BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Facts on Mag Circ, IDEAlliance Response: Magazine Ad Revenues Plunge

By BoSacks Readers on August 09, 2013
BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Facts on Mag Circ, IDEAlliance Response:  Magazine Ad Revenues Plunge


BoSacks Speaks Out: The Facts Behind the Magazine Circulation Figures

I look at it this way: You and Samir are like two doctors teamed together with a patient. Samir says, "We saved your arm, but you lost your hand. The good news is you have a fully functioning arm and you have your other arm and hand."


You sit down with the patient and say, "Look, you lost your hand. If you don't change your habits, you'll loose the arm next."


Both are equally valid and, from my perspective, appreciated.


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, at this point, all of it just makes me tired (Not you and Samir! The other "writers" who cover our field.) Everyone points out the obvious. If they are of the pundit variety and they offer a solution, it's either unworkable, or currently in the works and not really working because of the new "paradigm" we work under.


On the plus side, this week in Harrington's newsletter, John finally spoke up after what, 18 years, with some suggestions on how to help solve the "newsstand crisis". It's a start.

(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)


BoSacks Speaks Out: The Facts Behind the Magazine Circulation Figures

Outstanding job Bo. It has always been clear that you and Samir both love the industry and I always enjoy the give and take dialog and fun banter between you both. It is clear to me the deep friendship and respect you both have for each other. He is without a doubt the most enthusiastic pundit in publishing and you are the necessary counter balance bringing focus and a kind of professional rationality with a dab here and there of humor. Your posts are my morning tradition and enjoyment. Coffee and Bo for over fifteen years.

(Submitted by a Publisher)


BoSacks Speaks Out: The Facts Behind the Magazine Circulation Figures

My god man have you no decency? The industry is not yet ready for the brutal truth. What were you thinking? We need more association obfuscation, not clarity. Damn Bo, when the facts are bad change them to your liking, talk about the marvelous blip-like aberrations in the stats or slip into discussions about the good 'ol days.  You sir, didn't take any prisoners, not a one, and for that you either get a medal or get shot in the heart for honesty, and that will depend on who is in the jury box. Me... I want to be the defense attorney.

(Submitted by a multi-title publisher and friend of Bo for 30 years)


IDEAlliance Response:  Magazine Ad Revenues Plunge

As the magazine reader audience seeks print and digital, the ability of publishers to directly and efficiently accept, insert and produce the new generation of interactive digital ads within their digital editions is likely one of the most critical factors in the survival of magazines that depend on ad revenues for their ongoing success.  Today that portion of the magazine advertising supply chain is, quite frankly,broken.  Traditional print ad portals cannot provide efficiencies for interactive digital ads, since these ads are not submitted as a single PDF that can be preflighted and directly inserted into a publication.  In fact, the situation for interactive digital ad submission is just the opposite-- with no standard format defined for packaging and uploading these ads to publishers, no industry standard digital interactive "ad ticket" and with the added requirement that publishers must reconstruct the ad from its pieces before it can be integrated as part of an interactive digital magazine edition.  This situation is so dire that many publications are actually limiting the number of interactive ads they will accept due to the high price they must pay for the recreation of the interactive digital ad by the publisher's own production staff. 


IDEAlliance and its members have been focusing on alleviating the pain points in today's digital ad insertion model by developing a standard lexicon for ad specs and a standard industry interchange and rendering format that will bring the efficiencies of print ad insertion to the new interactive digital ad environment.  No longer can magazines depend on ad sales from their print products to sustain ad revenues in an increasingly digital market.  The good news that magazine readership on digital platforms is increasing is only good news if magazines can, at last, leverage that new market through the sales of interactive digital ads designed for the new mobile platform.


The IDEAlliance OpenEFT initiative to define an open format for the exchange and rendering of magazine content on tablets and other mobile devices will also work as the standard industry interchange and rendering format for interactive digital ads.  The IDEAlliance Digital Ad Lab Working Group believes that OpenEFT can be integrated into existing ad portals, along with OpenEFT reader preview capability, so digital interactive ad submission and insertion can become efficient, thus leading to a renaissance for magazine ad revenues.


Public Draft 2 of the OpenEFT Specifications was just posted on along with an OpenEFT Ad Delivery Guide explaining how the new format can be employed.  Finalization of OpenEFT Version 1.0 is scheduled for publication in late September 2013 and new tools to write and render OpenEFT for interactive digital ads should be on the market by year's end.  To learn more and to comment on the new specifications, visit the OpenEFT website.


"The solution to falling ad revenues for magazines is not to remain steadfast in the status quo but rather to pioneer a new model for the future."  -- David Steinhardt, CEO IDEAlliance



RE: California newspaper defies industry wisdom to stay alive - and prospers 

Lyons doesn't understand his own business. Corporate journalism, also known as

content marketing, isn't booming because "business itself is changing," it's  booming because new technologies have made content marketing viable for more organizations. Airlines have been engaging in corporate journalism for decades with their inflight magazines, but in the pre-internet days most companies didn't have that kind of opportunity to hold their audiences captive, so they relied on catalogs, brochures, three-martini lunches, etc. to convey messages that advertising alone could not convey. The web and social media have now given them means to publish their content in other ways and to find an audience for that content. The search engines, especially Google, will reward them with more traffic if that content is of value to people and not just promotional. And if people deem the content to be funny, useful, or otherwise worthwhile, they will spread the word via social media. Using content to bolster a brand is nothing, it's just that the means and media have changed.

