As DMNews embarks on its rebranding, it is a good time to reflect on our industry.
The cost of creating and maintaining a current and quality database has never been cheap. But does an investment in currency and quality translate to increased lead generation?
Many business-to-business direct and multichannel companies are missing a huge opportunity to target government business.
"Radio doesn't work... we know, we've tried it." That the reception that I am used to receiving from clients.
It's been a little more than a year since DMNews launched its first-ever circulation marketing newsletter. My, how times have changed.
I'm not sure what the digital magazines of the future will look like, but they may look something like the digital flip-book magazines of today. A really good digital magazine reader could provide a very enjoyable experience, with all the qualities of a conventional printed magazine, plus searchability, links to additional content and advertiser's Web sites and embedded video clips. It could be like a magazine on steroids, and you won't be chained to a computer to read it. Once the readers get good enough, things will start to move fast in the direction of magazine content delivered digitally.
Magazines and newspapers have had a bumpy ride along the road to digital expansion. Many are continuing to test new operational models - among them, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The latter had its own Tweeting reporters leak plans from an internal company meeting about the Times' ideas to pursue a paid membership model last week. However, true success stories with monetizing digital content in a sustainable way are few and far between.
The Financial Times ran a story Monday detailing the Wall Street Journal's new plan to charge users for online content. "Micro-payments," or piecemeal charges for individual articles, will power the new revenue system, according to the plan, and I think it has a good chance of success.
Amid all the turmoil and angst in media circles today, the big debate is how media must change to find a new future. Everyone agrees the business model is irreparably broken. Advertising alone can no longer support most newspapers or magazines, which have heavily subsidized subscribers for years. Everyone agrees the future is digital, but digital advertising doesn't provide the volume of dollars necessary to maintain traditional media's sizable investment in editors and writers.
The latest news from the New York Times Co. is that it will not file to close the Boston Globe, as it threatened to on Sunday night amid stymied talks with various newspaper guilds in Boston. The Globe gets a reprieve — but for how long? And at what cost?
As the publishing industry confronts significant challenges, many companies are looking to take cost out of their businesses. Many look to outsource key functions, such as IT, HR, fulfillment, production, research and marketing or consumer marketing. As we have worked in this space for nearly two decades, I am often asked what the keys are to making outsourcing successful. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some things we think are very important.
Last week, Rodale launched new editions of Women's Health in China and the Philippines, as well as a new edition of Prevention in Australia. Last year, this news would not have been all that significant — so many international editions of every magazine were launching, it was nearly impossible to keep up — this year, though, seeing three big launches from a US publisher is definitely something to cheer, and may even be something to learn from.
The pressure on print publishers to save money in today's marketplace is enormous. As pressure increases, more publishers — small, medium and large — have availed themselves of circulation outsource services. This isn't a new concept; it's been around since about 1985. Outsourcing works, and it's an attractive option for many companies.
Afar Media, which is launching its experiential travel title, Afar, in August, has just appointed Laura Simkins as its Audience Marketing and Planning Director. DMNews spoke with John Sheehy, president and publisher of Afar, about the hire.
Here's an irony: Faith in American business appears to be at an all-time low; the nation's president has just fired the CEO of a leading automaker; a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that 8% of the country blames the banks for the current financial crisis. And yet, 1,000 Americans surveyed in February and March by Roper Public Affairs & Media for a Custom Publishing Council survey said that their faith in, commitment to, and enjoyment of custom publishing has actually increased in the four years since the last Roper/CPC poll.
Last week's In Circ discussed the newest circ marketing efforts of two newspapers whose very existence has been threatened: The Boston Globe and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. This week, we hear more about the Globe's efforts from Bob Powers, VP of communications and public affairs for the Globe.
When I was a kid growing up in New York, I learned two valuable lessons that I have carried with me for years: always get a tetanus shot before riding the subway, and never compromise your integrity for anything. While I admit the sanitary conditions on the F Train have become less of a problem since I moved to West Hollywood, the latter issue has developed into an ongoing battle throughout the media world.
Both the Boston Globe and the Minneapolis Star Tribune are launching self-promotion campaigns this week — a pushback to layoffs and the looming threat of closure that have threatened newspapers nationwide.
Given the current state of the global economy—and the media marketplace specifically—it is natural for publishers to enhance the quality of their circulation while maintaining or reducing costs. A tall order, but many publishers believe it is one that digital editions might be able to fill.
Bonnier's Popular Science magazine and Discovery's Science Channel have teamed up to create a new TV series: "Popular Science: The future of." The interesting thing about this partnership is that the sales and marketing teams from both brands will be working together on integrated plans — and sharing revenue on integrated ad packages.
