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Chandra  Johnson-Greene

ABC's Dos and Don'ts for Digital Editions on the iPad

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 06/16/2010-13:14 PM

As the iPad continues to rapidly attract new customers every day with its top-notch capabilities, publishers are equally as eager to join the party and create an additional revenue stream for their brands. Apple announced last month that it had sold 2 million iPads in less than 60 days and Wired editor David Rowan tweeted earlier this month that the Condé Nast title's iPad app had been downloaded 62,431 times.

ABC addressed the new phenomenon during its March 2010 meeting where its board agreed that a replica digital edition must include a print edition's full editorial content and advertising, but no longer needs to be presented in a layout identical to the print version.

“They want to ensure that ABC's qualification and reporting guidelines are forward-looking and provide ample flexibility to take advantage of new devices like the iPad,” Teresa Perry, SVP, publisher member audit and report processing services, told AD back in March. “The new guidelines allow ABC magazine members to design digital editions that are better suited for the specific distribution device, like the iPad, and provide additional features in the digital edition that enhance both the editorial and advertising content while still counting that circulation in rate base."

In addition to encouraging members to seek an evaluation of their new e-reader editions or mobile apps from ABC itself—a demo or beta version will suffice—the bureau has also provided a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to putting content on the iPad.

For example, while ABC promotes the use of additional advertising and “additive content” such as hyperlinks, video and audio without it impacting the ability of the publisher to qualify its circulation as “replica,” it prohibits editorial photo substitutions in iPad digital editions. In other words, if the same editorial photos in the print edition cannot be used in the iPad edition, the circulation will not be qualified as “replica.” ABC also prohibits publishers from separating the ad content from the editorial content or serving back copies and counting them as “paid” or “verified” circ on ABC statements.

For the complete list of ABC’s iPad dos and don’ts, click here.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

In B-to-B, E-mail and Engagement Should Go Hand in Hand

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 06/15/2010-11:08 AM

When it comes to e-mail marketing, b-to-b publishers have a few advantages that consumer publishers don’t necessarily have, especially when it comes to combining it with social media.
During the “E-mail Marketing Survival Guide” session last week at the 2010 Audience Development Show (co-located with the FOLIO: Show), Lou Ann Sabatier, owner of Sabatier Consulting, and Gloria Adams, senior vice president of audience development at PennWell Publishing, discussed best practices to ensure higher open rates, such as what subject line words are considered the kiss of death. (One of them happens to be “help.”) One thing, however, attendees won’t regret adding is some type of social media connection.

“Today, e-mail and engagement go hand in hand,” Sabatier told attendees. “When it comes to social media use in the b-to-b space, 78 percent of the business world are using Twitter and are microblogging, 65 percent have created a presence on a social network and 47 percent have a corporate or brand blog and 39 are using social bookmarking. And if you marry e-mail with social media, you’ll be able to increase brand awareness. I’ve had clients that have seen a 25 percent lift in response when the email in question allowed the customer to travel to a social network.”

While the idea may not sound all that revolutionary, it’s not easy for consumer publishers to carry this best practice out because most of their readers stick to one or two “worlds,” whether that’s a Web site, blog or RSS feed. For b-to-b publishers, however, customers tend to go back and forth, according to Sabatier.

“The audience crossover for consumer is maybe about 25 percent,” she said. “But in b-to-b, you have 80, 90 or 100 percent that are moving back and forth. E-mail and social media are not tactics—they’re part of a strategy. There is not an email campaign that I do that I will not say ‘How does social media fit into this in order to [create] buzz and move beyond what my current goal is?”

Sabatier also stressed the importance of having mobile and social media capabilities included in each email campaign. For social media, it’s as simple as having “share” buttons appear at the bottom of the e-mail. For mobile, it’s about making the e-mail available in whatever format the consumer chooses, whether it’s an iPhone or a Blackberry, as well as being mindful of HTML use.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Online Casino: Odds Are Murdoch Will Buy Newsweek

Chandra Johnson-Greene M and A and Finance - 05/12/2010-12:04 PM

Forget betting on which team will make it to this year’s NBA championship or who will take home the 2010 World Cup trophy. Now that Newsweek is up for sale, you can place bets on which company will acquire the troubled title.

