Shanken to Receive MPA Lifetime Achievement Award
Release: MPA announced that Marvin R. Shanken, founder and chairman, M. Shanken Communications, is the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring individuals who have made longstanding contributions to the magazine media industry and society. Shanken will be honored at the American Magazine Media Conference on Feb. 5. "'For over 40 years, Marvin Shanken has been a trailblazer in both the magazine media industry and the wine and spirits world,” said [MPA president/CEO] Linda Thomas Brooks. "Marvin's passion for luxury lifestyle combined with his innovative instincts and unrivaled work ethic have allowed him to create a suite of the most iconic enthusiast magazine brands while simultaneously helping the community around him'... Fueled by his fascination for wine, Shanken began his career in publishing in 1972 when he bought Impact, a little-known wine and spirits industry newsletter. Today, Shanken’s Impact Newsletter is read in more than 200 countries. In 1979, Shanken purchased Wine Spectator. He grew the publication from a small free newspaper to the world’s leading authority on wine, delivering expert reviews of 16,000 wines annually and reaching more than 3M readers worldwide. The brand hosts the web’s most comprehensive wine site and a series of high-profile signature events, including the prestigious New York Wine Experience, which is run as a charitable event that has given out over 800 scholarships to students pursuing careers in wine and hospitality, and has raised over $25M. In 1992, Shanken launched Cigar Aficionado... Dubbed “The Good Life Magazine for Men,” the print publication and its website focus on luxury lifestyle topics such as golf, travel, alcohol and accessories, reaching more than 1.6M readers. The brand spearheaded an annual fundraiser event in New York called a Night to Remember, raising over $20M for prostate cancer. Among other philanthropic events is the Els for Autism Pro-Am cohosted by Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado. Now in its eleventh year, this has raised more than $10M, used to build a school for 260 autistic children in Jupiter, Fla. with golf legend Ernie Els. Shanken also owns Whisky Advocate, the leading whiskey magazine in the U.S., and hosts the longest-running and best-attended whisky festivals in the country... M. Shanken Communications is a family-owned business which takes great pride in the many charitable endeavors is supports, raising over $50M over the last 40 years. Headquartered in New York City, with offices in Napa Valley, M. Shanken Communications also publishes Wine Spectator Insider, Cigar Insider, Cigar Watch, Market Watch and Shanken News Daily."
Hearst Cuts Seventeen's Print to Special Issues
WWD: As of next year, Hearst Magazines will drop Seventeen's current bimonthly print-issue frequency, but continue to publish print special issues. "While industry sources had it that the magazine was set to nix print altogether, a Hearst Magazines spokeswoman explained that the brand is moving forward with a 'digital-first strategy' but that the magazine will continue to print 'special stand-alone issues pegged to news events and key moments in readers’ lives.' While this time of the year usually sees a lot of publishers finalizing media kits and schedules, the kit for Seventeen currently only has one issue based around prom set for next year. 'Seventeen is leading an authentic conversation with a growing audience--from social issues to important life advice, it is a resource and an ally for teens and young adults,' the spokeswoman added. 'Continuing the digital-first strategy introduced in 2015, our focus will be on the brand’s two-plus million unique visitors and more than 12 million followers across social media.' Outside of an established social media following, the brand is also growing its e-commerce business (affiliate links appear throughout much of its content and images are shoppable through Snapchat), revenue from which has more than doubled year-over-year. It’s unclear how many Hearst Magazines employees will lose their jobs, but editorial director Michele Promaulayko was let go from her position as editorial director of Seventeen and editor in chief of Cosmopolitan last month, when new magazines president Troy Young rolled out his first big wave of changes. Those changes also saw the end of print for Redbook, one of the oldest women’s magazines and one that Hearst had owned for 35 years. The magazine’s last issue is a combined Nov./Dec. holiday issue, it’s ninth of the year. It previously printed on a monthly basis. A reduction in frequency is common for print magazines, lifestyle in particular, at a number of publishers these days, as appetite for monthly content is sated by constant access to social media. In the U.K., Hearst also just reduced the print frequency of Esquire with plans to relaunch with a new format and launch a series of events, another expanding revenue stream for many publishers.It was less than a year ago that Seventeen went down to six issues a year from 10 the previous year and monthly before that. Cutting print nearly altogether surely means that the ad revenue wasn’t enough to keep the title afloat, while e-commerce revenue is enough to underwrite a smaller digital operation"...
