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TJ Raphael

Cosmo’s Chance With Joanna Coles

TJ Raphael - 09/06/2012-14:39 PM


Hearst Magazine’s resident PR guru, Jessica Kleiman, hit the nail on the head when prepping newly appointed Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles for an upcoming interview (see video below), asking the question on the minds of several media reporters:

“Given the direction you took Marie Claire, do you have plans to make Cosmo more sophisticated?”

This could be a seminal moment for Hearst Magazines, Cosmopolitan and Coles herself. The title has been slammed recently by Victoria Hearst, the granddaughter of Hearst Corp. founder William Randolph Hearst. According to a press statement released in June, Ms. Hearst partnered with founder Nicole Weider in an “Anti-Cosmo Mission.”

“About 11 years ago, I contacted Frank Bennack and the Board of the Hearst Corporation and told them that what they are publishing in Cosmopolitan magazine was pornographic. I had the support of two female psychologists and counselors who attest that this content hurts young girls. Like Nicole (Weider), I also asked that the magazine be sold only to adults 18 and older,” said Ms. Hearst in the June statement. “When I heard about Nicole’s campaign, I knew I needed to join in her mission to put Cosmopolitan in a bag and make sure that its pornographic content cannot be sold to minors!”

SEE ALSO: Post-Photoshop Crisis, Hearst Receives Shrink Wrap Demand

You would be hard pressed to find any issue of Cosmopolitan from recent memory whose content didn’t prominently center on sex. Cosmopolitan is so synonymous with sexual content that when reporting on the new Fifty Shades of Grey Magazine (which is based on erotic literature), the Huffington Post’s Julie Gerstenblatt said:

“This magazine is like Cosmo with fewer articles about sex.”

Cosmo's sex focus has worked well for it. It's the biggest selling beauty/fashion title on the newsstands. But that same formula focus could wear thin in the longer term (the magazine did slide 15 percent on the newsstand in the first half, after all), which may be an opportunity for Coles, who's Marie Claire was turned not only into a fashion staple, but a place where women can actually learn something other than “50 Kinky Sex Moves.”

Under Coles, the Marie Claire @Work content department was turned into a new polly-bagged quarterly magazine supplement, focused on tips and strategies for women juggling work and life, career advancement and employment challenges. The magazine also launched a series of career panel luncheons to engage women, and a mentorship program that will be executed around the country. LinkedIn was also being used to increase the buzz around Marie Claire @Work—the publication designed the Marie Claire Career Network on the social platform to give women an avenue for digital business networking and discussions.

Cosmo is a huge global brand empowering women,” Coles told Klieman.

Cosmo does empower women—to hop in bed. It is true that the brand covers other topics of interest, but its ace in the whole is always sex. Marie Claire, on the other hand, is more representative of a true general interest magazine, consistently exploring multiple aspects of women’s lives, and not just as a backdrop.

According to MagazineRadar, Marie Claire exceeded their previous all-time single issue ad-page record this September, earning the sixth spot of the top 10 women’s fashion magazines with the most increased ad-pages. Further, according to min box scores, Cosmopolitan posted ad-page losses for seven months when comparing 2011 to 2012 figures from February to September. On the other hand, Marie Claire saw two months of losses, and six months of growth over 10 percent when comparing the same periods.

This post should not imply that Coles should turn Cosmo into Marie Claire—they each need their own distinct voice for their own distinct audiences. It will be interesting, however, to see the direction the new editor-in-chief takes the brand. Historically, when a publication gets a new leader the first thing they think of is a redesign, an examination of content sections and the direction they wish to take a brand in order to receive appropriate recognition. With eyes watching the behemoth that is a legacy brand like Cosmopolitan, expect Coles to make her mark.

T.J. Raphael is an Associate Editor at FOLIO: Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @TJRaphael1.


TJ Raphael

FOLIO: Show Rebranded as MediaNext, Returns to New York in October

TJ Raphael - 07/19/2012-14:33 PM


For more than 35 years, magazine media professionals have come together to at the FOLIO: Show, the largest magazine industry event—three times larger than the next-closest event, and the only one that attracts the best and brightest from all sectors of the industry, whether consumer, b-to-b, association, city and regional, enthusiast and more. The FOLIO: Show is also the only event designed to provide industry education to all the disciplines, including editors, salespeople, audience developers, marketers, Web strategists and more.

In an effort to evolve with the changing media landscape and deliver more insights, innovative research and cutting-edge solutions to the magazine industry’s biggest challenges, FOLIO: is producing a completely rethought event this year: MediaNext.

The reinvented conference focuses on the transformation of digital media and the introduction of new platforms—mobile, tablets, social media, marketing services, events, e-commerce and more. But it’s about more than that: It’s about magazines, and where they fit in this emerging mix. It’s about running a successful magazine-media business in 2012 and beyond, whether your business is primarily print-dependent or whether your revenue is from a variety of sources. In fact, MediaNext was programmed with the understanding that new and emerging media forms already have much in common with traditional forms, and there is a new definition of the media industry that encompasses both. That’s what MediaNext is all about.

Leading industry experts will show you how to keep a finger on the pulse of this media revolution, helping you to master it all at MediaNext.

This event will still enable you to gain the critical intelligence and insight you need to succeed in the years ahead. With over 50 sessions, four industry-leader keynotes, four extended-length workshops, master classes featuring best-selling authors, microsessions, and peer-to-peer unsessions, you will get the education you need to thrive in this dynamic environment.  Not only do you choose the subject matter—but also the learning format that works best for you.
With 2,000+ expected attendees, speakers and exhibitors, MediaNext is the must-attend event for learning and seeking partnerships.  Join your peers and experience MediaNext, the top industry conference. MediaNext is the best place to learn exactly that—what’s next in media.

Check out the 2012 brochure here. To register, click here.

T.J. Raphael is the associate editor of FOLIO:'s sister publication and supplement, Audience Development magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @TJRaphael1.

TJ Raphael

Ideas For Growing B-To-B Audiences

TJ Raphael B2B - 04/26/2012-12:50 PM

Expanding the b-to-b audience is something all publishers in this demographic are trying to do—growing circulation beyond traditional bases is essential in 2012 and something Nick Cavnar, vice president of circulation for Hanley Wood Business Media, understands.

When looking at new media versus a qualified model, media professionals can see that the results provide somewhat of a schizophrenic audience model, Cavnar told an audience of about 30 at a recent meeting of the National Trade Circulation Foundation, Inc.

Print circulation sticks with the old rules, Cavnar said. The cost of print, paper and postage favors the highly qualified audience model, while new media focuses on new metrics of tracking what an audience views, opens, clicks and likes as a way to validate qualifications.

The question of breaking with the traditional, said Cavnar, is worth considering.

“Adding additional ‘expanded’ circulation by sending the digital edition to newsletter lists, event attendees and others normally means going to a broader list that isn’t as tightly qualified as the print circulation,” he tells AD. “Expanded circulation might include business groups outside of the core advertising market—smaller companies, distributors and manufacturers as well as end users. Expanded circulation may also show up as non-request sources in a BPA statement that’s always been 100 percent direct request, or might include 3-year dates.”

Cavnar is right. Looking beyond your traditional audience to target and convert newsletter recipients, trade show and conference attendees, and Web visitors as part of your qualified audience is an easy and effective way to expand reach. But, what about less obvious means of expansion, and not just with digital editions?

Young people in colleges and universities around the United States could be a perfect source to expand your b-to-b audience, capturing an entirely new generation of professionals while they are in the beginning stages of their careers. While converting new bases and young professionals can be an effective way to expand reach, there can be some issues associated with breaking from the norm.

“The ‘problem and concern’ here is whether sales people and advertisers will understand the added value of these broader audiences, when for so long they’ve focused only on very tightly qualified print circulation,” says Cavnar. “The challenge for publishers is to show that they are still delivering the tightly qualified core, but can offer additional broader coverage to the advertiser at very little or no additional cost, due to the lower cost of delivering the digital version.”

What about taking it a step further, beyond just the digital edition? A b-to-b magazine about construction, for instance, could contact college and university level architecture and design programs around the country and offer a subscription to students that could be incorporated into the course curriculum. Courting college professors could grow circulation--they could position a publication as a vital information source on the current market climate in a particular industry and secure new demographics for years to come.

Furthermore, if offering a subscription at cost, a reduced price subscription—maybe $100 a year—is considerably cheaper than the majority of academic textbooks and something the majority of students and educators would likely be open to. Take the New York Times as one example. While it isn't b-to-b, the paper offers journalism and communications students a discounted subscription, and the news reported in the publication is leveraged into classroom discussions and courses.

Whatever the avenue, the market is ever changing and looking beyond the traditional audience is not only an effective way to expand circulation, but vital to capturing overlooked bases of professionals.

T.J. Raphael is the Associate Editor of Audience Development Magazine. 

TJ Raphael

SOPA and Magazine Media

TJ Raphael Editorial - 01/18/2012-15:59 PM

In an attempt to protect copyrighted material, the U.S. Congress has been mulling a proposal to curb access to websites, search engine results and domain names, among other things, something that has seemingly outraged many in the digital community.

The bill, entitled the Stop Online Piracy Act [H.R. 3261], has so infuriated Wikipedia that it blacked out its site today. Google has also promoted the bill’s destruction, with its clever logo on its homepage blacked out for the remainder of the day and linked to a petition and fact sheet (pictured).

“The U.S. government could order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China,” writes the search engine on one of its pages. “Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results.”

So far, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, have already come out against the bill’s proposal, which is known in the Senate as the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) [S.968].

What would all this mean for our industry, though? When reached by this reporter, the MPA declined to comment. It seems that some type of measure would be supported by the organization, however, which recognizes “the significant impact and harm piracy has on copyright dependent industries like magazines, movies, music and clothing,” a statement from the MPA says.

Where SOPA and PIPA may really hurt our industry is with our advertisers—they could lose millions of dollars by intentionally or unintentionally providing services to “rogue sites.” While many news outlets provide original reporting that would be protected from this law, our advertisers have a stake in different kinds of online properties and may have long court battles ahead of them under the proposal, which could complicate relationships with other existing clients like magazines.

A rogue site is defined as any website that facilitates copyright infringement; one of the reasons Google and Wikipedia are so concerned. Since rogue is so broadly defined, several different digital properties could be at risk for violating the would-be laws--the language could sweep up innocent sites that are merely re-purposing content.

“[PIPA] authorizes the Attorney General to direct U.S. based third-parties, including Internet Service Providers, payment processors, online advertising network providers and search engines to take appropriate action to either prevent access to [a ‘rogue’] site, or cease doing business with it,” the statement from the MPA says. “While providing immunity to websites that sold a product that turned out to be counterfeit, PIPA would allow a copyright or trademark holder to ask a judge to compel Internet advertising agencies and financial firms (i.e. MasterCard) to discontinue processing payments or providing services to the rogue sites.”

In addition to possibly harming advertisers, some magazines are spending large sums to create web-exclusive shows with YouTube, which could be harmed in this case and possibly cause other hardships for brand extensions since sharing a video or other content on Facebook could fall under copyright infringement.

"Fighting online piracy is extremely important," writes David Drummond, Google's senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer. "We are investing a lot of time and money in that fight. Last year alone we acted on copyright take-down notices for more than 5 million webpages and invested more than $60 million in the fight against ads appearing on bad sites. And we think there is more that can be done here—like targeted and focused steps to cut off the money supply to foreign pirate sites. If you cut off the money flow, you cut the incentive to steal."

So while Google, Wikipedia and others go black today, the world will wait and so will the magazine industry. The White House has already issued a statement saying it will not sign such legislation if it is passed, which is not easing any woes as of yet.

TJ Raphael

What a Facebook IPO Could Mean For Publishers

TJ Raphael M and A and Finance - 12/01/2011-14:09 PM

As you probably already know, if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest country in the world, more than double the size of the United States, with more than 800 million active monthly users. News circulated across the globe Tuesday that the company is seeking $10 billion in its initial public offering [IPO]. This could have huge ramifications for the media industry.

If Facebook were able to raise the $10 billion for its initial public offering (personally, I don’t think it would be hard for them to do that), the total amount of the company’s value would be boosted to around $100 billion, with about $10 billion in shares backed by equity to be circulated through the corporate casino known as the stock market.

That number represents about four times what Google’s IPO was just 7 years ago.

This news is particularly valuable for the media industry—as the company goes public, there are more avenues for media companies themselves to get a piece of the medium that so much of their content is distributed through and where so many of their loyal consumers are waiting for them.

When a company enters into the public sphere, making internal changes becomes more difficult, something that could prove beneficial for professionals working at publications. Right now, it seems that every six to eight weeks Facebook rolls out new changes to its interface and format. With slower changes, media professionals can better study and adapt to the interface, allowing for optimized content distribution and consumer interaction.

While stricter limitations on changes could bode well for media, it could also cause the platform to become obsolete: the innovation and ingenuity that has made Facebook so popular could be stifled by the views of shareholders, causing users to migrate. While that seems unlikely, think of MySpace. When something more interesting, like Facebook, came along, users jumped ship.

Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine makes an excellent point in his most recent post on the subject.

“In addition to aggressively advancing monetization, stockholders could rail against the product’s evolution,” he writes. “Changes that disrupt user behavior and ask people to be more open might cause temporary stock price dips they don’t want. Instead, they could turn Facebook into Microsoft, slowing innovation and making it vulnerable to more agile competitors.”

One disruption Constine mentions, and this reporter remembers, is when the newsfeed feature was implemented in 2006. There was outcry from those that used the site, something that individuals now actively engage with. A new set of changes that are initially rejected by the 800 million (and growing) users could cause the market to take a big hit, and cause stock holders to scale back changes that may have been just what the public was waiting for, but didn’t know it.

TJ Raphael

At AMC, Magazines Scolded on Social Media Efforts

TJ Raphael Editorial - 10/06/2011-13:28 PM

As several hundred magazine executives gathered at MPA’s 2011 American Magazine Conference in New York to hear speakers dissect social media, tablets and e-commerce, Scott Galloway, New York University Professor of marketing and founder of L2 Digital Think Tank—authors of the Digital IQ Index—struck a nerve with his frank dressing down of publishers’ social media strategies.

“About 19 percent of our budgets are now going to digital,” he said to the audience. “But 40 percent of media consumption for those under 40 is digital based.”

Galloway took a stark tone with the crowd and at times took on a scolding demeanor when asserting that the magazine industry is doing itself a disservice by not aggressively tapping into the benefits of the digital space and in particular Facebook.

“The reason you’re having trouble making money is because you’re not relevant—profits are an indicator of relevance,” he said, adding, “Not a brand in here is managing capital allocation correctly in relation to Facebook.”

The professor said that Facebook is the number one medium in every market and that magazine professionals need to view the social media platform as a market place, citing statistics that reveal that 50 percent of people on Facebook make at least $50,000 a year and that 38 percent of all online referral traffic now originates from Facebook.

“The new young affluent—we’re no longer the target market—the new kids on the block want innovation from brands,” he said. “Right now, social media is the least expensive way to do that.”

Galloway turned to fashion company Burberry to make his point. The British based clothing company has over 8.6 million “likes” on Facebook, while the internationally recognized women’s magazine Cosmopolitan has only 1.1 million.

“How did a trench coat company get so far out ahead of you there?” he asked. “It’s somewhat ironic that brands are ahead of media companies. Burberry has spent millions of dollars on Facebook before it was cool and by our estimates 13 to 15 million people over the next few years will raise their hands and say I want a direct relationship with your brand. Once they get there, somewhere between one third and two thirds of people that subscribe to Vogue will already have a relationship with Burberry. Will they spend more,less or the same to advertise? The response around Facebook is fairly uninspired in this industry.”

Galloway added that the number one source of upstream traffic to Burberry is its Facebook page, meaning they can reduce their spending on Google Ad Words because they have a lower source of cost of traffic from Facebook.

“That’s where the money is in Internet media,” he said. “This is a seminal moment, go all in on new technology, it’s going to pay off.”

TJ Raphael

FMA Day: Can Apps Be Too Complicated?

TJ Raphael emedia and Technology - 09/29/2011-15:18 PM

At the 2011 Fulfillment Management Association [FMA] Day, keynote speaker Bob Sacks, who has held multiple roles within the publishing industry, told the industry professionals in attendance that the present is one of the best times in history to be a publisher.

“I believe we’re heading into the golden age of publishing and it will be fun and lucrative,” he said. “The publishing industry used to be about seeing distinct, finite finished magazines going out the door on a regular basis. Now there’s the new paradigm of a continuous array of news that may never be finished. What we do now is not what we did.”

Sacks says that publishers will see success through digital readers and that niche publications will be the future profiteers. Additionally, he reassured the audience that everything, in fact, has not changed in publishing.

“Over the next 10 years, one of the main effects of the great publishing realignment will be the deep rooted change experienced by the magazine industry from a primarily print oriented business to one where digital products will represent the largest share of a smaller periodical industry,” he said. “The industry is going digital and I see that as the land of opportunity for everyone in this room because they are new dollars. We just have to go out and get it—someone will, it might as well be you.”

Bob is right. Publishing in the digital space is not going to harm the industry, only enhance it. According to recent data, tablet shipments will increase to about 80 million next year, up from a predicted 53.5 million for 2011. In total, there were about 17.9 million media tablet shipments into sales channels worldwide last year.

At FMA Day I moderated a panel on apps. Jill Greto, director of consumer insights for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. and Peter Costanzo, director of digital content for F+W Media, were among the panelists slated to speak.

Greto brought the audience into several Martha Stewart branded apps including Boundless Beauty, Everyday Food and Martha Stewart Living. Costanzo introduced the audience to the Web Designer's Idea app, a breakout product connected with the company but not directly linked with a magazine.

During the Q+A portion of the panel someone asked about interface and complexity. Greto, during her presentation, had pointed out that Boundless Beauty, while a bit more complex in its usage due to the nature of its design (a reader must flip from landscape to portrait mode), was a huge hit with younger audiences—those that may have never interacted with the brand before.

I suggested that publishers looking to enter the tablet space look to the future—as Greto pointed out and I concur—as tablet devices become more mainstream, younger people will be using the devices more. Costanzo, on the other hand, argued that his students at New York University should be designing and implementing with grandparents in mind.

That seems foolish. In 5 years, the kids in high school will be entering college, likely with tablet devices since the cost of the product is much cheaper, even by today’s standards, than at least four years of academic textbooks. With the introduction of today’s Amazon Kindle Fire, the price of a tablet and the accessibility will be more widespread.

Additionally, while tablet users are predominantly older people, the lower cost will give access to larger demographics—the children that are 13-years-old now have been inundated with technology their entire little lives and can handle a more complicated interface.

The next generation of human beings will be completely surrounded by technology from the moment they are born—if the Apple commercials are right, doctors may be even using an iPad while they deliver said baby.

It’s not progressive to try to design for the simplest interface because in a few short years readers, who have been bombarded with technology, will be bored. I maintain the idea that a 21-year-old can likely pick up an iPad and learn how to use its basic features and functionalities in about 20 minutes, much quicker than a grandparent.

Don’t believe me? Take my grandparents, for example. They have called me and asked me how to turn on their computer’s monitor. My father can barely work his iPhone. My mother just learned to text. Design with the future in mind or design to drive them away.