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Stefanie Botelho

Face Up: 2011 Year in Review

Stefanie Botelho Design and Production - 12/13/2011-09:59 AM

2011 was a year of redesigns and relaunches, as magazine covers aimed to provoke (and as a result, to sell). Some efforts amounted in positive buzz and hiked newsstand numbers; others inspired seemingly unending rounds of media heckling (Newsweek’s July 4th cover, which featured a very Photoshopped image of the late Princess Diana, here’s lookin’ at you). Here, FOLIO: asks three of our 2011 FaceUp participants to weigh in on their favorite covers of the year.

 

TIME
October 17, 2011

Publisher: Time Inc.
Design Director:
D.W. Pine
Managing Editor:
Rick Stengel

“I can’t guess how many magazine covers have been designed in the past year (and I’m only counting the ones that didn’t end up in the AD’s drawer). 365 days, 12 months, 52 weeks—hundreds, thousands, maybe more. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly—you get the idea. Consequently, when I was asked to pick one favorite from the past year, I almost balked. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized that this year I could actually answer that question with conviction. Anyone who’s been in the publishing business for twenty plus years (particularly on the design side) will understand my answer.”

- Mick Schnepf, Art Director, Traditional Home Magazine

 

Complex
August/September 2011

Publishing Company: Complex Media
Editor-in-Chief: Noah Callahan-Bever
Art Director: Brent Rollins

“Hard to go wrong with a beautiful cover subject like Beyoncé, but the Complex design and photo team raise the bar for a celebrity cover by wrapping Beyoncé in a beautiful set of undulating typography. For this Style & Design cover story, Complex recruited photographer Thierry Le Gouès and artist Ebon Heath. Stunning photography, sensual typography, and killer styling come together in this iconic, arresting cover. A ‘Cover of the Day’ for SPD back in July—this cover is my Cover of the Year.”

-Josh Klenert, Society of Publication Designers, Vice President, Board of Directors

 

ESPN Magazine
May 16, 2011

Publisher: ESPN The Magazine LLC
Art Directors: Jason Lancaster
Editor-in-Chief: Gary Belsky (now former EIC)

“The gruesome image is stunning, I couldn’t stop looking at it. And I loved the decision to understate the size of the main cover line and put it in the yellow strip.”

- David Speranza, design director, Bicycling Magazine

 

Have a unique “cover” story? Contact associate editor Stefanie Botelho at sbotelho@red7media.com.

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Stefanie Botelho

Utne Reader To Shut Down Editorial Offices, Relocate to Ogden Headquarters

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 12/06/2011-12:14 PM


For the magazine industry, the holiday season thus far has been mixed. The first full week of December brings two pieces of sad news (not including the holiday party budget reductions reported earlier this week—the horror, the horror).

Get Married Media is closing down within upcoming weeks, and Utne Reader is relocating to publisher Ogden Publications’ headquarters in Topeka, Kansas from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The physical move may not be so bad (I hear the Kansas landscape is beautiful), but it is the staff changes and budget reduction that makes this tough news to report.

According to reports from the StarTribune, Ogden Publications is bringing bi-monthly Utne Reader under its headquarters’ roof “so the 30 Ogden employees who work on other magazines can share space and workload”. Other titles include Mother Earth News, Motorcycle Classics, Grit and Capper’s. The seven staffers currently running Utne have elected to not make the Kansas transition, Utne Reader EIC David Schimke tells FOLIO:. Two more issues will be released before the Minnesota’s office closure ensues in March.

Schimke says Ogden Publications may be planning to cut the literary digest’s budget in half, down from $500,000 to $250,000. He tells FOLIO:, "I don't think it was an editorial quality decision, it was about the affordability. Having a satellite office in this day and age is hard."

Earlier this year, Utne was ready to embrace the medium founder Eric Utne now claims to be the print magazine’s poison. Its Alt Wire service, a socially curated digital magazine built on Sociative Inc.’s R88R Platform, launched in July to a generous amount of buzz from the public. Alt Wire was designed to pick up news a handpicked group of “influencers” shared through Twitter. At the time of launch, web editor David Doody told FOLIO: the majority of content shared through the Alt Wire will be from the alternative press sector, categorized by sites like Mother Jones and The Nation.