According to—a sportsbook, online casino and poker room—there’s a 33 percent likelihood that Rupert Murdoch will be the one to acquire Newsweek. Next up is Bloomberg (25 percent), Thompson Reuters (20 percent), Time Inc. (12 percent), McGraw Hill (9 percent) and OpenGate Capital (6 percent). [View the chart below for the return on wagers.]

It’s fun to categorize buyers’ chances Las Vegas-style, but how did YouWager calculate the odds? “First comes the need to do some research,” Cory Scott tells me. “These are public companies, so it's easy to see how they've been performing over the last few quarters. Next, you come up with your odds. Fans like to root for the favorite, while gamblers love a long shot, so you need to put up companies that have a possibility of going down based on performance, but it still needs to be unlikely to justify the larger payout.”

Scott adds that the site also takes into account the popularity of the companies being bet on. “People won't bet if they don't have an opinion, and they won't have an opinion if they don't know anything about the team or, in this case, the company,” he says.

What are the Odds that Playboy Gets Sold?

YouWager didn’t stop with Newsweek. The site has also placed odds on which major magazines will most likely be sold this year. Playboy tops the list at 29 percent followed by Time (25 percent), Vogue (20 percent), Sports Illustrated (18 percent), Vanity Fair (14 percent), National Geographic (14 percent) and People (13 percent).

Scott came up with these odds by applying the same criteria as he did for Newsweek. “Playboy’s revenue for print and digital is down 26 percent, and this is a trend that has been going on for a while,” he said. “I compared Playboy to the other companies and decided they are the most likely candidates to go down based on recent and past performance.”

Because Playboy has had financial trouble and because of the current state of the economy, Scott felt there’s a 25 to 30 percent chance that the company’s magazine would be sold, which equals roughly to +250 or $250 for every $100 risked. “After I set the odds, I need to ask myself whether people have an opinion on Playboy going down.  I think so, so the odds go up with Playboy as the ‘favorite’ to go down, but it’s still an unlikely outcome.”

So, get your pocketbooks ready, and place your bets!

Odds that one of the options below will purchase Newsweek
Rupert Murdoch+200(33%)
Thomson Reuters+400(20%)
Time Inc.+750(12%)
McGraw Hill+1000(9%)
Opengate Capital+1500(6%)
Odds that one of the listed magazines will be sold this year
Sports Illustrated+500(18%)
Vanity Fair+600(14%)
National Geographic+600(14%)
People +700(13%)

[The +/- indicates the return on the wager. For Example: Betting on the candidate least likely to win would earn the most amount of money, should that happen. The percentage is the likelihood the contestant(s) will win.]

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Italian Vogue’s New Targeted Sites: A Catalyst for Change?

Chandra Johnson-Greene emedia and Technology - 03/02/2010-09:57 AM

Vogue Italia recently launched a trio of Web sites—two of which seem to have a goal of filling in some of the widest gaps in the fashion industry: the lack of images and articles depicting African-Americans and women with fuller figures.
Vogue Black, Vogue Curvy and Vogue Talents, which casts a spotlight on up-and-coming fashion designers, went live last week with little or no promotion, at least stateside. Fashion and beauty bloggers, however, have had a lot to say.

Both Vogue Black and Vogue Curvy feature a mix of articles from previous issues of Italian Vogue as well as original content segmented into channels such as “Seen in Vogue,” “Spotlight On,” and “Look of the Day” (or in Vogue Curvy’s case “Daily Suggestions.”) The sites also feature blog posts and videos.

The magazine’s creative team, at least for now, has chosen to focus more on style than substance. The interviews with Tyra Banks and Grace Jones on Vogue Black, for example, were somewhat buried by large high fashion shots of the two former models, but that seems to be the running theme on Italian Vogue’s Web site anyway.

These sites are obviously meant to reach audiences beyond Italy’s borders (although I didn’t notice any promotion for them on American Vogue’s site). The articles are published in English and a good portion of the content is written by U.S.-based bloggers such as Afrobella and Young, Fat and Fabulous.

