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Dylan Stableford

Facebook vs. MySpace

Dylan Stableford emedia and Technology - 12/18/2007-09:51 AM

With all the talk of social networking in 2007-including the Beacon debacle-I've been following with interest the monthly traffic growth of Facebook and LinkedIn as they continue to chip away at MySpace's lead and market share.

It's a Web 2.0 pennant race!

Alongside the usual suspects, note that Flixster, the site that allows you to share movie ratings with friends, is having an enormous year.

AOL Hometown, down 22 percent versus November 2006, is not.

The latest unique visitors (in thousands), as provided by Nielsen Online.

Nielsen also provides the top 10 blogs in terms of traffic. The top five on this list-like Blogger and Wordpress-are not blogs, per se, but free blog hosting companies. The exception is TMZ.com, whose traffic was flat when compared to November 2006—the month, you'll recall, that Michael Richards' racist tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club was caught on tape and posted to TMZ.

 

UNIQUE AUDIENCE
6-Nov 7-Nov %CHNG
Myspace 53,596 57,390 7%
Facebook 11,634 21,975 89%
Classmates Online 12,236 11,466 -6%
Windows Live Spaces 8,824 9,504 8%
AOL Hometown 9,810 7,644 -22%
LinkedIn 1,576 5,443 245%
Club Penguin 2,224 4,398 98%
Reunion.com 4,743 4,085 -14%
AOL Community 6,035 3,455 -43%
Flixster 807 3,357 316%


UNIQUE AUDIENCE 6-Nov 7-Nov %CHNG
Blogger 22,562 33,638 49%
WordPress.com 2,937 12,043 310%
Six Apart TypePad 9,065 11,027 22%
TMZ.com 8,981 8,865 -1%
LiveJournal 3,662 3,422 -7%
Thatsfit 1,324 2,640 99%
Gadling 683 2,425 255%
Engadget 1,121 2,387 113%
Xanga.com 4,221 2,283 -46%
Gizmodo 1,078 2,101 95%

 

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Bill Mickey

Time Warner’s Break-Up Man?

Bill Mickey M and A and Finance - 12/17/2007-17:20 PM

The New York Times reports that Jeffrey Bewkes [right], who takes over as Time Warner CEO in January, has "quietly" hired Douglas Shapiro to head up investor relations. Shapiro was formerly an MD and research analyst for Banc of America Securities and joined Time Warner a month ago.

Coincidentally or not, a February report by Shapiro on Time Warner had a buy recommendation on the stock at $25 a share because "we think there is a chance it pursues a restructuring eventually, including possibly divesting publishing or AOL, or even a full breakup of the company into its four logical components." That would include Time Inc., presumably.

If Bewkes eventually does take Shapiro's advice, here's what a spun-off Time Inc. might look like.

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Dylan Stableford

Digging Through the Now-Free New York Times Archive

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/17/2007-14:07 PM

Inspired by a pair of archive diggers in other industries, I recently took a spin through the New York Times now-free online archive. (NOTE: It's not entirely free; see comments below.)

Armed with search terms like "magazine" (81,099 results since 1981), "Internet" and "Graydon Carter," here are a selection of results—some dated, others oddly prescient:

January 1, 1981: Earliest result in archive for "magazine."

Mr. Shafir also came under fire when he defended assigning a plainclothesman caught taping a closed news briefing given by the ministry's Police Division. The taping was said to be for a police magazine.

July 1, 1981: The return of Vanity Fair.

ADVERTISING; Vanity Fair's Return Set

For the last 45 years, the only sign of Vanity Fair magazine, the sophisticated darling of the Roaring Twenties, was the monthly notation on the spine of Vogue that said: ''Vogue (Incorporating Vanity Fair).''

It was the Condé Nast Publications' way of protecting its copyright against the day it might resurrect Vanity Fair.

Now, following the success of its new Self magazine, the company says the day has come, and that the magazine of ''wit and critical intelligence'' that sparkled for 22 years before dying in the cold of the Depression, will return as a monthly in January 1983.

The initial circulation of the new Vanity Fair has been set at 250,000. The cover price will be $2.50. No publisher has been selected yet but there is an editor in chief, Richard Locke, currently deputy editor of The New York Times Book Review.

