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Matt Kinsman

Sales, Corporate Management Most Bullish on Print

Matt Kinsman Sales and Marketing - 02/14/2008-14:45 PM

The March issue of FOLIO: magazine will feature a Magazine Industry Job Report that looks at the state of working in the publishing industry, everything from hiring trends to salaries, hot jobs to those that are becoming obsolete, to salary growth over the last three years and expectations for the future.

As part of the research for this report, we did a short poll of FOLIO: readers asking how they feel about the future of print magazines. We cross-tabbed the results to break up responses by job discipline. (See below.)

As expected, the majority of 885 respondents think the print product will become increasingly nichified.

The more interesting responses include the gap between those who think print is vibrantly growing, and those who think print will cease to exist. A healthy amount of "corporate management" executives (41%) say magazines are as useful as ever, followed by "salespeople" (most of whom are still seeing much bigger commissions on print than e-media). Contrast that to the e-media and finance folks, where only seven percent of e-media and 10 percent of finance say print is as valuable as ever, and 20 percent of each of those two disciplines say it will cease to exist.

NAME "Useful as ever." "Nichified." "Cease to exist."
CORP. MANAGEMENT 41% 58% 1%
SALES 32% 67% 1%
DESIGN 30% 66% 4%
EDITORIAL 39% 59% 3%
PRODUCTION 29% 62% 10%
CIRCULATION 27% 68% 5%
EVENTS 18% 82% 0%
FINANCE 10% 70% 20%
E-MEDIA 7% 73% 20%
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Matt Kinsman

Edit '08: Content or Traffic? Bigger Budgets or Outsourcing?

Matt Kinsman Editorial - 02/04/2008-14:33 PM

News-media gossip site Gawker caused a stir at the beginning of 2008 when owner Nick Denton sent an internal memo saying that bloggers will be compensated for traffic generated, rather than for the number of posts they make. That set off a firestorm in the blogosphere, with pundits ranging from Valleywag (which published the memo) to Publishing 2.0's Scott Karp debating whether this is part of a trend in which editorial is being valued less for legitimate content and more for flashy, gossipy pieces that drive hits. The debate also focuses on whether a lot of "hits" are necessarily preferable to the "right" kind of traffic.

Still, this isn't a phenomenon limited to new media companies like Gawker. Ziff Davis Enterprise has focused on traffic-driving for a while. "From a journalism perspective, there was a new imperative to rationalize: Grow traffic," Mike Vizard, senior vice president and editorial director of Ziff Davis Enterprise told FOLIO: last year. "Our editors are always keeping an eye on the site traffic and if a story is hot, they'll understand and have five follow-ups." For ZDE, that includes sitting down every month to develop big-idea stories that are going to drive traffic-such as The Top 100 People In IT.

Meanwhile, facing a revenue fall and a cost crunch, publishers are splitting on the value of edit. Many are re-investing in editorial, especially as they try to build up a fledgling online business. Business-to-business publisher Hoyt Publishing is starting to pay editorial sales-type money. "The equation overall has shifted," says president Peter Hoyt. "Instead of paying the salespeople big money, now we're paying the editors and have kids on the phone selling." Consumer enthusiast publisher Gearhead Communications has doubled its edit budget for the last six months and plans to keep doubling it for the foreseeable future.

However, b-to-b media consultant Paul Conley thinks U.S. editorial jobs will increasingly be farmed out overseas, and he's backed up comments made for FOLIO:'s 2008 industry predictions by Peter Goldstone, president of Hanley Wood Business Media. "I predict at least one major b-to-b publisher will outsource some or all of its editorial overseas," Goldstone says. "The most likely scenario is that one of the dozens of magazines that have launched overseas editions in Vietnam, China, India and elsewhere will ask their overseas staff to take over U.S.-focused beats. Once a publisher comes to understand that the work being done overseas is as good as what's done in the home office, it's inevitable that he'll move more work offshore."

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Matt Kinsman

Maybe You Can Sell Digital Editions After All

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 01/10/2008-16:33 PM

Early versions of digital magazines got a bad rap, thanks to static facsimiles and awkward reader tools that did little to improve the reader experience over print. However, digital editions have been evolving, becoming more seamless with online and offering new opportunities with search and archiving.

They may even show some promise as revenue generators. In a recent Folio: Webinar called Digital Edition Revenue Generation, part of a three-part Digital University Series sponsored by NXTBook Media, three publishers talked about how they're seeing financial returns with digital editions. Hearst Electronics Group created a custom digital edition called Project Analog for one sponsor, while UK-based Graduate Prospects phased out its decades-old print product for digital-only and is profitable.

ITEM Publications' Interference Technology started launching digital editions for the Asian market, publishing Interference Technology Japan six times per year with a 5,000 circulation. All ads from the print product are featured in the book (paid or not) and advertisers pay a 12 percent optional premium of the print cost for the digital edition.

Putting all ads, paid or not, into the digital edition saves time for the art director, and lets non-paying advertisers know what they're missing (paying advertisers are included in search results and receive reader tracking results).

In 2007, ITEM Publications saw $180,000 in digital publishing revenue and $70,000 from optional digital ad revenues. "It's not huge but it's not a difficult sale to make and it comes with high margins," says publisher Graham Kilshaw.

To access the Webinar, go to http://www.foliomag.com/webinars/4038.

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Matt Kinsman

Business Side Calls Out Editorial on the Online Opportunity

Matt Kinsman Editorial - 12/14/2007-10:37 AM

With the continued softness in medical and pharmaceutical print advertising, Advanstar’s reorganization of its Healthcare Group around an online portal called ModernMedicine.com isn’t that much of a surprise.

But what does raise eyebrows is the blunt editorial critique of Advanstar Life Science Group executive president Steve Morris. And he may be right. Editors who aren’t adapting to the online opportunity may soon find themselves called out by the business side, and rightfully so.

“We’ve reduced the editorial count on our traditional books because the books have less frequency and fewer pages,” says Morris. “The money is moving over to the Web side or the project side. We’re trying to move people into those roles. I said to everybody, ‘Whatever you’re doing today is going to change in six months. You can be part of that change or I’m going to change that.’”

“I said to editors, “We have a generation of doctors who grew up in the age of Google,” continues Morris. “When you Google something, you don’t get a 1,000 word story on it. You get a thousand choices of two-line stories. That’s how people consume information today. We have to look at our journals that way and re-engineer it.”

The new editorial role isn’t just about producing good content but also strategic planning—including vetting traditional partners and even vendors for content that is valuable to their audience. “When editors start to bring stuff up like partnerships and new opportunities in new sections, then good things are starting to happen and they’re getting the message,” says Morris.

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Matt Kinsman

Job Hunting, Online-Style

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 12/06/2007-17:20 PM

Even the most technology-challenged journalist has at least a perfunctory Facebook or LinkedIn profile (my wife, who is eight years younger than me was shocked I had a Facebook account before her).

But knowing how to leverage these services is the key to avoiding becoming part of the digital white noise. Brad Kenney, associate editor at IndustryWeek and the new president of ASBPE's Cleveland chapter, is trying to spread journalistic online competencies through the association (read his blog at http://asbpecleveland.blogspot.com). Kenney advises that social network profiles should be treated almost like your company's Web site-make it relevant for search terms and keep it updated. "It's like coding a Web site," Kenney says. "Not only will that force you to think about your strengths but it will let you be searchable."

In his November/December president's letter, ASBPE head and BNA Tax & Accounting senior state tax law editor Steven Roll writes about his LinkedIn experience. "LinkedIn is searchable, so I included the words ‘state tax,' which relates to what I write about," says Roll. "Two weeks later, a recruiter from a big-four accounting firm called to see if I'd like to write about state issues for them. She wouldn't reveal her sources but I'm convinced she found my profile on LinkedIn."

It cuts both ways-not only should potential employers be considering your online presence, you should evaluate theirs, including LinkedIn and Facebook profiles of would-be managers. "You can tell about the quality of their site and if they've done any coding," says Kenney. "Do they have knowledge of how things should look on a Web site? Are they blog-enabled, do they have 21st-Century tools for disseminating information? Do they have bookmarking services? Not only is that important to me as a journalist but a strong Web presence bodes well for future revenue and in turn, long-term employment."

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Matt Kinsman

'Me First, Me First': Dealing with the Digital Logjam

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 11/29/2007-13:15 PM

Web site relaunches, job boards, social networks, Webinars, podcasts, videocasts, etc. Most magazine publishers are scrambling to ramp up their online offerings as fast as they can. However, in the rush to ramp up online, management and the major disciplines (sales, editorial and circulation) often take for granted that what’s being built can be done quickly and easily, and overload the online and IT staffs with “me first” requests. “People think online is easy, that standards and guidelines can be gotten around, that things can be done far quicker than they actually can with fewer people, none of which is true,” says the online manager at one b-to-b publisher. “Yes, you can launch a Web site easier and more cost-effectively than a new magazine but it still takes the same business practices behind the scenes—content planning, business planning, budgeting. A lot of those things tend to get ignored online."

Prioritize online projects according to the return, not what’s become someone’s pet project. Dave Newcorn, vice president of e-media at Summit Publishing, uses three factors to organize his workload: 1) is there real ROI attached; 2) Will it enable the editors to create multimedia content; and 3) Will it attract more subscribers either to the print magazine or newsletters, boosting audience development efforts? “If the answer is yes to any of those, it goes to the top of my list,” says Newcorn. “For example, we hired an editor recently who expressed an interest in editing her own podcasts. I dropped everything and scheduled IT time to install the software on her computer ASAP and arranged for training.”

The prominence of open source software is partly responsible for the misperceptions. "Everybody looks at open source and says ‘It’s free, just take it and up it up.’ No, nothing is free, you have to customize it and find a place to put it. There is a lot of stuff that goes along with it," says Rose Southard, IT director at Putman Media.

Blogs are a good example--blog software can be free and it can be put up quickly but customizing the blog platform to look like part of your Web site takes time. “Our sites consist of left-hand navigation, leader board at top, branding at top, and advertising on the right hand side,” says Southard. “When you go from reading an article to an editor’s blog, we want to convey that feeling that you’re still with us. It took several weeks to put that together. Once we did, it was easy and fast to reproduce both steps. But getting it done in the first place took quite a while. It was free software—-Wordpress. If you just grab it and install it, it looks like Wordpress, not Putman Media.”

Don’t get caught up in a game of tit-for-tat (they launch a job board, you launch a job board) with the competition. You should have mapped out your online strategy so you know what will work for you at that stage of your Web development.

If you start scrambling to add features just because the other guy has one, you’ll blow your budget and derail your strategy quickly. “One request that I really dislike is what I call ‘the sky is falling’ request in reaction to what our competitor is doing,” says Newcorn. “As in, “Dave, our competitors now have a flam-shooter on their site! We need one on our site too!’ While we need to be aware of what our competition is doing, we also need to have a little faith that the path we’ve chosen months ago is the correct one for our readers and advertisers. If it’s not, they—not our competition—will certainly be the first to let us know.”

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Matt Kinsman

Vendors Take Stage at ABM Top Management

Matt Kinsman B2B - 11/08/2007-03:00 AM

This year's ABM Top Management meeting featured some of the best content I've heard at the annual event (which I've been going to on and off since the late Nineties), thanks in large part to the refreshing openness of many of the speakers, particularly ABM chairman and Hanley Wood CEO Frank Anton and Hanley Wood Business Media president Peter Goldstone, who not only acknowledged the challenges they are facing in developing multimedia platforms but also offered detail on how they are addressing those challenges. Anton made the point that going digital won't be a cheap and easy fix and that publishers need to take the offensive. "Since 9/11, this is an industry that's played defense," Anton said, noting Hanley Wood has invested $2 million in personnel and another $5 million in Cap Ex for its online ramp-up.

However, ABM has featured an increasing number of vendors as speakers during both its Spring and Top Management meetings (at least 10 vendors appeared on panels this week). On one hand that makes sense-video and online events are new territory for most of the publishers in attendance and who better than the vendor to explain how they work? However, few of the vendors cited specific examples of how they're working with publishers or appeared on the same stage with their publishing clients. One session titled "Expanding Your Event Offerings Digitally" featured three vendors (John Grosshandler of eComXpo, Guy Piekarz of Unisfair and consultant Gogi Gupta), some of which also exhibited at the show, and just one publisher in Vincent Polito of Reed Exhibitions.

Google was on hand to deliver its "We come in peace" speech to b-to-b publishers, touting services such as AdSense video units, where partners can upload content to YouTube in an effort of "hypersyndication." "Users want your content but don't necessarily want to go to your site to get it," advised Google manager of publisher solutions Gavin Bishop. Publishers remained skeptical. "The guy from Google gave the same speech the guy from VerticalNet gave five years ago," quipped Randall-Reilly Publishing president and CEO Mike Reilly. "'They're going to take our business' but they can't take it because they don't have our relationships."

It's always the behind-the-scenes meetings and deals that are the real appeal of these types of association events but the sessions are a big part of it. Vendor content is useful and welcomed but not if it comes across as advertising. "I can appreciate them needing [to have vendors speak]," one publisher told me. "It's tough trying to pull off an event like this. But it's tough to find time to attend events like this and I want to know what publishers like me are doing."

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Matt Kinsman

Would These Editors Hire You?

Matt Kinsman Editorial - 09/20/2007-02:00 AM

Editors are faced with not only a demanding and ever-expanding list of must-have skill sets, but also a change in mindset. Two of the smartest editors we’ve spoken to over the last year—one from the consumer side, one from b-to-b—talk about what they’ll be looking for in editorial talent over the next few years.

Alfred Edmond, Editor-in-Chief, Black Enterprise

“At least three skills will be key across the board for people in editorial. First, we’ll need to be better than ever at spotting and developing talent, especially people with the right attitude and degree of intelligence and flexibility.  Print journalists will end up needing to be able to help develop a television show, content for a Web site, podcasts and so on. We need to hire people who are not only technically skilled and talented but people who are coachable, not stuck in what they were doing before but with an attitude that will allow them to adapt to something totally different.

Second, because we’re asked to do more with the same resources, it will be increasingly important for editors to have a general manager’s mentality. It’s like if the owner of a professional sports team tells you to accomplish this and that but without increasing the salary cap.

The last thing that gets harder and harder to do in this world of so-called multimedia convergence is that somebody in the organization has to maintain the integrity of the content. Despite all the cross-pollination and multiple uses and repurposing of content, the consumer has to trust that someone is the guardian of the audience, saying that this information is credible.

Wyatt Kash, Editor-in-Chief, GCN – Government Computer News

“There is a lot of pressure on editors and journalists to begin developing and delivering stories as a multi-media package for the web.  But in practice, the tools to edit and produce those packages require a lot more training and resources than most publishing houses are willing to support.  There’s a reason we don’t ask our writers to learn Quark or HTML—those skills are important in the production stage.  But when it comes to generating original or value-added content, I’d rather our writers commit their time and our resources to developing relationships with sources and honing their journalism and writing skills than learning how to put a Podcast together.

“With that said, I think our writers and editors absolutely need to keep abreast of the rapidly changing nature of information on the Internet.  They need to understand not only how information is being gathered, assembled and presented in new ways online, but also realize that those changes are impacting our readers’ experiences and expectations.  So the skills that will be important for me to see as I recruit talent will be the ability to use emerging online research, networking, and collaboration tools online as well as the ability to get answers to frank questions in person from the right sources in our market.”

 

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Matt Kinsman

Is Print Technology Replacing Production Knowledge?

Matt Kinsman Design and Production - 09/13/2007-02:00 AM

There's a pretty vocal segment of the publishing industry that says production technology has advanced to the point where problems such as color consistency, fonts and high res/low res shouldn't exist. Time Inc. maintains they don't experience any of the common problems associated with file management. Influential production consultant Bo Sacks has previously written, "Quality control has been reduced to a logarithmic equation. You can take the subjective out of the press. It not only can be done, it already has been done. Wake up and move on to more important issues."

Still, while the technological advancement is acknowledged, problems continue to exist with standards and human implementation of the technology. And perhaps an even bigger problem is the erosion of actual production knowledge, according to Biagio Lubrano, quality control manager at Conde Nast. While printers are being squeezed on costs by publishers, Lubrano contends that many are using new technology as an excuse to replace personnel-often the same personnel that knew how to rectify problems that a machine couldn't. "[The technology] has been oversold," says Lubrano. "The technology lets things go to the last minute, and that's creating more room for mistakes. There have been so many cuts that you're down to the raw mechanics of a specific task. The good knowledge of the task is gone. All the old craftsman are gone. Schools are putting out Web designers not page designers. Printers are buying technology to eliminate people. There's no training programs and printers are not teaching the basics. Technology will replace the knowledge and the loser is the customer."

Agree? Disagree? Lubrano will be one of the featured speakers at the Folio: Show on a panel called "The Road to Print Manufacturing Predictability" on Monday, Sept. 24, at 10:15am.

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Matt Kinsman

When Blogs Go Bad

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 03/06/2007-03:00 AM

Few examples of blogging gone wrong are as prominent as the recent case of Jim Zumbo, former hunting editor of Time Inc.’s Outdoor Life the second largest outdoor magazine in the U.S. In a February 16 blog post (since removed from the Outdoor Life site), Zumbo expressed his thoughts on so-called “assault rifles” by saying, “Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them…I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist rifles.’” The response was swift, and not just from the NRA. The post generated more than 2,000 comments, most of them negative. Hunting and shooting chat rooms buzzed all over the Internet. The post was made on a Friday evening, and by Sunday afternoon, Zumbo had posted an apology. Unfortunately for Zumbo, the damage was done. His TV show, “Jim Zumbo Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel, was put on permanent hiatus. His longtime corporate sponsor, Remington Arms Co., dropped their relationship with him. And Outdoor Life, pressured by advertisers and readers alike, accepted Zumbo’s resignation. Zumbo has since apologized, but of course that doesn’t have as much impact in the blogosphere as the original comments. Zumbo, a longtime hunting and outdoors personality, has had his career severely damaged. Outdoor Life has a black eye, both for being the conduit for comments perceived as insulting by its readers and its advertisers, but also for caving to the pressure and severing ties with one of its longtime editors so rapidly. With blogging now a de facto part of just about every editor’s job, expect this scenario to play itself in other publishing categories, again and again.

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Matt Kinsman

Stumbling Into Video

Matt Kinsman emedia and Technology - 02/13/2007-03:00 AM

Don’t have video on your site? That’s so 2005. Or at least, that’s the popular thinking. SI.com re-launched last month with a video-heavy design (including a video box moved to the top of the page) and CarandDriver.com recently debuted a program that lets viewers take a virtual test drive.

However, turning video into a sustainable business model is proving to be a challenge. Even Google has stumbled by briefly featuring an Allstate ad in a Charlie Rose clip that blogger Scott Karp called “as interruptive, untargeted and utterly old school as anything mass TV advertising has ever inflicted on viewers.”

Video may offer a temporary spike in both viewers and advertisers but video by itself won’t keep them coming back. “Video for the sake of video will yield very modest increases in new visitors but most b-to-b video isn’t very good,” says Paul Calento, vice president of marketing at InfoWorld.

Calento says there is a four step process to making multimedia work: 1) start with the Deliverable of what you want to sell—video, podcasts, mobile; 2) The Measurable, the ROI component; 3) The Nice To Have—things like co-marketing that add to scale of program and sometimes validate the price point; 4) The Gotta Have—such as incorporating a piece of an advertiser’s existing buy that they already understand into the multimedia program. “If you do that, you’re not selling $5,000 programs, you’re selling $50,000+ programs,” Calento says.

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Matt Kinsman

2007 Neal Awards: The Usual Suspects?

Matt Kinsman Design and Production - 01/30/2007-03:00 AM

American Business Media announced the finalists for its 2007 Jesse H. Neal Awards today. Considered the “Oscars” of business journalism, the Neal Awards, now entering its 53rd year, represent the best of b-to-b journalism.

So how come “the best” always seems to be the same handful of large publishers? A look at this year’s finalists reveals some familiar names: Nielsen Business Media (seven nominations), Hanley Wood (10 nominations), McGraw-Hill (eight nominations), Crain Communications (five nominations) and Advanstar Communications (12 nominations?!?). Some of the usual magazine standbys are here as well: Ziff Davis’ Baseline (Grand Neal Winner in 2005), Nielsen’s Editor & Publisher and Advanstar’s Medical Economics.

I’m not writing this because these aren’t worthy finalists (they are, and all do excellent work), nor because Folio: didn’t make the list (well, not entirely anyway). But aren’t there more b-to-b publishers doing notable work than the same old big guys?

Two years ago, when covering the 2005 Neal Awards, an attendee told us, “I’m not saying they’re not deserving but it’s getting to be like the Academy Awards. It would be nice to see some new blood up there.” Doesn’t seem like much has changed.

The Neal judges should be commended for including some fresh faces this year such as Phoenix Media Network’s Produce Business (nominated for Best-Staff Written Editorial or Opinion column) and James Informational Media’s Aggregates Manager (nominated for Best How-To Article or Subject-Related Series of How-To Articles). But it’s time more smaller b-to-b publishers start feeling the love.

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