Recently, the USPS posted a $1 Billion dollar net loss in the Third Quarter of 2008. This year looks even bleaker, with mailers of all sorts and sizes bracing for the next round of postal increases due on May 11, 2009. Officials blame the Postal loss on reduced mail volume across the industry, coupled with rapidly rising transport costs due to the increasing costs of fuel. Seeing my mail box much lightened by the lack of mailings, I think this would be a great time for marketers to get new creative test mailings going.
A close friend of mine is the type of guy who likes a good deal. He'll spend hours scouring SlickDeals.net just to save $5 on a set of headphones or a pair of tennis shoes. So when he started finding offers for free and nearly free full-year subscriptions to magazines, he was quick to jump on the titles he wanted: The New Yorker and Wired. The New Yorker, in particular, seemed like a great deal. As a weekly (and a "venerable" one to boot), it's not cheap. I had to wonder where the payoff would come in for the reseller.
Jane Giles, director of business development for Cambey and West and president of the National Trade Circulation Foundation Inc. (NTCFI) contributed the tips below from the NTCFI's "Up in a Down Economy" luncheon series. In a panel discussion on March 12, Brian Snider, president and chief creative officer of GRI Marketing Group, and Jim Katz, VP sales and business development for RealMagnet, discussed ways for circulators to keep their heads above water in this challenging economy. Philip Scarano of Triad Services moderated.
According to stories in the Post and Silicon Alley Insider, the New York Times is considering charging for some of the content on its Web site.
A year ago, a law firm client asked if we could create an electronic newsletter for alumni. We were excited because, as a custom publishing operation firmly grounded in print, we knew we needed to add some new-media samples to our portfolio. Our excitement was short-lived. Two weeks later, the client called to say that the firm had run focus groups with alumni, and a majority said that, regardless of the content, they wanted a print newsletter.
Six Degrees, a lifestyle magazine distributed in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Las Vegas, got a new lease on life when 944 Media, another regional publisher, purchased it late last week. DMNews chats with Marc Lotenberg, CEO and founder of 944 Media, about acquisitions, automation and growth in a down market.
Over the past six months, I have watched a transformation in the publishing space regarding the acceptance and integration of digital publishing as a credible channel. Magazine publishers have found themselves in an interesting place. They need to find creative ways to reach and engage consumers and satisfy cautious advertisers in a down market.
As many of you have already heard, the venerable Rocky Mountain News printed its final issue last week. The nearly 150-year-old newspaper was one of two dailies that had served the Denver metro area, the still-existent Denver Post being the other.
In the past, when I've had to teach people how to read an audit statement, I would tell them, "The audit statement tells the story of your subscribers — who they are and where they came from." For years, sales people have relied on an audit statement to make the case that their magazine is the best place for marketers to reach buyers in the industry.
The New York Times Co. launched an interesting experiment called Times Open last week.
The rise of the digital-only magazine was one of the greatest success stories to come out of 2008.
I was recently sent a renewal postcard by New York Magazine and I was faced with a difficult decision. I was not the question you might expect, "Should I renew my subscription or not?" Instead I wondered, "Am I done with magazines forever or do they still serve a purpose in my life?"
Welcome to Survivor: Publisher's Island. The rules are simple: there are no rules. And your competition is... pretty much everyone. Here's what the obstacle course looks like: consumer spending is down, ad pages are in the toilet, postage and material costs continue to rise.
While we usually focus on subscription sales tactics here, I think the current debacle at the newsstands is worth a second look.
In the beginning of circ marketing, there were demographics. Actually, there still are, and they play an important role in targeting and segmenting your list for particular offers. However, list targeting for online or e-mail offers requires additional thought and criteria, mainly around your customers' past behavior and how they have responded to online offers.
Should newspapers be bailed out? Maybe. Each day brings new reports of newspaper layoffs, sales, bankruptcy filings, cutbacks in production or home delivery and moves to online only — and, of course, diminishing ad dollars and readers.
Depending on the upgrades Amazon offers, and what those inspire in its rivals, the newest Kindle could spark some hope for today's down-and-out publishing industry.
Some of our readers on Twitter or the site don't know we're a print magazine, and that's okay. Our brand goes to the places our Makers go.
Two teen magazines took a fall this week: Hearst cut its Teen magazine and Web site, and Christian magazine Ignite Your Faith announced it will stop publishing in the spring.