The only upshot of this news: Utne Reader is not folding…yet. Schimke says, "There will be a smaller core staff, and will be getting support in editorial operations from other Ogden staff." Unfortunately, a new, thinner staff will most likely not lead to a higher quality of product...and a lower quality product will do nothing to improve sales.

Ogden acquired Utne Reader in June 2006. At time of purchase, Utne had a paid circ of 225,000. The magazine debuted in 1984, and now has a single copy price of $6.99.

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Stefanie Botelho

For the Unbeatable Price of Free...

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 11/08/2011-13:26 PM

Free samples, whether from a grocery store, makeup counter or a newsstand, are largely welcomed by consumers. Give people a chance to sample great products without putting down a dollar and watch the line of waiting customers curve around the block. Aside from the free good itself, consumers will often experience a warm feeling for the manufacturer supplying it, “They really do care!” Companies (retailers, publishers, etc.) know this, and maintain the freebie as an act of goodwill, opposed to what it really is: a bite to inspire consumers to buy the entire package.

Today, The Wall Street Journal opens the gates of its paid wall, allowing viewers to access every article on its site without agreeing to a subscription. The key icons, which normally accompany original or more provocative WSJ content, have disappeared. The free access is sponsored by Citbank; a click-through ad for its Thank You Reward Cards is nestled against WSJ’s “The Wall Street Journal Online is Free Today” banner cresting the top of the home page.

No doubt Wall Street Journal’s page views will spike throughout the day, as word about the free content spreads in the Venn diagram of the social sphere. No doubt these page views will be integrated into overall numbers for the month of November and later used in pitches for advertising partners. But the bigger question, the question that will likely remain unanswered in hard numbers from WSJ, is whether or not this free access will sell subscriptions.

As publishers begin to total up digital sales, free downloads are often included in the tallies. This certainly makes the digital scape appear more appealing, with promise of larger revenue and greater audience engagement. But after the giveaways are over, the numbers often recede (as we all know, just because someone downloads a free issue doesn’t mean they open their wallets to purchase a subscription).

In a recent CircMatters Special Report, Jack Hanrahan takes a close look at the state of digital circulation. Hanrahan cites 32 magazines reporting a digital circ of over 15,000 to ABC for first half 2011. He then analyzes those magazines with a “true paid” circulation, compared to those who include partnership subs, sponsored subs and verified individual use copies in their total numbers.

After this parsing, 8 out of the top 10 magazines originally claiming the highest downloads weren’t included in the new top ten who could claim 100 percent “true paid” numbers. In fact, only 10 of the original 32 titles were able to make this claim at all.

Giving out free content is undoubtedly a decision that should be made by individual publishers; unfortunately, when one publisher does it, others are forced to follow. At the FOLIO: Show, Peter Moore, editor of Rodale’s Men’s Health, made no secret of his disappointment in major players like Conde Nast choosing to bundle digital editions with their print subs. By doing so, audiences become accustomed to receiving products for free – setting up a precedent other publishers may not have chosen for themselves, but one that audiences now expect.

So while free may sell, and free may boost numbers, it remains important for publishers (and advertisers, and consumers) to weigh the price of free. After doing so, the publishing world may find itself agreeing with Moore when he said, “Free sucks. We should get rid of free.”

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Stefanie Botelho

The Brandividual, “Problematic Neutrality” and the Emerging Editorial Model

Stefanie Botelho B2B - 10/27/2011-14:50 PM

The theme of this year’s American Business Media Executive Forum was paid content, and vets from every facet of the b-to-b industry were on hand to offer guidance and lessons from the field. Beyond the paywall debates, marketing services and analytics discussions was the business brands are built on: the content. David Berlind, UBM Techweb’s editor-in-chief/CCO, John Gallant, CCO with IDG Enterprise and SourceMedia EVP/CCO David Longobardi shared how they are encouraging and prepping editorial staff for the future.

In the Forum’s keynote presentation, president of The Marketing Democracy Judy Franks reinforced the difference between social networks and social media. Social networks (Twitter, Facebook and the like) are the platforms for social media (a provocative article, cover treatment, etc. that inspires sharing among readers). According to Franks’ categorization, and CCO commentary, social media is what will aid b-to-b companies in the transition to the new content model.