Pop Sci's Online Director Makes Forbes's '30 Under 30'
Forbes's latest annual "30 Under 30" in media list includes Amy Schellenbaum, online director for Bonnier's Popular Science. Schellenbaum "oversees the 146-year-old Popular Science as it exists digitally," writes Forbes. "She has overhauled editorial strategy--slashing output from 25 stories a day to seven, in favor of more reporting and deeper analysis--as well as relaunched the site, established PopSci's video program and forged alternative streams. Year over year, she says, traffic from Google is up 100%."
Trusted Media Brands' Trends Report Focuses On Family
MediaPost: "Trusted Media Brands has released one of the first reports from its Insights Lab on family and home behavior to inform brands of growing trends in the modern American family... In partnership with Kantar Consulting, Trusted Media Brands--which publishes Reader's Digest, Family Handyman and Taste of Home--released the first of a three-part research series on “The Modern Family.” The initial findings are on “home-basing,” a term coined by TMB to represent the 80% of families in the study that would rather stay in with their families than go out. Almost the same percentage (78%) of millennials are also homebodies, the study found.Created in April, the TMB Insights Lab aims to provide brand marketers with consumer data, B2B insights and marketing trends. 'Over the past several years, we have invested and grown [our consumer] database to include proprietary research on the trends reshaping the marketing landscape, especially with shifts impacting digital marketers,' TMB president/CEO Bonnie Kintzer stated at the time. According to the study, 'the desire for comfort, connection and quality time are driving deeper investments in home-based experiences that go beyond Netflix and Amazon Prime.' Families are increasingly looking to improve their home space, cook together and take part in communal activities, the study found, impacting industries such as entertainment. Movie attendance is at its lowest level since 1995, while entertainment spending in the home (such as streaming services) has grown 11% since 2016. The findings also have an effect on restaurants: 82% of American meals are prepared at home; 91% of families, regardless of generation, claim that eating and cooking together is a top priority, according to the study. And 72% of families in the study have an “always on” attitude toward home improvement and are “always seeking to improve our home.” Home-remodeling expenditures are expected to rise 7% through 2019. 80% of families are setting aside time at home for family activities, from board games (83%) to doing chores together (66%). For millennials, video games (69%) and group exercise (70%) are favored quality-time activities. 'With anxiety rising and cultural concerns growing, Americans are looking to relax, take it slow, and sink into their sanctuaries at home,' says the study. 'Brands that deliver comfortable, safe experiences to modern families that connect them with other family members and close confidants are set to succeed.' Brands that enable individual family members to express themselves 'in a more flexible, dynamic home environment' are likely to succeed in the future marketplace, as are brands tapping into activities like cooking, DIY or home-based experiences, such as board games. 'As digital tools and technology proliferate, modern families are seeking more face-to-face, collaborative and visceral experiences,' according to the study. The research data comes from a custom, online survey of 3,500 American adults in families (defined as two or more adults living in a household, with at least one being a family member or spouse), 250 digital interviews with 50 family households and annual and quarterly surveys from Kantar’s U.S. Monitor, which produces insights about the changing attitudes, values and lifestyle of the American consumer. The two other studies in this series will focus on cultural exchange and digital connection"...
Big U.K. Publishers Team to Fight the Duopoly
Digiday: "Despite the many setbacks of previous attempts, dozens of alliances have sprung up among publishers and broadcasters across Europe in the last year. Some stand out more than others, and one of the alliances that is garnering particular interest in U.K. media circles is Ozone--the project between the Guardian, The Telegraph, News UK and Reach. On Nov. 14, Ozone’s first advertiser campaign launched across all sites, though the identity of the client is being kept under wraps. Together, the news publishers offer approximately 100M monthly unique users--the de-duplicated audience is 42.4M monthly unique users, according to comScore. To put that in perspective, Facebook said its de-duplicated U.K. audience figure is around 40M monthly active users. The alliance is going beyond running joint campaigns with the aspiration to build its own ad tech stack. Rather than choose a third-party supply-side platform--a well-trodden route for most alliances--the publishers have created their own server-side container, via prebid technology.“The Ozone Project is set up to answer the major challenges facing publishers and advertisers,” said Daniel Spears, programmatic director at Guardian News and Media. “We have been a leading advocate for transparency and publisher control of auction decisioning. Ozone’s publisher platform will create value by giving us greater control of our supply chain, and enabling better-informed business decisions.”This server-side container puts the publishers firmly in control of the auctions occurring on their own inventory. One of the core gripes tech and programmatic-savvy publishers have is a lack of access to the necessary data needed to view how their inventory is being bought and sold on the open auction. 'It is imperative that publishers take control of their ad stacks,' said Paul De La Nougerede, commercial product director at The Telegraph. 'For far too long, we have been dependent on ad tech vendors for innovation rather than determining ourselves what the destination should be. Ozone means we can put the resources of four large publishers together to build something for the future.' What media agency buyers want is not just the promise of reach across all four publisher partners, but the reassurance that the way publishers identify individuals across their sites is unified. And that’s not just a matter of aligning the taxonomy for how each describes audience segments (a process which is currently underway) but aligning how each publisher defines the individuals within each segment. Ozone is using a joint data management platform to do all that. 'The fact that they have a single DMP means that there is a single definition of audiences--a shared taxonomy, and the same traits going into each segment,' said Ruth Zöhrer, chief product officer at Mindshare. 'This is crucial to be able to lead with an audience-first approach, which is something people often talk about but rarely have in reality, precisely because of the discrepancies in audience data.' Naturally, the partners hope this level of audience insight at this scale, will funnel more budgets toward them. 'By creating consistency and uniformity in how technology interfaces with publishers’ sites, the value can be better attributed to those that create it,” said Ben Walmsley, digital commercial director at News UK. 'Ozone offers a media and data alliance built on that strong technological foundation. 'There will be obstacles to overcome. The most obvious will be figuring out how buying inventory via Ozone will affect existing trading deals. 'A lot of these media owners have pre-existing trading deals, so do we treat that as a separate entity, and how does that come together? There are question marks around the commercial side of things,' said an agency buyer who requested anonymity"...