To me, it seems as though these sites have a lot of unfinished business to tend to.  For example, Afrobella’s article entitled “Know Your ‘Fro” appears below a collage of images of wigs—and not Afro wigs, for that matter. The top of the page reads “Love Your Natural Hair,” which I found confusing. There was also a link to Vogue Italia’s Black Barbie special issue, which was published last year. But the link leads to one picture—nothing more.

The bigger question is what kind of impact these sites will have on the fashion industry as a whole. When Italian Vogue published an issue back in 2008 featuring all black models, it most certainly caused a stir on the newsstand as well as buzz among the fashion elite. But have the runways at Fashion Week been overloaded with black and other minority models since then? Of course not, but that’s another issue entirely.

If these new sites continue to improve in terms of content and image organization then perhaps they will  have some impact—if not on the runway, then perhaps in fashion publishing. But many will wonder why there even needs to be separate Vogue sites for African-American and full-figured women. Is there really no room for these types of content on the main site and in the magazine each month, for that matter?

On the other hand, the fact that Italian Vogue has chosen to take these steps does show the brand is taking some initiative, and I’m sure if it didn’t create these sites, those areas wouldn’t get much high fashion coverage at all.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Why Carry Magazines When You Can Wear Them?

Chandra Johnson-Greene emedia and Technology - 01/22/2010-16:53 PM

Sure, manufacturers of e-reader technology tout the convenience that consumers can gain from having access to all of their favorite books and/or magazines on one portable device. But imagine if you could read a magazine article right from—ahem—the shirt on your back?

Well, you can. Created by a Sweden-based company of the same name, T-Post—which calls itself the “world’s first wearable magazine”—is a graphic T-shirt with a news story printed on the inside and a graphic artist’s interpretation of the news story printed on the front.

Strange, right? Absurd? Most definitely.

The T-Post is sold via a subscription-based model—customers sign up online and shell out 19 Euros, or about $26. Three weeks later they receive their first T-shirt and a new one arrives by mail every six weeks after that.

T-post currently has 2,500 subscribers in more than 50 countries; 400 subscribers are from the U.S., which the company says is its fastest growing market.

According to publishing director and editor-in-chief Peter Lundgren, the process of choosing news stories is a collaborative one. “It all starts with the news editor. He keeps in touch with news blogs all around the world, scans newspapers and connects the dots,” he wrote in an e-mail to me. “From there, the whole editorial team sits down and decides on which story to run. T-post stories often consist of two or three different news stories and reflections that we think have some connection to each other and are intriguing enough to tell our subscribers. Our stories usually end up living somewhere in-between a news story and a column.”

T-post’s most recent “issue” features a news story entitled “Higher Education,” which explores how more college courses are focusing on topics like marijuana use and cyber porn. The front of the shirt—interpreted by Swedish designer Marc Stromberg—features a collage of rocks, paper and scissors in reference to the last sentence of the article: “Who knows, perhaps a course in the game Rock, Paper, Scissors could come in handy when negotiating big business contracts.”

And T-post took the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” concept virtual by adding an augmented reality feature, enabling “readers” who wear the that particular T-post in front of any Web camera and play a game of—you guessed it—Rock, Paper, Scissors against a computer-generated arm that extends from the shirt itself.

Take that, e-readers.

Or maybe not.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Will the USPS Seek An 'Exigent' Rate Increase?

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 07/27/2009-12:32 PM

While there has been recent speculation that the U.S. Postal Service is close to raising First Class stamps from 44 cents to 50 cents or seeking an “exigent increase” of 2 to 3 percent in order to improve its dire financial outlook, there are a couple of actions that it will probably take before getting to that point, according to postal consultant Ed Mayhew.

“The Postmaster General would rather bite the bullet than go for an exigent increase because even as revenue would go up, volume would go down,” he told FOLIO:. “They don’t want to drive customers away.”