Times may be tough, budgets may be shrinking, marketing may be "the first thing to go," but if you're going to put your marketing dollars anywhere, (and you need to do some very smart marketing if you're going to come out of the recession intact), custom publishing should be your destination.
This week's news analysis felt like it covered everything I've been writing in this column for the last few months.
I went magazine shopping the other day, and what did I see? A lot of magazines have scaled down their sizes in a major way.
Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine is upping its rate base from 235,000 to 260,000 as of its February/March 2009 issue. DMNews chats with publisher, Chris Lambiase, about the rate base bump, cross-marketing at Rodale, and, of course, organic gardening.
The responsibility of circulators is rapidly expanding beyond the traditional bounds of selling print magazines by subscription and on the newsstand. One of the new areas of opportunity for many of the magazines we work with is e-mail marketing.
I was prepared to write about the demise of 8020 Media today. 8020, publisher of JPG magazine and its corresponding site, appeared to be just another chapter in the "death of print" saga: In a failing economy, ad sales were down, and it couldn't meet profit goals. It's a story we've all heard in the past few months.
List and insert brokers and managers are being subjected to lower activity, according to reports in the trade press. New services are needed to bolster their bottom lines and counteract the effects of the Internet and cooperative databases.
A MediaPost article published last week bemoaned the fate of magazine ad sales, pointing out that media buyers are reluctant to invest in print advertisements. The reasoning behind this decision appears sound: With all the hoopla around magazine shutterings this year, investors are lax to buy ad pages that may not exist in six months.
You know those people in the ad sales department? The ones who really don't understand circulation? Maybe it's because they're new, or maybe they just never really got it.
Challenges mounted in the world of magazine and newspaper publishing over the course of the year, thanks to both the economic decline and the increasing popularity of the Internet as a news destination. Smart publishers embraced the Internet fully, not halfheartedly.
As traditional publishing organizations move toward the Internet as the next phase of growth, success has become dependent on more than just a nice Web site with content resembling a magazine's print components.
According to MediaFinder.com, 335 new magazines were launched in 2008 — not bad, considering the circumstances. In fact, the number is not much lower than the 389 new titles that MediaFinder reported as launching in 2007.
Many publications are trying to develop innovative ways to reach advertisers who are short on print-spending dollars and savvy consumers who think outside the traditional circulation realm of subscriptions and newsstand sales. Given these circumstances, it is important for print media entities to redefine their positioning in the marketplace by allowing brands to evolve and collaborate.
It looks like some sort of bailout is set to fall, like manna from the heavens, upon the auto industry. I hope this means they can afford to buy more print ads in the future. Lord knows the newspaper industry could use the cash.
Magazine publishers utilize inserts constantly. They may not know it, but those subscription renewal cards that fall out of the pages of a reader's favorite magazine are inserts — and can be valuable to a smart marketer. For instance, consider repositioning those 3x5 cards and using them to acquire new customers in other media vehicles, like catalogs. That's what we call "insert media."
DMNews spoke with RCI Media Holdings president, Don Waitt, about b-to-b magazines, the adult industry and the economy.
As publishers continue to evolve from solely print publishers into multi-hannel media companies, it's imperative to create customer-centric databases that tie traditional print circulation files together with Web data, trade show files, event files and ancillary products. Customer-centric databases can be applied at the brand, vertical market and enterprise levels.
With all the changes happening in the magazine world, it's no longer surprising to see 15 new stories a day about closings, cutbacks, new hires and launches across the industry. What has been eye-catching in the past few weeks has been the number of cutbacks affecting titles aimed at male readers.
Until the 2008 election campaign, politics was considered "cover death," a subject avoided rather than gravitated toward, at the celebrity weekly newsstand. Although President-elect Obama's coverage in the major newspapers and newsweeklies was important to his success, it was his presence in publications that speak to the under-30 set — such as Us Weekly and Rolling Stone magazines — that helped establish him as the favored candidate among young voters across the nation.
I learned many things about consumer marketing at my first circulation job at CBS Publications many years ago. My then-boss, Bob Krefting, taught me most of what I still practice. I best remember his observation that the most difficult task in publishing is determining how to organize a consumer marketing department in a multititle publishing company. All of my experiences since then have reinforced his comment.
In addition to boosting its digital efforts (as reported in DMNews), the Financial Times has upped its print circulation. DMNews caught up with Greg Zorthian, global circulation director of the Financial Times, to discuss circ increases and the role of the Web in the magazine business.
I am not joining the Do Not Mail campaign, and neither should you. First, we had the opt-in and opt-out clauses in our e-mails, then we needed a double approval to get our e-mail messages past all of the firewalls, and then we had the Do Not Call Registry to cut out the telemarketers. Now, the newest assault on our freedom is this proposed Do Not Mail campaign.