Replacing the rush to break news is getting that news picked up by a largely read source. While aggregators may have initially been seen as predators of original content publishers, this view is shifting. “The most important thing to do for editorial team is to get them is change quantity to quality of content,” says Longobardi. “It’s no longer just ‘I beat The Wall Street Journal’, it’s ‘Huffington Post linked to me’.”

The oft-baffling task of garnering attention in the social network space
can be broken down into a less daunting series of steps. Says Longobardi, “You tweet, use Facebook, then provide analysis. Ask smart questions first; this already garners a certain amount of attention.”

Gallant cites a complete narrative of a news story as a way to gain audience interest, “We take multiple slices on things we know how are coming: a pre- and post story. We ask, ‘How do we time things? How do we capture wave of interest around the event itself?’” 

A New Brand: The Journalist

In the social scape, the content creators are being pushed to brand themselves along with the copy they produce. Berlind says, “We need our editors to be ‘brandividuals’. We market them as people you have a trusted relationship with. In this day and age of social media, with all the entities you connect to, the majority are people.”

As brandividuals, b-to-b editors are expected to be as comfortable on camera as they are on a laptop, “We expect each of our editors to operate equally comfortable in text, video, audio and still realms. We have a few people who can really rise to that challenge, and there’s a bright future for them,” says Berlind.

SourceMedia is also on board with the journalistic leap from undetected reporter to visible commentator. Longobardi says, “You have to decide what makes people want to comment. This matters if you are going to publish opinions, things that require a counterargument. We’ve been pushing boundaries in terms of opinion news. We increasingly invite and urge our editors and journalists to express a point of view.”

Opinionated reporting (which can certainly be read as a contradiction) is where these CCOs are placing their bets for the success of their editorial offerings. “We need to take editors, and figure out how to get them to operate them beyond [what can be] problematically neutral. We need to get them to be brandividuals, and able to leverage market knowledge,” says Longobardi.

The dangers of identifying a solidified brand with fluctuating staff (talented editors are often poached for more lucrative opportunities, taking their list of followers with them) was not a pressing concern of the aforementioned CCOs.

“You can’t put all your eggs in one basket; we try to have a network and a core brand handle, so we structure ownership of that. Staff has their own handle, though we encourage them to temporarily embed our brand in their handle. This leads to lots of retweeting. When someone leaves and goes to a semi-aligned content organization, they still often tweet our content,” says Longobardi.

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Stefanie Botelho

In 2011, Magazine Launches Outpace Closures

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 10/03/2011-14:41 PM


In its quarterly survey, Mediafinder.com reports 200 magazines launched in the first nine months of 2011. This number is an upshot from the same period in 2010, in which 176 magazines debuted.

Leading the launch list is the food category (with 25 new titles) and regional interest (which introduced 18 titles); new regional pubs include Bitayavon, O. Henry Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine. 944 Media (which shuttered its luxe magazine offerings in June) debuts a new regional offering with Vegas/Rated, under parent company Sandow Media’s partnership with WENDOH Media.

The b-to-b media sector saw a prolific first nine months in 2011, with 56 new titles.

During the same period of 2011, 128 magazines shuttered. Unfortunately, this doesn’t demonstrate much of an improvement over January-September 2010, when 127 titles closed. The bridal sector (which lost the regional editions of Brides) had the biggest body count with 18 title closures, along with the regional sector, which also lost 18 titles.

34 b-to-b magazines shut their doors in January-June 2011, including Penton’s American Printer and PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converter).

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Stefanie Botelho

The New “I” In Journalism

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 09/20/2011-12:52 PM


Just like the magazine industry itself, reporting styles are evolving. Aggregated and link journalism is plentiful; yellow journalism will most likely never go away; long-form journalism holds a nostalgic power, despite increasingly Tweet-ified attention spans; and now, the era of “me” journalism appears to be here for the long haul.

Preceding this burgeoning journalism trend is the Me generation, a phrase that often refers to those born in the latter half of the 20th Century. Iconic journalist Tom Wolfe explored this phenomenon in an August 1976 New York Magazine article, “Reports on America’s New Great Awakening: The ‘Me’ Decade”, “By the 1960s the common man was also getting quite interested in this business of ‘realizing his potential as a human being.’ But once again he crossed everybody up! Once more he took his money and ran—determined to do-it-himself!”

And the “me” continues to spread. Traditional journalim did not include personal pronouns; to do so would taint the supposed unbiased view of a reporter’s research. Running parallel to news journalism are the schools of creative non-fiction and literary journalism, where factual stories are told through a first person point of view, often adding human connection and sensory detail to a series of events.