January 31, 1981: "Falwell Wins Court Curb On Penthouse Distribution"

Federal Judge James C. Turk today prohibited Penthouse magazine from distributing its March issue at the request of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of Moral Majority, who says a Penthouse interview with him was obtained by deceit.

September 8, 1984: "Anna Wintour Is Wed To a Child Psychiatrist"

Anna Wintour, creative director at Vogue magazine, was married yesterday to Dr. David Shaffer, chief of the child psychiatry department at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Judge Elliott Wilk of New York City Civil Court performed the ceremony at the couple's Manhattan home.

The bride, who has retained her name, is a daughter of Elinor Wintour and Charles Wintour of London. She was formerly a senior editor at New York magazine and deputy fashion editor at Harper's & Queen magazine in London. She attended Queen College in London.

August 15, 1987: "WINTOUR LEAVING BRITISH VOGUE FOR HOUSE & GARDEN"

Anna Wintour, the editor who changed British Vogue from a quirky, insular fashion magazine to a slicker international publication, is coming back to New York to become editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. She starts Sept. 9. ''I've missed New York terribly,'' Miss Wintour said yesterday in a telephone interview from London.

Anna Wintour, the editor who changed British Vogue from a quirky, insular fashion magazine to a slicker international publication, is coming back to New York to become editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. She starts Sept. 9. ''I've missed New York terribly,'' Miss Wintour said yesterday in a telephone interview from London. ''I'm enormously looking forward to coming back.'' Her new job is not her only cause for celebration. Two weeks ago, Miss Wintour, who is married to Dr. David Shaffer of New York City, gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Kate.

November 2, 1987: First appearance of Spy magazine.

Honing the Rapier to Skewer Yuppies

First came the horror stories of young stockbrokers too poor or shaken to order radicchio and warm goat cheese salads at their favorite track-lighted restaurants. Then came the jokes: What's the difference between a 28-year-old arbitrager and a pigeon? At least the pigeon can still make a deposit on a BMW.

By now, it seems, it is open season on yuppies in New York City. (For camouflage, some are rumored to be scratching the Ferragamo signatures from their shoes.) Recently, some of the more trenchant observers of the New York scene were invited to indulge in a little yuppie-bashing. They seemed eager to oblige.

''It's fun to look into their eyes in the subways,'' said E. Graydon Carter, co-editor of Spy magazine, which has made just about every identifiable group in the city an object of its biting sarcasm. ''It's nice to see the overdogs getting their ears clipped a bit.''

April 17, 1990: "Lack of Ads Kills 7 Days Magazine"

Just two years after it was started with great fanfare, 7 Days magazine has ceased publishing.

In a tense meeting yesterday at the weekly's newly renovated offices in lower Manhattan, the publication's owner, Leonard N. Stern, told the staff that even though 7 Days covered New York City's social and political happenings in a ''stylish and provocative'' way, it could not generate the advertising support it needed to survive.

October 22, 1990: "Media Market Languishes as Buyers Disappear"

July 13, 1992: "Vanity Fair Is Hot Property, But Profit Is Open Question"

Vanity Fair may be the hottest magazine on the market, but does it make money? For all that has been written about the monthly magazine that Tina Brown led to prominence before being named editor of The New Yorker, almost nothing has been said about its profitability.

January 25, 1993: "Vanity Fair Is Doing Nicely, But Out of the Spotlight"

February 9, 1994: "Spy Magazine Can't Find Buyer, and Closes"

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Paul Conley

Will 2008 Be an Awful Year for B2B Publishers?

Paul Conley B2B - 12/14/2007-12:16 PM

I'm worried that 2008 is going to be an awful year for B2B publishing.
I don't have any data to back up this fear. What I do have is a sense that something is about to go wrong.

In the past few weeks I've spoken with a number of B2B editors, sales people and publishers. And each of them also seems to be worried. Certainly there is a widespread and justified concern that our print products will continue to face challenges. And certainly more of them will fold in 2008. But that is old news, and not particularly interesting. As my friend Rex said, "every year is a magazine shake-out year."

So what's different now?

It seems to me that the rise of online has led to unreasonable expectations. The lust of investors, the demands for growth, the need to justify ourselves to the people who control the purse strings are pushing us into a new era of preposterousness. Everywhere I go I meet people with revenue targets that seem delusional.