Digital Ad Spend +23% in 1H
MediaPost: "IAB released the results of a digital ad spend report yesterday for the first half of 2018--a record breaking $49.5B, a 23% increase year over year. Mobile advertising spend was up 54% from last year’s half-year report, showing it continues to be the leading internet ad platform. The medium now accounts for 63% of all digital ad revenue. In the first half of 2018, advertisers spent $30.9B on mobile media, up 42% from $21.8B during the same period last year. Social media also saw a big bump in revenue, up 38% from last year at $13.1B"...
DOJ Clears Agency Holding Companies in Commercial Production Practices Probe
MediaPost: "The Department of Justice has informed five ad holding companies that it is no longer investigating any of their subsidiaries as part of a probe into commercial production practices and possible bid-rigging that began in 2016. Interpublic Group, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, WPP and MDC Partners all confirmed the DOJ has notified them that the investigation has concluded with regard to any and all of their respective entities. No action has been taken against the firms or their employees... Word of the DOJ commercial practices probe followed a widely reported investigation commissioned by the ANA (and carried out by K2 Intelligence) that focused primarily on media-buying practices. It also explored commercial production practices, but that portion of the investigation did not make it into the final report.The ANA believed at the time that commercial production issues would detract from the main focus of the report, which was media agency conduct and activities, such as undisclosed media rebates.However, the ANA did create a committee that was tasked with taking a separate look at commercial production practices, beyond the K2 material cut from the transparency report. It was not clear at deadline what became of that initiative.As one government probe into agency activity appears to be winding down, another is ramping up. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Manhattan have launched a probe into media-buying practices, apparently picking up where K2 and the ANA left off."
Meredith Among Broadcasters in DOJ Ad Practices Settlement
WaPo: "Some of the biggest names in broadcast television have reached a settlement with government regulators after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit alleging that the companies shared private information with one another in ways that allowed them to subtly manipulate TV ad prices.The settlement covers six companies: Sinclair Broadcast Group, Raycom Media, Tribune Media, Meredith Corp., Griffin Communications and Dreamcatcher Broadcasting. It forbids them to share nonpublic information about ad sales for seven years. 'The unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information allowed these television broadcast companies to disrupt the normal competitive process of spot advertising in markets across the U.S.,” Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, said... The added information gave them the ability to develop specialized pricing strategies and exercise greater leverage over advertisers when negotiating with them for deals. The settlement follows a class-action suit filed by advertisers in August claiming that the media companies had conspired to fix the price of TV advertising"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Ahold Delhaize’s Leading Together Strategy Focuses on 3-Year Growth
PG: "Ahold Delhaize introduced its Leading Together strategy at the 2018 Capital Markets Day in New York City. Supported by its local banners, best-in-class cash generation and balanced approach to capital allocation, this comprehensive strategic program focuses on driving comparable-sales growth and market share gains over the next three years. Frans Muller, president & CEO, said: 'In an industry that’s undergoing rapid change, fueled by shifting customer behavior and preferences, we will focus on growth by investing in our stores, omnichannel offering and technological capabilities which will enrich the customer experience and increase efficiencies. Ultimately, this will drive growth by making everyday shopping easier, fresher and healthier for our customers.' In the next three years, Ahold Delhaize expects to deliver comp-sales growth and market share gains as well as a doubling of net consumer online sales to around €7B (US $7.88B) by 2021. While investing in growth, the company will maintain a disciplined approach to capital investment and allocation, supported by a €1.8B (US $2.03B) cumulative Save for Our Customers cost program through 2021 and free cash flow of around €2B (US $2.25B) per year from 2019 to 2021. Capital expenditure will be around 3% of annual sales during the coming three years. In the U.S., the retailer plans to reposition Stop & Shop, its largest U.S. brand with more than 400 locations, with a focus on the new tagline: 'Fresh Food & Value Made Easy… So you can enjoy what matters most.' All stores will be repositioned in the next five years to focus on five key areas: Best in Fresh, Value for Money, Right-for-Me Assortment, Make It Easy and Emotionally Connected. The new five-tier concept is being tested in 21 stores in the Hartford, Conn., market and results so far have shown increases in sales, transactions, volume and net promoter score (NPS), with a $70M cap ex. The next market to be converted will be Long Island, N.Y., in spring 2019, with all stores scheduled for conversion by 2023 and a total capital expenditure of up to $2B"...