The three schools all serve different purposes, and one is not necessarily held at higher esteem than the others. But then, enter the blog (which rapidly spread in the early 2000’s), add in the constant “I” factor of social media (used to be Myspace; now it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more) and the “me “in recent reporting becomes problematic.

Some journalists integrate personal experience of a reporting assignment with measures of success; an educated opinion (like those seen in WIRED, with columns by Clive Thompson and Steven Levy serving up thoughtful commentary and insight) is often welcome, when paired with facts and research. However, it’s the ego preening by journalists I’ve observed over the past months that raises alarm.

In June 2011, Vanity Fair featured pop singer Katy Perry on its cover. In “Katy Perry’s Grand Tour”, journalist Lisa Robinson included that Perry asked her what the word “reticent” means. This statement was followed by an admission that the writer herself thought a “blue moon” was really blue; but it still left a bad taste it my mouth. To this reader, it felt as if Robinson was picking on Perry, as if she ready to judge her before she even began her assignment.

V Magazine included a profile on Marianne Faithful in its Fall Preview issue, penned by Alex Needham. In closing the article, Needham writes, “And with that I wrap up the interview, telling Faithful that I enjoyed it even if she didn’t. ‘I don’t mind if it’s with someone intelligent and cool,’ [Faithful] added flatteringly.” In a story that runs on two pages, with the majority of space taken up by a photo of Faithful, is it necessary to waste copy letting your audience know how in you are with your interviewee? Probably not.

So while I value the added dimension of a reporter’s experience to a story, I don’t necessarily need to read self-reinforcements of intellectual prowess or cool factor. After all, don’t we have enough personal profile options to share those on?

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Stefanie Botelho

Dangers of When a Brand is Defined By Its Figurehead

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 08/25/2011-12:31 PM


Software giant Apple is losing its figurehead, as Steve Jobs (pictured) announced his resignation as CEO yesterday. And as the company loses the man who serves as both its leader and a major part of its brand, people are starting to wonder what is fated for Apple, its software and its policies.

In a letter to Apple employees released Wednesday, Jobs tapped Tim Cook, current COO of Apple, as his successor. Jobs will act as board chairman and director at the company.

Jobs himself is followed by an almost cultish group dubbed “fanboys” in the media; supposedly, chants of “We love you, Steve!” are often heard at Apple events. His name inspires equal numbers of eye rolling, with the publishing industry largely at ends with Apple’s subscription terms revealed in February.

Most infamously, stipulations include publishers must share 30 percent of revenue from each digital purchase, and cannot encourage readers in-app to buy organically by providing a link to their own site. User demographics are also held by Apple, unless the user chooses to share info with the publisher by physically agreeing to do so.

According to several blogs featuring overly sentimental postings about Jobs’ departure, this change is not a surprise: Jobs has been on medical leave (believed to be caused by pancreatic cancer) for months, and has appeared at very few Apple events as of late.

After the announcement, Reuters reported Apple’s stock value fell seven percent. Here, we see while a company relying heavily on its leader to maintain the face of a brand works when things are going well, it can also prove to be problematic when they’re not.

Tina Brown’s arrival at Newsweek has led to severe criticism from the media, circling around its publicized redesign and recent covers. While both may have been criticized regardless, since the famed Brown leads the pub, judgment seems to be even harsher. According to ABC, paid subs are down 7 percent from first half 2010’s 1.52 million subs to first half 2011’s 1.41 million subs. 

The state of Wenner Media, publisher of Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Men’s Journal, comes under rabid speculation every time rumors of owner Jann Wenner’s estranged wife Jane threatening divorce circulate. While this would internally affect the business side of Wenner Media (as Jann borrowed money from Jane’s father to start Rolling Stone), it shouldn’t concern those who buy the magazines.

It will be interesting to see what happens as Apple moves forward with Cook as CEO. Though Jobs is still present, the iconic status he occupied as Apple leader is no longer. While publishers may hope this will mean some more lenience in policies, the most likely side effect is that Apple might lose some of its sway among cultish users. This may then lead to users giving products (including tablets) outside of Apple’s offerings a chance; which will ultimately give publishers back that 30 percent sub cut.