There's probably not another person in B2B publishing who has championed Web journalism more than I. But my love of new media is born of my love of all media. Online storytelling excites me. Just like other forms of storytelling do. The fact that new media has also made money pleases me, but it's not why I love it. Cash flow doesn't stir my soul.

But cash flow does stir many a soul in publishing. And in some cases, it warps them.

Here's what I see happening, and why I'm worried about 2008:

1. Amid a credit crunch and suggestions of recession, online advertising is likely to contract. But no one in B2B seems to be revising their online growth numbers downward. Rather, the growth numbers I'm hearing are higher than in 2007.
2. When pressure for revenue growth builds, many
folks in B2B behave badly
.
3. The most exciting thing about new media has been the growth of new media. Every established publisher faced more online competitors in 2007 than in 2006. I expect that will continue.
4. The business model currently in fashion in B2B publishing isn't built to withstand a slowdown in online advertising. Nearly everyone is leveraged to the hilt. Nearly everyone has already cut everything that can be cut.
5. I don't believe that B2B is prepared for whatever the next big thing may be.

I'm not suggesting that it's time to panic. I am suggesting it's time to look long and hard at what we are capable of doing. How much can we reasonably expect to grow? How realistic is it to expect the online advertising market to continue to expand? How can we survive a downturn and meet the debt payments? What can we reasonably expect from 2008?

(For more on this subject, check out what my friend Paul says about B2B in Asia. I think he's a little worried too.)

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Jandos Rothstein

The Opposite of an In-Flight Magazine?

Jandos Rothstein Design and Production - 12/14/2007-11:30 AM

Every once in a while you come across a magazine so specialized that it just takes your breath away—how wonderful when it’s a consumer title to boot.

Airports of the World, which sits on the old stump at the crossroad of airplane and architecture geekdom, is one such glossy, which I couldn’t bring myself to buy but photographed with my cell phone at B. Dalton’s. To me, the British magazine promises all the excitement of a 14-hour layover, and very nearly delivers it, with sleepy-time articles and layouts as constipated as you’d be after three consecutive concourse meals, but clearly someone is reading it and more power to them. Airports of the World is this week’s proof certain that magazines are alive and well.

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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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Andy Cohn

New Magazine Skillset: Sourcing Raincoats in Africa

Andy Cohn Consumer - 12/14/2007-10:20 AM

Recently, I had to hire a position I've never hired before—project manager—someone with skills to do just about anything. This includes anything from clearing music, to sourcing raincoats in Africa, from finding underground rock venues in Baltimore to overseeing and managing the creation of a custom micro-site.

The print industry has been turned on its head and, as most of us know, publishers/magazines now have to deliver way more than the good old-fashioned ad page schedule and accompanying cookie-cutter value-added program—that just won't cut it any longer.

Over the past few years the entire game has changed and the only way to survive is to adapt or be another FOLIO: headline about another folded magazine. It's a change that I find incredible and has opened up an infinite channel of opportunity to actually work with brand partners to create exciting new content, new formats of distribution, and more ways of touching our readers/their consumer.

I have a feeling that traditional magazine infrastructures and mastheads will continue their metamorphosis to mirror these changes.

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Dylan Stableford

Did 'Blackberrying' Kill Blueprint?

Dylan Stableford Consumer - 12/13/2007-15:24 PM

To most media watchers, when a magazine folds, it's always fun (if evil) to see how the parent company and its executives spin it ("We're shifting focus to the Web, y'all!" a familiar refrain). When a Martha Stewart magazine folds, it's even more fun.

Yesterday, the diva of all media gave her television show's studio audience her pie-baked take on Blueprint two days after its shuttering:

"The world has changed. By blogging, they get information. By texting. By BlackBerrying. By surfing the Internet. Even using their cell phones to retrieve information on the go! So to keep in step with this very dynamic Blueprint audience, we've decided to change the Blueprint format from just the magazine, fusing it into a new group of ideas."

WWD adds: "She deftly avoided any hint of a retreat, saying simply that the company had 'changed Blueprint's format' to live on as a blog and a 'featured entity' for Weddings. As for the magazines spread out in front of her, Stewart said cheerfully: 'These issues just might become real collectors' items!'"

