With the continued softness in medical and pharmaceutical print advertising, Advanstarâs reorganization of its Healthcare Group around an online portal called ModernMedicine.com isnât 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 arenât adapting to the online opportunity may soon find themselves called out by the business side, and rightfully so.
âWeâve reduced the editorial count on our traditional books because the books have less frequency and fewer pages,â says Morris. âThe money is moving over to the Web side or the project side. Weâre trying to move people into those roles. I said to everybody, âWhatever youâre doing today is going to change in six months. You can be part of that change or Iâm going to change that.ââ
âI said to editors, âWe have a generation of doctors who grew up in the age of Google,â continues Morris. âWhen you Google something, you donât get a 1,000 word story on it. You get a thousand choices of two-line stories. Thatâs how people consume information today. We have to look at our journals that way and re-engineer it.â
The new editorial role isnât just about producing good content but also strategic planningâincluding vetting traditional partners and even vendors for content that is valuable to their audience. âWhen editors start to bring stuff up like partnerships and new opportunities in new sections, then good things are starting to happen and theyâre getting the message,â says Morris.
Recently, I had to hire a position I've never hired beforeâproject managerâsomeone 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 programâthat 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.
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!'"More here ...
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 preferenceâthose mysterious forces that make someone click on your Adwords ad instead of a lesser-known companyâs.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 audienceâitâs 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, donât 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. Youâll like the ROI.(Note: My source for the term âROMOâ told me he had heard it from Tech Targetâkudos are due to TT, or whoever invented it.)
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."
BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler's memo to staff yesterday regarding an extensive editorial reorganization at the magazine:
Colleagues:For the past three years, weâve been moving progressively toward integrating our print and digital operations â by increasing reportersâ 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 everyoneâs 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. Hereâs 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. Weâll phase in the new structure between now and Jan. 1. Letâs 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 weâll all be working together editorially regardless of delivery platform, weâll 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 â 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. Itâs exceedingly difficult to part with valued co-workers, and decisions to eliminate positions arenât 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. â Our total magazine readership was up 3% in the last MRI tally, to over 4.9 million, more than at any time since 1998; â Newsstand sales were up 25% in the latest report, while most of our competitors were down or flat; â 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, Iâm confident that it will build on these achievements and create exciting opportunities for the BusinessWeek team. Congratulations to all on their new assignments.
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:
And some laggards:
Digital magazines have all of the advantages of print magazines except they are online. Right?In addition, readers have instant random access to content. Everyone wins. Right?Wrong. Advertisers can lose. If a reader takes a random access skip over their ad, that ad is not seen.Although digital magazines may look more like a print magazine than a Web site, the random access issue asks us to sell ads more like website advertising.You will do better to sell positions in a digital magazine that offer adjacency to content that a reader may take a "random access" skip to visit. It is helpful to offer stats on which pages or sections get the most traffic. In short, use some of the same approaches you would use to sell positions on a Web site.More here âŠ
[Above, right: a slide from a PennWell presentation during the CM show.]
Customers who become conditioned to fast-moving, customizable, immediate digital experiences, eschewing human interaction. Advertisers who want to reach them. Magazines struggling connect both. Sound familiar?
Except itâs a story that, for once, has little to do with the Web. This week, Newport Communications announced that Roadstar, a magazine that serves the trucking industry, is folding. Among the reasons: truckersâlike the rest of Hyundai-driving Americaâare paying at the pump with credit cards, bypassing the truckstop sales clerks and thereby the kiosks where Roadstar is freely distributed.
Instead, Marty McClellan, Newport VP and Roadstarâs publisher, says the company is putting its resources behind something called âPump Topper,â a âfuel island advertising program" that carries messages to truckers âas they are fueling,â as well as its other trucking title, Heavy Duty Trucking. And, of course, the company is developing a trucking search engine for the Web.
More here ...