(Submitted by a Director of Manufacturing)




RE: the media landscape

 . . . it seems like the change in the media landscape over the last 10-15 years has increased exponentially. When I think back to the beginning of my career and laying out Metros and Suburbans and was thrilled by the move to Hantscho heatset presses followed by the speed of M-1000s and later M-3000s, little did I know how miniscule those changes were!


I'm still waiting for true e-paper to become mass producible and not just something in a media lab. I've actually held off on buying my own tablet, taking one home from work every couple of weeks just to make sure I know - at least somewhat - what they can do. But until the digital substrate becomes lightweight enough and able to be read easily in sunlight, I'm fine living with ink on paper and my smartphone for connectivity.

(Submitted by a Finance Director)



Re: NYT Sells Boston Globe at 90% Off list Price / Bezos Buys Washington Post

 Dear Bob, My read on this is from the opposite angle. While today's sale prices are low they are made more dramatic by the excruciatingly high purchase prices from the earlier period. So the question may not be why sell so low today but rather why buy for so high before?  The answer is the hype and over promise of the Internet and how easy it was going to be to turn journalism based enterprises into online publishing companies.  Did management succeed?  The low prices of today answer that question clearly.

(Submitted by a Printer)


Re: Trio of Print Beasts are not Worth a Tumblr

Blah Blah Blah....Yadda Yadda Yadda.  Yep, let's dance on the grave just a little more, shall we?


Tumblr employed 14 people when it was bought by Yahoo (Old school web site, anyone)? As shaky and decrepit as the newspapers are, at least they employed hundreds of people and provided hundreds, perhaps thousands of middle class jobs, and provided for hundreds and thousands of ancillary jobs and community benefits.


I'm not a Luddite and I love all of this new technology. But I do wonder what will be left of the middle class and meaningful employment and employment opportunities when the great hollowing out is done. Unfortunately, I don't think the new captains of the tech industry are all that interested in sharing the wealth or participating in a meaningful democracy.


That sports fans, is the real issue we should be paying attention to. Stock prices and corporate valuations are about as meaningful as baseball statistics in December.

(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)


What I actually find more fascinating than the already stale news that readership, value and advertising dollars have drifted off elsewhere is the fact that these papers have been purchased by wealthy individuals. It's almost as if we are going back to the Gilded Age when newspapers were owned by wealthy elites (instead of public corporations) and were a reflection of the individual.


You do have to wonder what these people see in the value of these properties if those of us who are "print" professionals are already discounting and declaring that our time has come and gone.

((Submitted by an Industry Consultant))



Re: Rolling Stone May Lose Millions If Advertisers Walk Over Boston Bomber Cover Boycott 

Did these advertisers threatening to pull out bother to READ the article!?! 


Rolling Stone is an iconic magazine, or supposed to be representative and an intersection of art, music and counter culture. 


They succeeded in differentiating themselves and in drawing a LARGER audience, meaning more viewers of those ads - IN PRINT (supposed to be dying)!  While the cover is provocative (it's supposed to be - that's what sells!), the article was tasteful and IMHO appropriate in every way.


WAKE UP and stop pandering to the "right", because they're wrong. 


(Submitted by an Industry Supplier and A long-time ex-subscriber to The Rolling Stone that might just resubscribe after decades without it)


I think we can call this article "Further Evidence That People Who Write About Magazines, Know Sh*t All About Magazines"



Re: Rolling Stone May Lose Millions If Advertisers Walk Over Boston Bomber Cover Boycott 

Had London Allen done a little research, she would have understood that the article in AdWeek cited only a sample of all of the retailers that sell Rolling Stone Magazine. Had either the AdWeek writer or London Allen actually spoken to newsstand professionals, they would have been told that in those stores that report sales prior to a magazine coming off sale, the numbers look really good. But this does not necessarily prove anything because until you look at the copies that were actually pulled from the stands vs. what was actually sold, you don't know. Probably the RS circ staff already knows, the folk at MagNet may know (or think they do), but the rest of us are simply speculating.


London Allen also seems to imply that the magazine could be hurt by a boycott of advertisers. Right. Lots of speculation, massive quantity of words, practically no useful information.

(Submitted by a Newsstand Consultant)



Re: California newspaper defies industry wisdom to stay alive - and prospers 

Bob . . . . During the estate sale following the passing of my parents I became emotional as I watched boxes filled with hundreds of Life magazines being auctioned.


Mom and Dad had saved them not because they were merely magazines but because to them those pages dramatically reflected America's progress in making dreams become realities. That same reasoning would have prevaled if they knew or even suspected Henry Luce likely caused those words and pictures to be carefully chosen or embellished.


As you say, journalism and that kind of power have moved on.


Yet, even if by some miracle a major magazine were able to successfully follow in Luce's footsteps, I believe that effort would most likely fail.


That's because to almost everyone, the dreams have faded. Even hope is in jeopardy. Instead, we devote our energies to fighting intrusion of our privacy, erosion of trust and civility, disappearance of meaningful work, new threats to our health and the lack of confidence in being able to face tomorrow's uncertainties.



Not long ago, a twenty-something with an air of superiority in her voice said to me, "The good old days weren't nearly as good as they have been made out to be."


To which I quietly and confidently replied, "How could you possibly know? You weren't there. I was."


Case closed.

(Submitted by a Writer)


By BoSacks Readers| August 09, 2013
Categories:  Readers Speak Out

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