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Stefanie Botelho

How Scandal Became This Summer’s Meal Ticket

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 08/08/2011-15:08 PM


Since the news initially broke that British newspaper News of the World staff had continuously hacked into phone systems to scoop stories, the media is still rolling in controversy/pious/Twitter-ready tidbit glory. Legions of reporters and bloggers continue to offer up comment on the scandal; all the while sanctimoniously shaking their heads, “Who could ever do such a thing?”

While I believe the majority of my peers in the media industry stick to their journalistic guns (and I have to; if not, my own morality would be questionable by reporting on the industry), it’s hard to ignore some of the bigger implications of this media circus.

Last week, Vanity Fair announced the release of an e-book, Rupert Murdoch, The Master Mogul of Fleet Street, priced at $3.99 for the NOOK and the Kindle. The Guardian, a U.K. news source, is launching an e-singles line called “Guardian Shorts”, selling for $2.99 per book. The first title in the group? Phone Hacking: How The Guardian Broke the Story. The series is available on the Kindle, and is to hit iTunes soon.

And in comes the dollars, alongside SEO opportunities. The Twitter hashtag #notw (annotating shuttered News of the World) reigned as a “Trending Topic” for a substantial period of time on the social site. Subjects like shaving cream pie (thrown at Murdoch during his hearing at The House of Commons in London, resulting in Murdoch’s wife trying to sucker punch the shaving cream assailant); Wendi Deng (aforementioned sucker punching wife); and News Corp. all took turns sharing space in the Twitter sun. [Vanity Fair even produced a faux New York Post cover depicting the incident, pictured]

Many bloggers reposted and reshuffled the news, with some writers taking creative liberties on the subject matter. At Playboy’s “safe for work” website The Smoking Jacket, a recent blog post written by contributor Adam Tod Brown, “I’d Hack That: The Six Sexiest News Corp Hacking Scandal Victims”, was posted on July 25. Currently, the post has 81 likes via Facebook and 114 “Diggs”.

There is also the more disturbing Twitter trend of using demographics of the phone hacking victims to encourage click-throughs. In a case deemed deplorable due to the exploitation of victims’ privacy, using the most shocking details of the case to drive traffic to a web property feels a bit like exploitation as well. It is undoubtedly important to report the developments of a case such as this; but it may be unnecessary to tweet “Murdered 13-year-old girl’s voicemail hacked” to gain unique users.

In a messy scandal about messy reporting practices, if there is a lesson to be learned, it’s not only for Murdoch & co. to understand. As PR reps become more overbearing and candid comments are harder to dig up, reporters shouldn’t lose track of what this business is (supposedly) about: delivering news as cleanly, honestly and void of sensationalism as we can. By educating and not convincing, we as journalists allow readers to form their own opinion about unfolding events; perhaps the most valuable service a publication can provide.

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Stefanie Botelho

If Print Isn’t Dead, Why is Publishing Still in Trouble?

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 07/14/2011-13:33 PM

At the Yale Publishing Conference, taking place from July 10 to July 15 in New Haven, CT, big names in magazine publishing are in attendance, both as students and teachers.

Monday’s sessions began with Richard Foster, senior faculty fellow at Yale School of Management and managing partner with the Millbrook Management Group, LLC. He philosophized about the term “creative destruction”, focusing its various implications in correlation to the publishing world.

Subsequent sessions led by Michael Clinton, president and marketing/publishing director of Hearst; president of Dwell Media Michela O’Connor Abrams; and Glamour editor-in-chief Cynthia Leive ran the gamut of print, digital and staffing challenges.

But the biggest theme, prevalent in how speakers addressed the crowd and the audience pressed the presenters for immediate solutions to admittedly complex problems (the transition to digital, etc.), was not listed in the printed program.

It was fear.

And that current may be the largest issue the publishing industry is facing today: fear of the present, fear of the future, fear of the audience and, perhaps the most crippling, fear of change.

While not as easily palpable in the speakers (who each provided case study after case study of success within their companies), both lecturers and audience members rippled with it. Age jokes were dropped at a noticeable rate (O’Connor Abrams quipped she and only one other staffer are over 30) and tales of staff let go because of unwillingness to convert to the digital age (and assist in the bevy of products unrelated to actual print issues) were some of the most poignant of the day. The message was clear: get onboard or get out, because there are plenty of others to take your seat at the publishing table – many of them young enough to be crashing with Mom and Dad.