The Week is bucking the cutback trend and adding an extra December issue to its 2009 calendar. DMNews caught up with Steven Kotok, general manager of the news digest, to talk about the new issue, growth in today's market, and what's next for The Week.
You know the old adage, "It's much less expensive to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one?" Well, it's never been truer than in today's economy. It is critical that publishers establish reader loyalty to retain their subscribers and continue to find ways to increase the profitability of a customer.
Last week was a dramatic one for the print industry. Breathless reports of "bloodbaths," "axing" and other Halloween-appropriate clichés clogged the newswires as falling revenues encouraged some major publishers to slim down staffs and cut back frequencies.
Lift letters aren't a new idea. Greystone Press pioneered this concept in the 1960s, and some think the lift has been overused. Now this technique appears to have fallen from favor.
One of the biggest concerns for today's print media owners is the decline of advertising spending. The effect has caused a shrinking of circulations for many publications.
A recent article in Women's Wear Daily noted that food-focused magazines, such as Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, are making changes to their editorial to better fit the current economic climate. The titles - long a stronghold for the fine wine and black truffle luxury markets - now have features on "budget" recipes, cheap substitutes for expensive foodstuffs, and wine lists that top out at $20 a bottle. But will it pay to tweak the brands in this manner?
New numbers from The National Directory of Magazines recently made the headlines. The big news: Regional magazines constituted the largest magazine category — with 1,126 titles — in 2008.
The green movement, rising paper production costs and the migration to online marketing pose major challenges for print and production. Our experts offer strategies and predictions.
At today's kick-off keynote at the Folio: show in Chicago, speaker Jim Louderback, CEO of Internet video production company Revision3, shared his perspective on emerging media trends and how they can help — or harm — your magazine brand.
When you've worked with magazines long enough, you realize that magazine economics are complex. That's primarily because of circulation economics.
Fishing & Hunting News (FHN) stopped publishing last week, with its last edition dated August 7. The publisher of FHN, when asked for an interview, declined, saying, "The skeleton crew we have now, including myself, are just too swamped to respond to even your simple set of questions. I apologize."
Everyone loves getting gifts — no matter how small — and the gift-giver reaps the rewards of gratitude. It comes as no surprise, then, that gifts are a highly effective and profitable source of subscriptions for publishers, and have been for many years.
Lately, it seems that many magazines are getting thinner with every issue, and rate bases are decreasing without discrimination toward any particular category or publisher. Are advertisers temporarily giving up on magazines?
ELDR magazine is a lifestyle publication for affluent people 60 years plus who see the glass half full and not half empty. For many, the most rewarding years of their lives are yet to come. They are proactive about health, like to travel, enjoy the "good life" and yet want to make positive contributions to the people around them and the world at large.
Ruth Gaviria, executive director of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, speaks with DMNews about the relaunch of Espera and 12 Meses parenting magazines, marketing to Hispanic mothers and serving under-served communities.
Words such as "decrease," "layoff" and the more diplomatic "streamline" abound in the latest coverage of the newspaper industry. Just last week, DMNews covered cuts at the Wall Street Journal, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and various local papers published by Gannett and Tribune Co.
For more than 85 years, Science News magazine has been delivered weekly to readers' doors, but no publisher is completely immune to the realities of the marketplace. For Science News, 2008 was the year to change frequency from weekly to biweekly.
New York Media LLC, the parent company of New York magazine and NYMag.com, has purchased MenuPages.com. DMNews sat down with Serena Torrey, executive director of business development and corporate communications for New York Media, to discuss the acquisition and what it means for the New York brands.
I get a lot of free magazines at the office. In some respects, this is a perk, but, as the print media reporter here, I often end up feeling a little guilty that I'm not participating in any of the great marketing back-and-forth that I write about every day.
Marketers use a great deal of resources to drive consumers to a transaction. Fully maximizing the return on this investment requires strategic planning for what follows that transaction. This "path" is an extremely valuable, responsive moment during which savvy marketers are increasing revenue by up to 30% or more
Men's Health is making a play for more engaged audiences and better advertiser ROI with its July/August issue: the Rodale title has partnered with mobile marketer SnapTell to add mobile components to print ads
We have the power, through targeted marketing, to steer the demographic make-up of a subscriber file. In the short time since October 2005, TV Guide magazine's demos have changed dramatically. We have nearly one million new subscribers, age 18-44. We've seen a jump of 23% in subscribers age 18-34, while losing 1.5 million subscribers more that 45 years of age, and our readers earn more.