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Ted Bahr

'ROMO': Better ROI for Marketers

Ted Bahr Sales and Marketing - 12/13/2007-12:11 PM

Several days ago I wrote about the desire for marketers to distill their art down to a science in the crucible of online marketing metrics. In it, I suggested publishers ask questions and flesh out whether your client is really doing the work to analyze the effectiveness of their online marketing or whether they were just using online because it could Cover Their Ass ("CTA") if called upon to prove ROI.

So, now what?

Suggest that there are other metrics beyond ROI that they should consider using. The term I heard a few weeks ago was ROMO, or, Return on Marketing Objective. This has broader application than ROI but it both encourages measurement as well as the idea that strict return on investment may not have to be the ONLY thing one should evaluate. So you can begin to discuss what other sort of marketing objectives one might have and how to measure them. For example, brand awareness and buyer preference–those mysterious forces that make someone click on your Adwords ad instead of a lesser-known company’s.

Why not suggest print (oh there I go again) to raise awareness and preference using a pre-campaign and post-campaign study to measure the improvement? And then analyze changes in click-thrus, click-through rates and conversion rates of online efforts during the campaign (across the same audience–it’s called integrated marketing). Who says you cannot measure this?

We had an account that ran regular e-newsletter sponsorships. In the middle of that two-year run of online advertising, they ran some print: full and half pages, 17 times across a 22-issue span (we are 24 a year). The marketing objective was to try and increase awareness five percentage points. While they were running the print ads, they averaged 155 online leads. During the period before and after the print, they averaged 61 leads. The increase lowered the cost per lead even after factoring in the entire cost of the print advertising. That means the nine point increase in awareness they achieved over the period was in effect free. They achieved both a ROMO and ROI.

That is obviously a showcase example and your mileage may vary. But to summarize, don’t get put off by ROI. Suggest ROMO as an equally valuable metric. And then figure out how to measure that ROMO, with awareness and brand preference studies. You’ll like the ROI.

(Note: My source for the term “ROMO” told me he had heard it from Tech Target–kudos are due to TT, or whoever invented it.)

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Bill Mickey

PGA Deal ‘A Fabulous Buy,’ Says Observer

Bill Mickey M and A and Finance - 12/13/2007-10:05 AM

An e-mail from an "industry observer" on yesterday's purchase of Publishing Group of America by Bain Capital Partners and Shamrock Capital Growth Fund:

"I think this is potentially a fabulous buy for these two investor groups. PGA is a group that has successfully launched two huge winners. Controlled circ so the inserts are force fed. Originally designed as the "Parade Magazine" for the weekly and small daily newspaper industry. Good editorial products. And with their circ base, a strong buy for national advertisers-especially those who want to penetrate the rural and semi-suburban markets. This is not an Internet play and probably never will be. Makes me wonder why folks like Meredith have not tried to duplicate this by teaming up with the major newspaper companies, like Gannett, MediaNews, Gatehouse, etc. to produce special interest magazine inserts. These vehicles do not lend themselves to selling local ads but they do enhance the editorial quality of the local newspaper and do provide a higher level content than most local papers can afford to produce. I have not read what they paid. I would guess a pretty penny."

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Dylan Stableford

BusinessWeek Reorganization: Editor Stephen Adler's Memo

Dylan Stableford Editorial - 12/13/2007-01:13 AM

BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler's memo to staff yesterday regarding an extensive editorial reorganization at the magazine:

Colleagues:

For the past three years, we’ve been moving progressively toward integrating our print and digital operations – by increasing reporters’ contributions to Businessweek.com, combining our overseas bureaus and copy-desk teams, and seating together everyone within a given coverage area. Today we complete this vital transformation by creating a single editorial organization for BusinessWeek. The new structure will enable us to collaborate more effectively, take greater advantage of everyone’s abilities, learn new skills, and serve our readers and Web users better.

Under this new structure, one chief editor will supervise all work in print and online in a particular coverage area. Each chief will report jointly to Executive Editors John Byrne and Ellen Pollock, both of whom will continue to report to me. Here’s the lineup:

News Chief: Brian Bremner

Finance/Personal Finance Chief: Frank Comes

Small Business Chief: Jim Ellis

Tech Chief: Peter Elstrom

Science Chief: Neil Gross

Corporations/Workplace Chief: Mary Kuntz

Innovation Chief: Bruce Nussbaum

Global and Policy Chief: Chris Power

The chief editors will get in touch with everyone who will work within their groups later today or tomorrow. We’ll phase in the new structure between now and Jan. 1. Let’s plan on a staff meeting for early January to discuss all this further.