H-E-B Expands Cashierless Checkout to Austin
PG: "San Antonio-based retailer H-E-B has expanded its cashierless checkout app, H-E-B Go, to seven stores in Austin, Texas, according to local reports.The app, which launched in San Antonio earlier this year, allows customers to scan products as they pick them up off the shelves and go to a kiosk located next to the exits to scan a QR code before walking out of the store." H-E-B has 400 stores in Texas and Mexico.
Walmart, Ford, Postmates Team to Enable Automated Delivery
Reuters: "Ford Motor Co., Walmart and delivery service Postmates will collaborate to design a service for delivering groceries and other goods to Walmart customers that could someday use autonomous vehicles, the companies said on Wednesday. The project is the latest to grow out of Ford’s broader effort to develop businesses that could use automated delivery vehicles. Ford was working with San Francisco-based Postmates already to develop delivery services that could employ automated vehicles. The Walmart pilot, which will take place in the Miami area, initially will use human-driven vehicles operated to simulate how a self-driving vehicle would behave, Ford said. Ford has said it expects to launch commercial production of automated vehicles by 2021. Ford and its partners are using Miami as a testing ground for automated delivery service ideas and automated vehicle technology.The new pilot project will offer customers delivery by Postmates of goods ordered at Walmart stores. Brian Wolf, an executive of Ford’s autonomous vehicle unit, wrote in a blog post that the companies will work over the next “couple of months” to figure out what goods can be delivered successfully, especially perishable groceries. 'Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them,' Tom Ward, Walmart SVP for digital operations, said in a statement on Thursday"...
Inflation Jumps; Hourly Wages Slip
MarketWatch: "Americans paid more in October for gas, rent and used vehicles, triggering the biggest increase in consumer inflation in nine months.The consumer price index climbed 0.3% in October to mark the biggest advance since January, the government said Wednesday. It also matched the forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. The increase in the cost of living over the past 12 months rose as well--to 2.5% from 2.3%. The rate of inflation is still below a six-year high of 2.9% set three months ago, however. The core rate, which strips out food and energy, edged up 0.2% last month, but the yearly increase in that rate dipped to 2.1% from 2.2%. That’s the smallest increase since April. The falling price of oil is likely to result in lower prices and less pressure on inflation in the next few months. Still, the cost of rent, used cars and trucks, medical care, home furnishings and car insurance also increased. These are major household expenses. Prices for new vehicles and communications declined. After adjusting for inflation, hourly wages slipped 0.1% in October. They are up just 0.7% in the past year"... Labor Bureau: The food index declined slightly in October... For the 12 months ending October, the energy index increased 8.9%, while the food index increased more modestly, advancing 1.2% over the last 12 months.
HQ2 Questions Abound, Including Did Winners Overpay?