I learned many things about consumer marketing at my first circulation job at CBS Publications many years ago. My then-boss, Bob Krefting, taught me most of what I still practice. I best remember his observation that the most difficult task in publishing is determining how to organize a consumer marketing department in a multititle publishing company.
Regional or local publications have become more prevalent, due to the decreasing cost of entry into the magazine business as well as the multiple options of free distribution available. In a marketplace flooded by these publications, circulators need to market smartly to make their products and offers stand out.
Sometimes it may look like the circulation team at New York magazine has a lot of free time to gather and chat. It's not that we don't have enough to do; our work process may just need some explaining.
Publishers today face many challenges. Circulation for most print publications is on the decline. Readers are turning to online resources when they would normally open a magazine or newspaper. What can publishers do to boost their circulation while creating new revenue streams?
In this cluttered inbox world, grabbing a person's attention to attract them to your publication or Web site is the biggest challenge, and the subject line is the most critical element of any promotion campaign, according to Elliot Danziger, director of e-mail marketing for e-Post Direct.
Partnership marketing is extremely valuable, and is fast becoming a trusted part of the circulator's mix. The Audit Bureau of Circulations Partnership Marketing circulation classification allows a magazine subscription to be sold in combination with a product or service. Partnership-sold subscriptions are a valuable marketing tool and circulation source that uniquely benefit publishers, retailers, consumers and advertisers.
As I sat through a recent Circulation Day seminar on "Direct Mail Creative Breakthroughs & Trends" I was astounded to think that the voucher was still a creative breakthrough. The voucher, for many years, has played a prominent role for many publishers in their direct mail campaigns. Creative testing has focused on improving the voucher through tweaks to envelopes, forms, adding brochures, and buckslips. Not what I consider a creative breakthrough, but for many circulators this format has saved their business.
It's a whole new world. It's not just print, it's multi-platform. Readers of many magazines can now engage with their favorite brand's content across many distribution channels — the magazine, the Web site, audio, podcasts, mobile, newsletters, television, radio or RSS feeds, just to name a few. To monetize these content channels, consumer marketers must position and promote the enhanced value of the brand to its most loyal readers as well as to new consumers.
Many people know USA Today as the newspaper found at their hotel room door. It engages readers with a balanced variety of news topics in an easy-to-understand format that is informative yet fun to read when traveling on business or vacation.
With the confluence of postal increases, consumers' green advocacy and soaring paper costs, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that insert media is one of the print-rooted areas that are currently under attack.
It's a challenging time to be working in magazine circulation. There are a number of issues that are making it harder to increase profitability year over year: rising postal and paper costs, do-not-mail legislation on the state level, difficulty in recruiting bright young people into our discipline and, last but not least, the proliferation of information that is freely available on television and the Internet.
Technology is grand. It enables us to do very sophisticated e-mail promotions, and there is no shortage of articles on deliverability and analytics. When e-mail is your direct marketing channel, it's no longer just about the lists, offers and message. But perhaps when trying to get our arms around filters and metrics we overlook a basic tenet, especially in b-to-b subscription marketing: Our audience is human — they are individuals, and they have egos.
A big story out of the publishing world last week was Ziff Davis Media filing for bankruptcy. The company, which publishes PC Magazine and Electronic Gaming Monthly, attributed its losses to falling subscription and advertising numbers. However, Ziff Davis' filings with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York also cited the company's inability to grow quickly online as a reason for waning consumer interest in the brand.
Demands for greater accountability and transparency remain essential in media business relationships. The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) strives to meet these demands by helping to strengthen the relationship between advertising buyers and sellers.
At BPA, we believe the market will continue to witness the trend of media owners migrating toward "E" — that is, moving into electronic and digital media — to monetize their brands across multiple platforms. While the print product will remain a strong part of the mix, publishers who don't expand into the digital realm and focus on the quality of the user will surely miss out on the marketing dollars that are pouring into that arena.
Company of the week
R2C creates, produces, distributes and measures messages that inspire and compel consumers to do something with a brand to drive commercial advantage. The full-service advertising agency specializes in creative, production, media, analytics and performance.
What's in our mailbox this month: fitness postcards from Retro Fitness, American Woman Fitness Centers, Union's United Taekwondo Academy, and Bally Total Fitness. (We're totally pumped.)
Social data can improve a brand's bottom line and customer relationships. Just ask brands Infiniti and Diamond Nexus.
Here are three must-have data sets that every marketer should include in his or her email strategy.