■ The Office of the Inspector General recently hired actuarial consultant Hay Group to investigate how funds for postal workers’ retiree benefits were being calculated. The company concluded just last week that “the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) assumption that the annual health care cost inflation rate will average 7 percent annually for all future years is unreasonably high. So, based on OPM’s assumptions and methodology, the Postal Service’s future retiree health care liabilities will be overestimated.”

Had these extra charges not been expensed, the Postal Service would have had a net income of approximately $400 million as of the end of this year's fiscal second quarter and a possible “exigent increase” probably wouldn’t have even entered the discussion. The investigation, however, may urge the USPS to adjust retiree benefits in future quarters, therefore, freeing up some much-needed funds.

■ While each class is supposed to contribute 100 percent of its postal costs, the Periodicals class only contributes about 83 percent. Because Periodicals only accounts for 5 percent of overall volume, Mayhew said, this fact has gone largely unnoticed—that is, until coupon mailing company Val Pak recently filed a complaint. In order for periodicals to start contributing what it should, the USPS will have to increase their rates by 17 percent, which would be financially detrimental to most publishers. Mayhew guesses that if the Commission does decide to make the periodical class pay up, the increase won’t come this year and will most likely be done in phases.

And even if the USPS got to a point where they decided that an exigent increase was necessary, the Consumer Price Index needs to increase by 5 percent every month between now and December, Mayhew said, which is unlikely. (Postal rate increases are generally capped by changes in inflation.) The possibility of the USPS switching to a five-day delivery has also been discussed, but that’s up in the air as well, he added.

“It looks possible, but at the same time, the USPS does not have the authority to carry that out—Congress does—so they may have to wait a few years. Everything’s a maybe—a scary maybe.”

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

July '09: The Month of Rising Rate Bases

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 07/22/2009-14:41 PM

When it comes to rate base adjustments, this week has arguably been the antithesis of the entire first half of 2009.

While titles including Newsweek, New York, Reader’s Digest, Prevention and Vibe (which later folded) announced that they were reducing their rate bases between February and June 2009, Food Network, Life & Style Weekly and Parenting School Years all announced just this week that they were raising their rate bases.

Is this perhaps a sign of better times ahead, or an attempt to reel in skittish advertisers?

“Circulation has been trending in a very positive direction for Life & Style in the first half of 2009,” said vice president and group publisher Mark Oltarsh, who announced today that the title was increasing its rate base to 450,000 from 400,000. “We’ve been able to carve out a clear position in the marketplace, and readers are responding positively.”

Oltarsh added that based on a new editorial direction, which includes strengthening its celebrity coverage and providing more lifestyle details, Life & Style has been able to secure new advertisers across a variety of categories, including Proctor & Gamble, Frito Lay and Burger King.

Also this week, Hearst announced that Food Network magazine’s rate base is now up to one million just three months after more than doubling its rate base—quite a feat for a title the only hit newsstands in May—while Bonnier Corp. raised Parenting School Years' rate base from 500,000 to 550,000 just five months after its debut issue.

Both Parenting School Years and Food Network magazines attributed their recent success to a multiplatform strategy. “The multiplatform marketing strategy along with the strength of the Food Network brand continues to drive demand, shattering both our circulation and advertising benchmarks,” Vicki Wellington, publisher, Food Network magazine, said in a statement.

But what do all of these titles have in common? They seem to each target a very specific group of readers: Parenting School Years’ specifically targets the mothers of school-age children; Life & Style Weekly targets young, female readers with a strong sense of fashion and style sensibility; and Food Network captures those that are already attracted to the television network and its celebrity chef lineup.

It seems as if titles that create specific communities around relative content using various platforms will be the ones to weather the current economic storm. Go figure.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