MediaPost rounds up the coverage: "The second-guessing and questions began long before Amazon confirmed yesterday that it would split its “second headquarters” between Arlington, Va. and New York’s Long Island City--with Nashville, Tenn. also picking up 5,000 or so jobs at a new “Operations Center of Excellence”--but they intensified once the news was officially released. For the winners, there’s the issue of whether the long-term return will match their investment. “A $2 Billion Question: Did New York and Virginia Overpay for Amazon?” asks the New York Times. 'New York and Virginia collectively offered more than $2B in tax credits, rebates and other incentives to attract the company. That figure doesn’t include what could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure spending, worker training and other government assistance,' explains Ben Casselman. 'Economists have long criticized tax incentives as inefficient and unnecessary, arguing that they pit cities or states against each other and leave less money for education and public works that ultimately do more to lift local economies and improve livelihoods,' Casselman continues, advancing the hypothesis that 'governments often end up paying businesses to do what they would have done anyway.' Or, as Greg LeRoy, executive director of nonprofit research group Good Jobs First, told Time, 'There’s no such thing as free growth.' 'While Amazon was always open about hoping for an attractive incentive package, some losing jurisdictions were willing to dole out billions more in subsides than the eventual winners did. New Jersey, for one, offered some $7B. Maryland offered $8.5B,' reports Time’s Katy Steinmetz. Amazon had questions of its own, according to another NYT headline that leads the paper this morning--namely whether New York governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio could overcome their acrimonious relationship long enough to make the deal happen. Amazon executives met separately with the two leaders one day in late October and evidently concluded that the lure of about 25,000 jobs was a sufficient incentive.But some “concerned residents” and politicians from the impacted neighborhoods disagree and reacted with “outrage,” Alyssa Newcomb reports for NBC News"...
Amazon, Costco Lead U.S. Retailers in 'Simple Brands' Index
SN: "Simple is better, and as Siegel+Gale’s annual “World’s Simplest Brands” study found, the top-ranked companies are those that consistently deliver on their brand promise with simple, clear, intuitive experiences. Among grocery retailers who made the 2018 U.S. list were Amazon at No. 3, Costco (No. 4), Publix Super Markets (No. 12), Trader Joe’s (No. 15) and Kroger (No. 17). While Amazon ranked third, its subsidiary Amazon Prime made the list separately at No. 18. Overall, Lyft and Spotify were the top two simple brands in the U.S. Siegel+Gale asked more than 15,000 people across nine countries to evaluate brands and industries on their simplicity. Key findings include: 55% of people are willing to pay more for simpler experiences; 64% are more likely to recommend a brand that delivers simple experiences; a stock portfolio of the simplest global brands has outperformed the average of the major indexes by 679% since 2009; companies that fail to provide simple experiences leave an estimated share of $98B on the table. On the global front, German discount retailers Aldi and Lidl scored the No. 2 and 4 spots, respectively. “They are a mainstay of our global Top 10,” according to Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, Siegel+Gale. “They surpass big-box competitors by virtue of their clear communications, affordable prices and premium private label products'"...
Amazon Continues Expansion of Transportation Infrastructure
Seattle Times: "Amazon, which on Monday took delivery of the 40th and final Boeing 767 cargo plane leased under deals announced in 2016, is said to be seeking more aircraft to move packages between its warehouses and facilities that ship them on to customers. A senior executive at an aircraft lessor said Amazon was shopping around for more Boeing 767 freighters and had put out a request for proposals for an additional six jets earlier this year. It’s unclear how far along Amazon is in that process. A spokeswoman declined to comment. Amazon jumped into the airfreight business in 2016, striking a deal with Air Transport Services Group to lease 20 used Boeing 767 cargo jets. Two months later, it announced its intentions to lease 20 more planes, this time from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. That deal also granted Amazon the option to purchase as much as 20% of the Purchase, New York-based company, and an additional 10% should Amazon increase its business with Atlas... Amazon Air’s fleet takes packages bound for customers to regional Amazon sortation centers... At sort centers, workers group items going to the same area for handoff to an Amazon local delivery hub or U.S. Postal Service office for last-mile delivery... The company continues to rely on traditional carriers like UPS and FedEx, per a spokesperson. But in recent years Amazon’s need to move goods around its fast-growing logistics network meant 'we have to satisfy that internally as well'... Amazon is still in the planning stages of an announced $1.49B investment in a massive freight hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky, that the airport says includes capacity for 100 or more planes.The carriers that lease and operate Amazon Air’s planes — Air Transport Services Group and Atlas — are both involved in a contentious labor dispute with the pilots’ union, which charges that the operators offer substandard pay and require long hours that threaten their safe operation"...
Nielsen, Microsoft Partner on Enterprise Data Solution for Consumer Goods
PG: "Nielsen and Microsoft have partnered on a newly developed enterprise data solution that 'democratizes' one of the largest consumer data sets in the world: Nielsen Connect, powered by Microsoft Azure... Through advanced analytics and artificial intelligence services built on Azure, Nielsen Connect aims to help companies integrate data assets to more easily spot emerging trends, diagnose performance gaps, and act faster on opportunities to grow... The companies say the solution will serve as a one-stop-shop in creating scalable, high-performance data environments that enable greater real-time collaboration for faster results" and allow FMCG companies to focus on product innovation.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: