nast. Also making an appearance are those who have sued Interview for lack of payment, including the magazine’s former longtime editorial director Fabien Baron, who claims to be owed more that $600,000; former associate publisher Jane Katz, who claims to be owed more than $230,000, and former president Dan Ragone, who claims to be owed $170,000. Considering the size of these claims, the sheer number of creditors and how far back it seems some lack of payments may go, Interview is easily millions in the hole. A source said there has been some interest in buying Interview’s assets and there’s some speculation that a buyer is already lined up. The possibility of Bernd Runge, the publisher of German Interview, was floated, but it’s unclear if that is indeed the case. The Brant spokeswoman declined to comment. It’s also unclear what exactly Interview has to sell in order to pay any of its many creditors. The magazine does not have an archive of its glamorous photography over the years, a source said, adding that photo rights belong to the individual photographers. Without that, what’s left?" Separately, in his Ad Age column, Simon Dumenco opines on what killed Interview.
Ad Age 

Shutterbug Going Digital Only
Folio: "Much like photography itself, Shutterbug magazine is turning its focus to digital. Today, UK-based AVTech Media announced it is ceasing Shutterbug magazine’s print edition after 45 years in order to pour more resources into its website, citing a seven-fold increase in digital traffic over the last four years. Despite a circulation of nearly 100,000 readers, the cost of production and slipping ad revenues evidently called for a strategic shift"...

More on Kalmbach's SIP and Paid Video Site
Folio: "With an estimated 500,000 model railroaders around the world, the hobby’s biggest publication is using a special issue publication (SIP) to promote its subscription-based video site to an older demographic of readers.In honor of the 5th anniversary of Model Railroader Video Plus, Kalmbach Media, publisher of Model Railroader magazine, released the SIP, “Model Railroading: The Ultimate Guide,” aimed at integrating video content from the $27 per year subscription site into the brand’s more popular print platform to draw more model train-hobbyists to the digital destination. 'The SIP really serves as a catalogue for the video site,' says David Popp, founding producer and current video producer for MR Video Plus. “What we are hoping will happen with this special interest publication is that people who buy it will give MR Video Plus a look-see. Come take a look, maybe try us for a month, or try us for a year and go from there.' While sharing the name Model Railroader, the magazine and the video hub operate almost as separate publications in terms of producing their own exclusive content and the demographics of their target audiences. 'The traditional Model Railroader reader is from a much older demographic. They average somewhere up in the 60s,' says Popp. 'They’re spending their retirement years building these big model railroads and having a great time.' This reader typically has more time to read about the hobby, allowing for more long-form, traditional stories. 'The people that follow my site, almost all of them are still actively working' [and so have less leisure time], Popp says. With a viewership that skews as young as high school age, MR Video Plus accommodates the shorter attention spans by 'chunkifying' tips and topics in quick, digestible pieces. It operates on the slogan, 'If you’ve got 10 minutes to sit at your desk and eat your lunch, give us 10 minutes and we’ll teach you something new.' But with a larger audience for the magazine--about 90% larger--Popp says there was a desire to pull from that subscriber base to bring more of its brand loyalists to the site. 'Part of the reason we did this was to see if we could create a bigger audience share for the digital product by pitching something that had a little traditional look and feel, yet the design for “The Ultimate Guide” is very different than what a standard issue of Model Railroader looks like.' The SIP will feature topics that are already found on the video website, including how-to’s and adventure pieces that explore life-sized trains. It will also integrate the monthly columns and sections that the readers of Model Railroader are familiar with, replicating a more traditional magazine issue, yet breaking away from the long storytelling format that readers are more accustomed to. This “chunkified” content allows the issue to maintain entry-points on every page and in each section to provide as many opportunities for readers to engage with it. 'If you turn to any given page, you can almost always come away with a pull quote, a quick tip, or some other call out that just gives you a new piece of information,' says Popp. 'There is not as much of your traditional ‘good read’ that you would get in the other magazine. It’s get in, get the crux of the project, and get out—and by the way, you can go watch the video of it.' Each article is accompanied by a link to a video on the MR Video Plus site that is a part of the free playlist that comes with the SIP. Averaging 10-15 minutes long—just like the average length of the 1,500 total videos on the site that is available for access with a subscription--these videos also replicate the concept of containing short attention spans. Priced at $8.99, the SIP is both on newsstands and in a digital edition. Popp says that the brand’s special issues, which Kalmbach produces a handful of each year, tend to be a dollar or two more than the standard newsstand price for a monthly edition, to account for the cost of creating a non-monthly copy as well as using higher quality paper and giving it a nicer finish.While the aim is to pull views to the site, Popp says that they are really in the business of establishing relationships with readers in order to accomplish this mission, regardless of if that means only getting their email address, or becoming the go-to spot of obtaining new information... Kalmbach has already given the go ahead for “The Ultimate Guide: Volume 2,”after a successful round of pre-sales. The first guide, just hitting newsstands now, will be followed by the second in April of next year."


Retail News

Target's Q1 Comp Sales Exceed Expectations; Profit Disappoints
Reuters: "Target shares pared losses to trade down 5% on Wednesday as investors weighed a lower-than-expected quarterly profit against the retailer’s unchanged full-year outlook... Its Q1 same-store sales came in slightly higher than estimates, rising 3%, driven by traffic that grew at the strongest pace in a decade. Analysts expected a 2.9% increase... Online sales rose 28%, up from a 21% rise during same period a year ago but short of the 29% rise during Q4. Target’s revenue rose to $16.78B, topping the average estimate of $16.58B. Operating income margin weakened to 6.2% from 7.1% the same period a year ago. Gross margins remained under pressure at 29.8%, vs. 30% last year. The measure had hit a 20-year low of 26.2% in Q4. Excluding items, Target earned a profit of $1.32 per share in the quarter ended May 5, below the average analyst estimate of $1.39. It forecast adjusted earnings of $1.30 to $1.50 per share for Q2, vs. the average analyst estimate of $1.35 per share. Target has poured billions of dollars into aggressively promoting its products and keeping grocery prices low to compete with rivals like Walmart and Kroger. It has also focused on doubling the number of so-called small-format stores with a narrower selection of products aimed at urban buyers."