This, along with the residue of the receding economic downturn and ominous phrases like “Print is dead” and “The Web is dead,” seem to be the publishing world’s equivalent to The Rapture, an end-of-world event originally predicted for May 21, 2011.

Incidentally, I’m still here, along with a stack of glossy periodicals on my desk and Firefox open to Folio:’s website on my laptop.

As Yale fellow Foster pointed out, the corporate structure is steeped in the failure to let go, a step he labels “trading” – exchanging the old habits and products for new methods that may succeed. In the literary world, this act is deemed “killing your babies”.

So while this may seem the simplest of acts, the magazine publishing industry should begin the move forward by letting go of its fear. Print will most likely not die out, the whippersnappers crowded in the next cubicle are not going to overthrow the hierarchy (unless, of course, they need to, to which we should then all be grateful) and audiences have not outsmarted or outgrown the need for original, researched, well-delivered content. They know what they want, and now have the communication channels to express it.

For this, at least, the publishing world should be grateful – after all, checking out a Facebook page costs significantly less than outsourcing data collection to an analytics company.

Embracing these changes, instead of trying to define/isolate them while trading glory stories from the “Golden Age” of publishing, may be just what the industry needs to usher in the Platinum one.

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Stefanie Botelho

Magazines Expand Business Models With Marketing Services, E-Commerce…and Matchmaking

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 06/21/2011-13:58 PM


Personal ads, once a staple of the publishing industry, have gone to the wayside with the emergence of online dating sites, as well as classified ad prejudice (Craig’s List, anyone?).

Depiction of “Want” ads have suffered greatly in the media – Sleepless in Seattle may have gave lonely hearts hope of meeting blue-eyed strangers through media in the 90’s; but Lifetime’s recent Craig’s List Killer made-for-TV movie warns contemporary audiences against inter-Internet rendezvouses.

New York Magazine is attempting to bring the personal ad boom back into the mainstream of publishing by partnering with online dating site HowAboutWe.com. On NYmag.com, HowAboutWe.com is included in its editorial content, and “will feature Nymag.com’s top navigation”, according to a press statement. Located in the dating section, the site can be found at nymag.howaboutwe.com.

HowAboutWe.com users finish the phrase “How about we…” with an activity of their choosing, and other interested users can take them up on the suggested date if they decide to do so. The dating site was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, New York.

As publishers struggle to keep their audiences engaged and advertisers buying across a multitude of platforms (print, in app, on the Web), more and more often services outside of content are being developed to strengthen business models.

For readers of print and users of digital, publishers continue to find new ways to fulfill needs and/or wants of their audiences. E-commerce is gaining speed with large publishing companies like Hearst, offering readers the chance to buy what they see on the websites and in the apps of their favorite publication.

Commerce entering editorial is extending into the print world as well, with publications like Lucky Magazine offering “text to buy” options below select products.

Now with New York Magazine’s new partnership with HowAboutWe.com, looks as if users can not only purchase the season’s newest accessories through editorial content, but find a date to wear them to. It’ll be interesting to watch if this new faction of NYMag.com becomes “a lucrative source of revenue”, as they claimed their former back-of-the-book classified section used to be.

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Stefanie Botelho

Red Bull Magazine, “The Red Bulletin,” Priced at $4.99 a Pop

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 05/17/2011-12:26 PM


In an attempt to bring the success of the energy drink to their media branch, Red Bull is taking branded content to another level. The Red Bulletin, a monthly periodical of original content based on the “Red Bull lifestyle”, includes features on Red Bull-sponsored athletes, as well as other extreme sport and musical coverage.

The Red Bull Media House, a media division of the Red Bull brand, began The Red Bulletin in fall 2007 in Austria. The Bulletin was then launched in Germany, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Kuwait, New Zealand and Poland. Other offerings include a TV channel, a production studio, mobile content and a Red Bulletin iPad app.

The June 2011 issue marks the first American issue, with an editorial note penned by Red Bull founder and CEO Dietrich Mateschitz. The glossy mag will be distributed on newsstands the second week of every month, as well as on the third Sunday for select subscribers of major regional newspapers across the country.

According to CNBC.com, Red Bulletin has a circulation of 1.2 million; for some perspective on this number, ESPN The Magazine distributes only twice that amount. 12 issues of The Bulletin can be bought for a discounted price of $12.00.

Available for purchase at $4.99, The Red Bulletin has the same newsstand price as the In Style magazine currently lying on my desk.

Companies have long created magazines to reflect a lifestyle that their brand promotes. American Express has its own publishing arm; luxury brands Cartier and Hermes have given branded magazines a go. Denim line Acne releases Acne Paper biannually, with their Winter 2011 issue marking its 11th edition; a past issue of Acne Paper is priced at $15.00.

The table of contents begins, “Welcome to the world of Red Bull,” and listed sections include one called “Bullevard”. Each pagination is accompanied by the logo found on the energy drink’s can, and it appears on 64 of the 98 pages in the magazine.

Not every athlete, celebrity and musician seen on the pages of The Red Bulletin don a Red Bull logo, but enough do that the reader never forgets what company publishes the mag.

As for the magazine itself, the photography is beautiful; the action shots in particular work well on the page to illuminate the extreme lifestyle The Red Bulletin is attempting to capture. The content seems well-researched, though many of the closing paragraphs feel a bit clichéd.

Since brands began to cross into the content world, publishers have remained skeptical. The bar seems to be lower for quality content; after all the companies spearheading these magazines aren’t publishers, right?

However, if a reader is expected to pay the same price (or more) as they pay for other publications, it’s only fair that they expect the same standard of content. Besides the battle of carving out an audience as a new publication, The Red Bulletin is faced with weighted skepticism from its peers and potential readers weary of a magazine-length advertisement.

We’ll have to wait to see if The Red Bulletin will sprout “wiiiings”, or if it will set another failed example of a brand treading into territory it doesn’t fully understand.

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Stefanie Botelho

The Royal Wedding = A British Public Holiday + Astronomical Media Numbers

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 05/03/2011-10:07 AM

 

With all the hubbub about the “Royal Wedding” that took place on April 29th between Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton (the dresses, the guest list, the disappearing hairlines), some of the most astounding news was the numbers media sites covering the wedding saw on the big day.

PEOPLE.com reports 162 million page views on Friday the 29th, doubling its previous record of 76 million page views in one day.

PEOPLE followed the success of the wedding day with a Royal Wedding special collector’s issue that went on sale May 2.

The issue contains 105 ad pages out of the book’s total 220 pages, which marks the largest number of ad pages for a single issue of PEOPLE since 2007.

To display this issue, an estimated 15,000 Royal Wedding display bins were sent to PEOPLE retail and wholesale partners across the nation.

According to the Web site, CNN.com experienced 45 million page views by 3 p.m. EST (that’s 8 p.m. London time, where the wedding took place). This is up 45 percent from “prior four-Friday average through the same hour”.

Video usage on CNN.com was up 318 percent over the prior-four day average, with 7.7 million video starts occurring before 3 p.m. EST on April 29th.

Since the engagement announcement on November 16 2010, media attention to the royal nuptials had built at a frantic pace. After a highly publicized relationship (the British press nicknamed Middleton “Waity Katie” in reference to her and the prince’s nine year courtship), retailers are also getting in the Royal Wedding game, slinging Middleton dolls, collectible china, shot glasses and cardboard cut-outs features likenesses of the royal pair.

According to FOLIO:’s sister site, minOnline, USMagazine.com racked up three million pages views between April 29 and April 30. A reported half of this traffic was made up of visitors new to the site.

The week before the royal nuptials, USMagazine.com experienced the most traffic ever in site history.

TIME magazine also capitalized on the British wedding madness, releasing a special Royal Wedding issue on May 2. TIME’s regular issue was on newsstands April 29, and a third special issue on 9/11 terrorist Osama bin Laden’s death (with the fourth red “X” over a cover subject’s face in the magazine’s history) will be released on May 5.

This marks the first time in TIME’s run that three issues will be released within a one-week span.

Steering away from the more popular Middleton scrutiny, “the collection”, an international iPad-only magazine, released an issue themed, “Prince William: The British Monarchy’s Great Hope” last week.

Set to possibly release download numbers on May 6th, “the collection” offered free access to the “appazine” issue on the Royal Wedding day and the following Saturday. The issue is typically sold for $4.99 stateside.

Now that Kate and William are married (and bin Laden is buried at sea), what will the media fixate on next?

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