In other new assignments springing from this reorganization, Dan Beucke will become BusinessWeek.com News Director, reporting to Brian Bremner; and Suzanne Woolley will become Senior Editor for Personal Finance, reporting to Frank Comes.

While we’ll all be working together editorially regardless of delivery platform, we’ll continue to sweat the production details that enable us to create both a topflight magazine and a first-rate Web site. Recognizing the special skills required to excel in these two very different media, I am appointing Ciro Scotti as managing editor of the magazine and Martin Keohan as managing editor of the Web site to ensure that we preserve the highest possible quality as we produce each product – and that we meet our various deadlines.

Ciro joined BusinessWeek in 1978, after reporting stints at daily newspapers. Since 2005, he has been an assistant managing editor, deftly overseeing production of the magazine, writing the very best cover headlines, and casting a sharp editorial eye over all our copy. Previously, he was a senior editor, responsible for the copy desk and for government and sports-business coverage. Ciro will continue to report to Ellen Pollock.

Since 2003, Martin has served as director of editorial operations for BusinessWeek.com, skillfully ensuring collaboration and efficiency among the news and channel editors, copy desk, art department, production, and technology. Prior to his role with BusinessWeek.com, Martin served as editorial director for BusinessWeek Events, where he created the BW50 Forum and the CEO Summit Series. Martin will continue to report to John Byrne.

Unfortunately, in connection with the reorganization, a small number of our editorial colleagues will be leaving BusinessWeek. It’s exceedingly difficult to part with valued co-workers, and decisions to eliminate positions aren’t made lightly. I want to thank those who are leaving for all their good work and wish them well in new endeavors.

Despite the challenges of the past few years, our journalism has been extraordinarily strong, and both readers and online users clearly have taken notice.

– Our total magazine readership was up 3% in the last MRI tally, to over 4.9 million, more than at any time since 1998;

– Newsstand sales were up 25% in the latest report, while most of our competitors were down or flat;

– We achieved a new online usage record in November with 64.7 million page views.

As our new organization takes shape over the next couple of weeks, I’m confident that it will build on these achievements and create exciting opportunities for the BusinessWeek team. Congratulations to all on their new assignments.

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Henry Donahue

The Magazine Leaders and Laggards of Online Video

Henry Donahue emedia and Technology - 12/12/2007-12:24 PM

I was recently wading through the innards of Times business section when I came across this item:

"Video sites need to draw a minimum of 50,000 views a month before getting serious interest from advertisers, Dina Kaplan, a founder of the video-sharing site Blip.tv, told Daisy Whitney of TVWeek."

Inspired, I took a brief, unscientific survey of magazine Web sites and YouTube channels to try to figure out which monthly magazines are gaining online video traction.

Here are some leaders:

  • Maxim: Never mind the whole site, the average individual Maxim video probably gets more than 50,000 page views. And most videos on their proprietary player start with a 30-second pre-roll from an advertiser like Zune or Sony Playstation.
  • Men's Health: Men's Health is a good example of fitting a broad content offering into a standard (Brightcove) technology platform. They also have short, unobtrusive pre-roll advertising, in this case from Acura.
  • Seventeen: Seventeen.com's "Seventeen TV - Style Stars" is an effective use of video from their photo shoots presented via Hearst's Maven-based video player. Like the two sites above, they also appeared to have successfully sold video pre-roll ads.
  • Vogue/Style.com: The Conde Nast fashion site, powered by Feed Room, makes great use of fashion show video that complements and amplifies the content from the magazines, with 15 and 30 second video pre-roll to go with it.

And some laggards:

  • Vanity Fair: Vanity Fair also uses mostly video shot at various photo shoots. There are also a few interviews that relate back to content from the monthly issues. The overall impression here though is that the magazine is king and the internet video an afterthought.
  • Reader's Digest: The RD.com video gallery (Brightcove here again) links to a user-generated funny video contest. I thought that the winners ("Sassy Too") were adorable, but apparently advertisers do not.
  • Better Homes & Gardens: BHG.com's Better.TV (yet another Brightcove implementation) has the editorial feel of your local new station's morning show. Video advertising is sparse.
  • Southern Living: I actually love this magazine (my mom is a subscriber), but I honestly don't think they have any video on their Web site.
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