Softbank Selling Its Flipkart Stake to Walmart
WSJ: Softbank Group has agreed to sell its entire stake in India's Flipkart Group to Walmart Inc., clearing the way for SoftBank to step up investment in a Flipkart rival. The action ends weeks of uncertainty over where Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who runs the world’s largest technology fund, is placing his bets in India’s booming e-commerce market. Walmart said earlier this month that it would take control of Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce company, for $16B. Son had wavered on whether to sell his Vision Fund’s 21% stake to Walmart as part of the deal... Son said earlier that the Walmart deal gave the SoftBank Vision Fund’s stake in Flipkart a value of about $4B, up 60% from what it paid nine months earlier"...
Wall St. Journal (paid sub req.)

Tom Dempsey to Succeed Retiring Kennie's Markets CEO P.J. Hoover
SN: "Kennie’s Markets Inc. has named Tom Dempsey as its new president and CEO, succeeding P.K. Hoover Jr., who is retiring after 40 years with the company. Dempsey comes to the Littlestown, Pa.-based independent grocer from his most recent role as president and CEO of the Snack Food Association. During his tenure there, from July 2013 to July 2017, he led the organization’s expansion to a global trade association under the newly branded SNAC International. Prior to that, Dempsey’s decades of experience in the consumer packaged goods and grocery arena include 24 years at Utz Quality Foods, where he served as president after holding several senior management roles"...

Lidl Launches Shipt Delivery in Northern Virginia
SN: "Deep-discount grocer Lidl has begun offering online grocery delivery via Shipt at its stores in northern Virginia. Shipt said Tuesday that fresh foods, household essentials and other grocery items ordered through its online marketplace can now be delivered from Lidl stores in Ashburn, Fredericksburg, Manassas and Woodbridge, Va., in as soon as an hour to residents in the surrounding area"...

Giant Eagle to Beef Up Private-Label Sourcing
SN: "Giant Eagle has teamed with Proactis, a global spend control and e-procurement provider based in the United Kingdom, as the grocer’s strategic sourcing partner for its private brands.Through the partnership, Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle aims to improve and extend its current supplier network communications to deliver the best in quality and value. The grocer determined that Proactis’ managed-services approach would maximize its own procurement efforts. 'By enhancing our internal team with Proactis Sourcing Services, we will be able to dramatically increase the number of current and prospective suppliers we communicate with, ensuring that our customers only get the best when purchasing our Giant Eagle brand products,' noted Brooke Hodierne, Giant Eagle’s senior director of own brands. 'With Proactis, my team will be freed up from the tactical time-consuming activities and can focus on other key initiatives'"...

5 Ways Mobile Scan-and-Pay Benefits Grocers Beyond the Checkout
PG digital editor Randy Hofbauer lists advantages in mobile checkout apps for grocers that go beyond faster, more convenient checkout for customers, including increased basket rings; loss prevention; real-time interaction with shoppers; empowering associates; and better understanding of store design.

Myths About Marketing to Gen Z
In MediaPost, TMI Strategy managing director Meredith Ferguson advises against assuming all Gen Zers are liberal Democrats. Nearly half surveyed identified themselves as independents or unaffiliated, and view themselves as moderates. "While young people may be considered “liberal” on many social issues, they care more about the cause than the party who supports it." Other realities: "They won’t buy a more expensive or lesser quality product, even if a brand is clearly superior from a socially or environmentally responsible standpoint. If you can deliver on all—good value, high quality, and proven impact—then you have won a new customer." A presence on Twitter won't cut it by itself. "To truly stand out, companies must engage with young people and make them partners in progress You need to have social change initiatives that consumers can be a part of. That’s deep and long-lasting connection." But be aware that "adopting a cause that has no logical connection to the brand can appear disingenuous or opportunistic." Also, brands "must remember that even inaction is a type of action. The silent acceptance of wrongdoing or the failure to do what’s right is how bias, division, exclusion, and harassment becomes normalized or swept under the rug. And young people are always watching. Brands that are seen as grossly opportunistic and sloppy will be met with swift ridicule and derision. (’Sup, Pepsi?) Those that don’t project good values will be targeted (#deleteUber)."

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New Formats Change the Way Grocers Sell Private Label
PG: "Consumers in general are making more frequent, smaller trips to the grocery store to buy “just in time” food that’s prepared, convenient and closer to consumption. Retailers are responding to the new trend in innovative ways to promote their private label products," including small, urban formats and enhancing the experience; online ordering. "Although these new formats and the shift toward private label products present new opportunities for grocery retailers, they also come with added pressure. Retailers must effectively and efficiently manage the logistics and the relationship with private label suppliers. They must be much more precise and need to monitor their stock much more closely. Additionally, unlike with national brands, retailers are involved in the development process when it comes to private label products, and they must be in constant communication with suppliers to monitor ingredients and freshness. Also, because fresh products are more susceptible to food safety issues, retailers must be extremely diligent about vetting suppliers and keeping documentation updated. It can all be overwhelming, which is why having a system in place to manage all of it is key."


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