What Magazines Can Learn from the Harlequin Book Industry

Chandra Johnson-Greene Editorial - 03/24/2009-10:41 AM

MIAMI—According Cosmopolitan editor Kate White, the opening keynote speaker at the 2009 MPA Retail Conference here Monday, the magazine industry has quite a bit to learn from Harlequin book industry, which over the past few decades has continued to survive and remain popular with classic themes of “heaving bosoms and Fabio-like hunks.”
When it comes to connecting with consumers and trying to anticipate their changing needs, White says it doesn’t pay the print industry to “throw the baby out of the bathtub,” or get rid of print and focus only on the Web and other digital properties.
While providing the five tips that she and the rest of the Cosmo staff keep in mind when grappling with the challenges the industry is facing today, she told attendees to look to the harlequin novel industry as an example of how to “throw out the bathwater instead of the baby.”
White explained that as each decade passed, Harlequin novel writers have kept the same themes of romance and happy endings, but have changed the characters and plots to reflect evolving attitudes. For example, while female characters’ bosoms heaved as a result of being rescued by a hunky guy, today they’re their bosoms are more likely to heave due to “running five miles after kicking some terrorists’ butts.”
“Reinvention is key right now,” White told attendees. “And if we’re not reinventing, we’re going to be left behind.”

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Recession Boogeyman Starting to Claim Association Events, Too

Chandra Johnson-Greene Association and Non-Profit - 03/04/2009-13:23 PM

Industry associations are feeling the economic pinch as much as publishers these days. Events are being scrutinized as one area for consolidation or cutbacks. After high-profile cancellations from MPA and ABM, the DMA has made another round of cuts, as well as some trimming of its event portfolio.

Below is the letter that president and CEO John Greco sent to DMA members yesterday, which states that the organization will have "less dependence on the more volatile parts of our traditional revenue stream, especially our large portfolio of conferences and events.”

TO: DMA Members

As the recession worsens, the economic activity of business and consumers is re-setting around the world, and taking the global economy into uncharted territory. In October, 2008 we took the necessary and appropriate steps to restructure DMA given our understanding of the economic downturn at that time. Now that we all have a better sense of what to expect over the next 12-18 months, DMA must be positioned to continue to provide outstanding member service with less dependence on the more volatile parts of our traditional revenue stream, especially our large portfolio of conferences and events. Like everyone else, we are re-setting to make sure we're prepared to ride out this recession. We are anticipating where the economic pressures will continue to affect us, and restructuring accordingly to ensure that DMA comes out stronger and smarter in serving the needs of the direct marketing community, and enhancing the direct marketing process—which continues to drive nearly ten percent of U.S. gross domestic product. At the same time it is very clear that we can further serve our members during these challenging times by being poised to take full advantage of opportunities appearing every day in emerging channels and markets.

DMA will survive and thrive because the direct marketing process remains vital and will play a key role in economic recovery. The direct marketing community needs its Association, perhaps now, even more than ever. DMA is aggressively controlling what we can control, while minimizing the risk of what we can't, and helping our members do exactly the same. Our actions reflect what's happening throughout advertising and marketing, and our membership - we are similarly affected.

We will be reducing our staff by an additional 19% today, affecting 26 people. Affected employees will be notified today. We understand that news like this creates uncertainty, but we are moving ahead to accomplish what is necessary for DMA's long term success. We will continue to make the right decisions to keep our association efficient and strong. This is a very difficult decision which we do not take lightly, and we are committed to treating affected employees fairly.

DMA will maintain strength in advocacy and reputation management helping to position the direct marketing community to participate in the re-set and recovery of the economy. We remain committed to keeping every channel open and economically viable. Our priorities continue to include issues that range from behavioral marketing, privacy and data security, internet, and remote sales tax, to Do Not Mail/Do Not Contact legislation. We will continue to address these issues through DMA's independent efforts, as well as by taking leadership positions within strong coalitions such as Mail Moves America (MMA), the Internet Alliance (IA), and The National Advertising Review Council (NARC). We'll be doing even more than we have ever done, and achieving that by taking a new approach to our mix of People, Process, and Technology. We are committed to honoring consumer preferences through, to developing best practices, and self-regulatory guidelines for direct marketers.

In fact, across our entire value proposition DMA members can count on us to do more with less by being innovative and reinventing the way we do things. In Education and Professional Skills development we will do more for our members with fewer resources by using the latest "e-platforms" to quickly deliver the latest best practices, current information on what's working (and what's not) in direct marketing, and how everyone can leverage their resources for the best ROI. We also plan process change in Research, such as changing the service delivery model and outsourcing more of the process, but preserving the same high quality, mission critical knowledge our members depend on.

DMA's conference and event offerings will continue to meet a wide range of our members' needs. If you are asking "what will I get out of this?" we can assure an essential, "must-have" experience. Our events provide exceptional education and networking platforms, business development prospects and superior lead generation. Therefore, in order to serve the needs of our members we will proceed with our signature events such as DMA'09, DMDays, the Non-Profit Federation Conferences and the Email Evolution Conference, as well as our partner events such as ACCM, NCOF and NCDM. All other existing events will be cancelled or included within our premiere events.

We're confident we can continue to provide extraordinary value to our members. We will use this opportunity to reinvent the Association with a promise to continuously serve our members' evolving needs.

In the coming weeks, we'll be communicating with you to keep you informed of how we're doing in making these changes. We're committed to delivering the value that will keep your business healthy enough to survive this downturn and thrive over the long term. We thank you for your continued support.

Best Regards,

John A. Greco, Jr.
President & CEO
Direct Marketing Association

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Are Free Magazines the Future of Publishing?

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 06/27/2008-15:58 PM

CHICAGO—During a session at this week’s CM Show, Jennifer Armor, audit manager at Verified Audit Circulation, argued that free magazines are the future of the business.

She riffed off a quote from Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson: “From the consumer’s perspective there is a huge difference between cheap and free. Give a product away and it can go viral. Charge a single cent for it and you’re already in an entirely different business.”

Armour thinks this idea can, and will, eventually extend to the magazine industry. (Broadcast radio and TV have been offering it since their inception, after all, and the music industry is moving in the same direction, she noted.)

Because of the increasing price of paper and postage, Armour said, the cost of acquiring and keeping paid circ is becoming too high compared to the revenue it generates, and therefore, consumer publications will eventually move to a controlled circ model. Only magazines with premium content that can’t be found elsewhere will be able charge their readers.

True, other types of media are free or becoming free, and it is becoming quite expensive to run a paid title. But the idea that consumer magazines will be corralled into a free model due to spiraling costs is unlikely.

Advertisers are still grappling with accepting that public-place copies of paid titles are valuable because the publishing industry’s audience measurement system isn’t as finite as TV or radio. To them, there’s no real way to measure how many eyes have viewed the copies. Circulators know differently, of course, but the debate rages on. And until that issue—and a few others—have been hashed out, Armour’s view of the future is out of reach.

Chandra  Johnson-Greene

Murdoch’s Plans to Make Free, Rival The Times

Chandra Johnson-Greene Audience Development - 11/14/2007-03:00 AM

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch announced this week that he intends to make access to The Wall Street Journal's Web site free-a move he believes will attract "large numbers" of big-spending advertisers.

"We expect to make that free, and instead of having one million [subscribers], having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth," Murdoch said.

News Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Dow Jones & Co., and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. A special shareholders meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 in New York. currently has about one million subscribers and generates about $50 million in annual user fees.

This move could be seen as the first step in setting up The Wall Street Journal as a direct rival to The New York Times, which is a major goal of Murdoch's, according to observers.

"Murdoch will do anything to take market share away from the Times. He has gotten farther than anybody else and can afford to undercut anybody else," Martin Dunn, deputy publisher of the Daily News, told Crain's New York Business back in August. "Anyone who thinks he will play by Marquess of Queensbury rules is living in a cloud-cuckoo-land."

The New York Times also opened up access to portions of its Web site. In September, the Times announced that it would stop charging its readers for access to its online subscription program TimesSelect as well as the majority of its archives.

Other weapons that could be used by the Journal to compete with the Times could include steep reductions in ad rates and direct targeting of the Times' current advertisers.

Murdoch also outlined plans to compete last month at the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that included increasing the WSJ's national and international coverage, as well as coverage of cultural issues in order to get advertisers from venues such as movie studios.

According to the Guardian Unlimited, when asked whether Murdoch was aiming to kill the Times, he replied, "That would be nice."

For more on the viability of online newspapers like the Times and WSJ, click here.

-- Chandra Johnson-Greene