Could Oyster be the Netflix for books? By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- Could Oyster be the Netflix for books? It's the question many industry-watchers have been asking since last October, when the New York City-based startup received $3 million in funding led by Founders Fund.
Today's launch of Oyster in Apple's App Store gets us closer to an answer. With Oyster, subscribers get unlimited digital access to more than 100,000 books on their iPhones for $9.95 a month. Backing from a venture capital firm with the star power of Peter Thiel gave Oyster an important seal of approval, but up until now, with just over 100 users trying out the service in beta, it's been virtually untested.
Oyster's founders don't shy away from the Netflix (NFLX) comparison. Even the interface "feels like the Netflix experience," says co-founder Willem Van Lancker. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
By: Michael Sebastian
Time Inc., bracing for a spin-off from Time Warner early next year, is rolling out an ad product called Time Engage that's designed to use the company's vast reader data to better target ads not just in digital media but in print. Johnson & Johnson has recently signed on for Engage, which began as a pilot program in 2012, and Time Inc. is looking for other takers. The pilot last year saw Toyota, one of Time Inc.'s 10 biggest advertisers, and its agency Saatchi LA try to use Engage to raise awareness of its Venza cross-over among baby boomers, according to the companies. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Advocacy groups warning of a potential 10 percent increase.
BY ARTI PATEL
Direct mailers are up in arms and banding together as the United States Postal Service (USPS) circles a potential exigent rate increase for 2014. With the USPS Postal Board of Governors set to convene on Sept. 5 and expected to discuss a possible path toward solvency, periodical publishers are preparing to argue against what they believe is an additional financial burden.
"This is not a bluff on behalf of the postal service," says James Cregan, executive vice president, government affairs, for the MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, in a phone interview. "Among knowledgeable people working within the mailing industry, it's commonly known that this exigent rate increase is very much on the table." According to Cregan, Washington, D.C. insiders are expecting the USPS to pursue an exigent rate increase of up to 10 percent across the board for magazines, effective Jan. 2014. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Many people are claiming that these new Meganews Magazines autonomous newstands could save the print industry. That's maybe a bit optimistic, but at the least they'll help reduce the mountains of wasted paper from unsold magazines since the over-sized vending machine only prints publications when they're ordered, in just two minutes. The kiosk has access to a remote server where publishers upload the latest editions of their periodicals, and using a touchscreen interface customers can browse more than 200 different magazines, newspapers, or journals. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
There are more ways than ever to consume media, and more media than ever to consume. But as the landscape becomes ever more fragmented and advertising revenue continues to stall, Bob and Brooke ask the question: is the Golden Age of content sustainable, or just a supernova, a dying star burning exceptionally bright?
People Mag Prepares New Subscription Model
Chasing additional consumer revenue
By Lucia Moses
Time Inc. cash cow People is preparing to unveil a new pricing model designed to transform the way people think about subscriptions, according to people familiar with the publisher's plans. Other titles in the company are expected to follow suit.
With advertising sagging-PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that consumer magazine ad revenue will decline 7.3 percent from 2012 to 2017, to $15.2 billion-Time Inc. isn't alone in turning to consumers for new revenue. Hearst Magazines priced its tablet editions higher than its print editions, betting that people will pay more for an enhanced version. Casting its net for more print subscribers, Condé Nast recently announced a deal with Amazon to let people manage their orders on the e-commerce site.
Posted by Ami Sedghi
Observers say move is attempt to secure future generation of readers in industry suffering endemic declines in print sales. Miss Vogue: there are plans for a second issue next year, though details have not yet been confirmed
With parted blonde locks, bubblegum pink lips and a knitted jumper thrown over a denim shirt, 19-year-old model Tigerlily Taylor has the perfectly stylised look that befits the front cover of Teen Tatler.
But despite the baby pink background, Taylor represents a new type of teen: fashion-savvy, confident and with the power to spend. And high-end women's magazines are desperate to appeal to this new generation of reader.
In May Vogue launched youth-targeted spinoff Miss Vogue, and the September issue of Tatler was accompanied with a glossy teenage supplement.
At first glance, the newly launched magazines may look like a revival of the teenage print market. But industry observers describe the move as an attempt to secure a future generation of readers in an industry suffering endemic declines in print sales.FULL ARTICLE
By: Michael Sebastian
Magazines' tablet editions might offer a promising future, but presently they're still struggling to gain traction. Through the first half of 2013, magazines reported 10.2 million subscribers to their digital replica editions, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, good for just 3.3% of overall circulation.
Several times this week I have been involved in correspondence and conversations about QR codes and various other forms of augmented reality. The theory continuously presented to me is that print will be saved by the use of augmented reality. It is at that point I stick my feet into the ground, as I think there is nothing much further from the truth on this subject than this thought process.
I need to be clear here, as I have many friends and associates who own or work for augmented reality companies. I support the use of AR in that it is a wonderful tool and can be a bonus for any printed product for either ads or editorial. But I am not a fan of augmented reality in regards to it being used the savior of print. In that regard, it is a total red herring to print's ability to succeed or not succeed in regards to printed magazines.
Here is my reason why although it is a good tool, it isn't something that you could or would use on every page, or for any extended period in a printed magazine. When we are offered a QR code or other AR launch system in a magazine that takes us to the web, we are then forced to balance two separate devices. The web product/cell phone/tablet in one hand and a magazine in the other hand, or on your lap, or perhaps on the desk, making neither a comfortable long-term reading experience. Continually sending people from the printed magazine page to an electronic device defeats the purpose of having a good print product and the concurrent rewarding lean back experience that we are all so proud of as an industry. As the old expression goes, putting lipstick on a pig only wastes your time and annoys the pig. Although AR indeed has its valuable moments and its usefulness, AR is a distraction to the nature of our printed products. In this case it is trying to fake the electrification of the printed page. If I wanted to get online, I would have done so. If I chose to read a magazine, why send me somewhere online? Does that make sense to you? READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
FORTUNE -- Jeff Bezos, John Henry, and Warren Buffett are not investing in dying businesses. They don't do that. They are investing in assets poised for a rebound. Despite the recent spate of media last week about the spiraling of newspapers, there are a few facts for industry pundits to consider.
Newspaper media comprised a $38.6 billion industry in 2012. While those revenues saw a 2% decline compared to 2011 revenues ($39.5 billion), we're also starting to see promising shifts in the newspaper business model: growing revenue streams across several categories -- some of which have only emerged in recent years.
Just this past year, circulation revenue rose by 5% -- from $10 billion to $10.5 billion -- as digital subscriptions grew dramatically, marking the first gain in this category for the newspaper industry since 2003. READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE