Full disclosure: I may or most likely may not be the normal reading consumer on the internet, and for the record I do use ad blocking software. Without it my day on the web was increasingly a painful, slow and a terribly intrusive experience. Also for the record, and most importantly, I am willing to pay for the reading material I want and need. I pay for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Texture (formally known as Next Issue Media) among several others. In fact, it is no secret that most of my working day is either reading on the web or writing about what I read. So I am something of an expert about the on-line user experience.
Here is my take on the situation. Ad blocking is serious business brought upon us by our own misuse of trust given to us by the reading public, the trust we had correctly build up over the last 100 years as the guardians of publishing and of print. I have always felt that the publishing community and the rest of the advertising internet infrastructure has from the outset abused the privileges of permission on-line. I don't want to be tracked by companies that want not only a large slice of my wallet but also the uninvited intrusion into my mind and how I'm thinking and where I am at any given moment. I am also offended that these unsought intrusions that slow down my web experience with bloated and unwanted downloads. FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
The newsstand sales malaise continued in the second half of 2013, prolonging a trend that has now extended over five years.
Second half 2013 newsstand results mirrored first half numbers with units declining by 12% and dollar sales declining by 9.1%. In the first half of 2013, dollar sales were down 9.2% compared to the same period 2012, and unit sales were down 11.4%. The average cover price on an issue sold in the second half increased by nine cents to $4.99, compared to the first half average sales price, again illustrating the negative effect that the lower cover priced celebrity weeklies and the continual positive influence of higher priced specials had on total sales.
second half weekly celebrity title sales declined 14.7% in units and
13.1% in dollars, a little worse than their performance in the first
half, while the non-weekly titles performed slightly better during the
second half. Even though the number of copies distributed in the second
half declined by 6.7% compared to 2012, second half, overall sales
efficiency eroded by nearly two percentage points compared to the same
period last year. Total 2013 newsstand sales declined 11.7% in units
and 9.2% in dollars compared to 2012 numbers.
The perceived reasons for these continual sales declines have been communicated and discussed repeatedly by industry observers over the last five years or so...the economy, the effect of digital and social media on leisure time and as content delivery tools, a heavy emphasis on low price subscriptions offered by major publishers trying to prop up rate bases as newsstand sales decline and the lack of publishers' efforts on promoting newsstand sales as they concentrate on their digital businesses. Individually each of these reasons has had an impact on newsstand sales. Collectively, their effect has been disastrous, and it has created a very fragile distribution channel, with some wholesalers leaving the business and those remaining requiring additional help from publishers just to survive as the only economically feasible means of timely distribution for thousands of titles into more than 100,000 retail outlets. The positive truths about the newsstand business include the facts that magazine sales are a $3 billion business, and we deliver a high profit margin to our customers with little or no effort or investment on their part. Our customers sell over 12 million magazine units each and every week, and their customers continue to show that they are willing to pay good money in a tough economic environment for high quality publications, especially if they can't get those same publications more cheaply through subscriptions.MagNet will provide a deeper dive into the second half and total 2013 newsstand sales numbers in our next Business Insights newsletter.
by D.B. Hebbard
Developers and publishers question the merits of Newsstand publishing as discoverability problems mount (and sales drop)
In the past I’ve criticized the organization, search capability and management of the Apple Newsstand before, but the posts rarely gained much traction. But Marko Karppinen of the Finish software company Ritchie (its publishing platform is called Maggio) wrote last week about why publishers should avoid the Apple Newsstand and his post was picked up by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber – that means wide exposure. Karppinen’s position is that the Newsstand is where publication apps go to die, undiscovered. His position is that publishers should launch their apps as stand-alone apps, outside the Newsstand. There is a lot of merit to the argument, the biggest one being that launching an app outside the Newsstand does not preclude one from one day moving the app into the Newsstand if you want.. READ THE ARTICLE
New Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp continues to ply his folksy approach, gathering non-senior management for a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss his vision for the company's future. A Time Inc. source said it was the first time in recent memory that a CEO had spoken directly to the company’s rank and file, which “in and of itself was a huge thing,” he said.
The gathering, which included a Q&A session with employees, was short on news, as Ripp hit on many of the topics he’s been discussing since first taking over as CEO last month. Sources present said that he continued to push for a “brands-first” approach and further decentralization within the company, and reiterated his desire to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy (including the 34th floor executive suite that’s come to symbolize it). READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Here’s the good news. The majority of editors are optimistic, to some degree, about the future of the publishing industry, according to a new survey by mediaShepherd.
Forty-three percent of editors are either “very optimistic” or “optimistic” about the future of the publishing industry. Another 22 percent are “mildly optimistic.” About a quarter (24%), however, are uncertain when it comes to the future of the industry. And 10 percent are “mildly pessimistic” or “pessimistic.” No one reported that he or she is “extremely pessimistic.”
“Technology is not a threat to publishing. Print will never die, but platform options, apps, etc., will help the industry to grow and keep tech-savvy editors employed,” commented one survey respondent. And while many editors indicated that they love their jobs and have much to be excited about, they also have much to adapt to and frustrations to voice. The biggest concern: Most editors’ workloads have tripled, quadrupled, quintupled … while budget cuts have eaten away at their staffs, freelance budgets and even their salaries—like a muster of moths in a closet full of old, wool coats. The concern, for the most part, is not self-serving, though who wouldn’t like to be paid more? Publishing is, as it always has been, based on content. Editors are the maestros that orchestrate the symphony of substance. What happens when editors are pulled in too many directions? What happens when many major instruments are cut? READ THE FULL STORY
In framing today's dialog and before I ask the more difficult questions, I would like to build a framework for my readers, not all of whom are fulfillment experts. Can you describe what services CDS Global provides in the current volatile media business? I guess simply put I am asking, can you describe for the laymen of our industry the character of a successful fulfillment provider in today's publishing landscape and where it sits in the ever changing content value chain?
In this age of disruptive media, CDS Global is an enabler of all the ways in which content can now be distributed in a world of agnostic distribution. We are the essential link between the industry and the consumer, deepening the customer experience. That's why we no longer think of ourselves or brand ourselves as a "fulfillment company." It's also why technology sits at the core of our investments and initiatives.
This work now involves partnering in brand extensions and focusing on the customer experience, in delivering business intelligence, and in integrating social media into that consumer experience. With the user experience being as essential as the content provided, successful fulfillment companies find themselves more and more at the early-stage decision table rather than in the traditional role of fulfillment as a back-end service. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
By Emma Bazilian
Since the inception of digital magazines, publishers have struggled to get advertisers to commit to tablet and other mobile content as they do with print. But a lack of measurement standards across a multitude of screen sizes and devices has made it hard to build advertisers' confidence in the medium.
The MPA—Association of Magazine Media and Adobe are making some headway, though. Following the MPA’s announcement last spring that it was working with digital companies to develop tools to track digital magazine readership, Adobe has built that capability into its Digital Publishing Suite software, which is used by most of the major magazine publishers. “We’ve seen a lot of demand from marketers and brands to take advantage of targeted ad opportunities that exist through these new digital editions,” said Danny Winokur, vp and gm of digital media at Adobe. “But we’ve encountered some real friction in doing business between publishers and advertisers and their agencies within the digital arena because a lot of the well-defined, standard metrics that have provided the foundation for conducting business in the print world have not been available in the digital arena.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE
By: Michael Sebastian
New Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp told roughly 300 employees at a town hall-style meeting Wednesday that the company's executive suite has been a place "where ideas go to die," according to staffers who were present. "If I have my way I'm going to close that damn thing down," Mr. Ripp said, addressing an audience of managers and executives. The company, the publisher of magazines such as People and Sports Illustrated, is keenly looking to Mr. Ripp for clues to its uncertain future. Parent company Time Warner plans to spin Time Inc. off into an independent company early next year, and Mr. Ripp last week became the third Time Inc. CEO in three years.
Mr. Ripp later sent a memo to all Time Inc. staff, encouraging them to present him with ideas. "I know you have ideas and I want to hear from you directly," he said in the memo. "That's an open invitation. I don't plan to spend all my time on the 34th Floor. So, you'll be seeing me around the building."READ THE FULL STORY