The latest round of media layoffs has even the New York Times worrying that "Muckraking Pays, Just Not in Profit":
Investigative reporting can expose corruption, create accountability and occasionally save lives, but it will never be a business unto itself. Reporters frequently spend months on various lines of inquiry, some of which do not pan out, and even when one does, it is not the kind of coverage that draws advertisers.
With all due respect to David Carr, and at the risk of seeming like a broken record, I've got to disagree. Four years ago, I made a commitment that 5280 would do more, not less, long-form investigative journalism. Since then, we've done work that, in my humble opinion, rivals the kinds of investigations that Carr praises in his Times essay:
All of this hasn't come cheap. To do this kind of work, we've had to more than triple our staff and increase our editorial budget by nearly $1 million per year. We've had to fight off a subpoena from the Defense Department and, in another case, sue the federal government when we discovered evidence that an order had gone out to destroy records we were seeking under a Freedom of Information Act inquiry.
But we've seen a tremendous return on our investment. And not just in the form of some very nice awards. In the last four years, 5280's paid subscriptions have grown by more than 50 percent, while our newsstand sales have grown by a similar amount. In that same time period we've more than doubled our ad revenue.
Now, I'll readily admit that our improved editorial product isn't the only reason for our growth. The magazine was already doing well, as is Denver itself, and we're blessed with a great sales and marketing team. But those very same sales reps would be the first to tell you that a great editorial product has made their jobs easier.
To be sure, 5280 is a small magazine in a relatively small city. But there's nothing about our business model that shouldn't be valid elsewhere. To sell ads, you've got to attract a worthwhile audience. To attract an audience, you've got to give them compelling content. All of which convinces me that good journalism can be good business.
Print designers are particular about quality. Paper type, color profiles, kerning, etc.; every detail counts in creating a polished final product. But there's one detail that doesn't make the difference it should.
Generally speaking, designers use TIFFs (containers for high resolution image files) when designing with photographs because the TIFF file format maintains the full quality of the image. JPEG is a file format that was created to compress images into significantly smaller file sizes in order to make them more flexible for things like use on the Internet. The difference in file size is substantial. For example, exporting a raw file taken on my digital camera as a TIFF created a 18 MB file; as a maximum size JPEG it was 2.6 MB.
The relationship between TIFF and JPEG is similar to that of a CD and an MP3. They're both reproductions and the quality difference is so slight that it's indiscernible. I would argue that unless you are making a poster-sized enlargement, a JPEG file is perfectly suitable for offset printing, provided that you follow a few guidelines:
1. Start with a high quality image. If the image you receive from the photographer isn't high enough resolution or quality, no file type can help you.
2. Be careful with your saving. JPEGs use lossy compression, and each time it's saved with the "save as" function in Photoshop, you lose quality. A good thing to watch for is the "JPEG Options" screen which asks you which quality level you want to save at. You should minimize the occurrences of this screen, and if it does occur, save at the maximum resolution. It can be helpful to maintain the original version of the file from the photographer in case something happens to your working copy.
3. If you have added text or vector objects to an image in Photoshop, donât use the JPEG format. TIFF and PSD files retain these objects sharply. JPEGs donât.
4. Don't expect transparency. If you have an image with a transparent cutout, a JPEG will not work for you. Try using a PSD file (which integrates well with InDesign) or an EPS.
Following these guidelines and using JPEGs instead of TIFFs where possible can make your layout files much less cumbersome to work with on an everyday basis, and much easier to export and share as well.
Read more JPEG myths and facts here ...
Paper price increases are painful. What do they mean for environmental publishing considerations? The good news is that being fiscally conservative with paper expenses can also be environmentally responsible with thoughtful planning.The simple explanation for the increases is that supply has constricted due to mill closings, mergers and acquisitions while manufacturing costs have gone up primarily due to increases in oil prices. Experts in the industry predict that the prices will stabilizing anytime in the next six to 18 monthsâlikely 18 months. The high paper prices provide an opportunity to assess paper use efficiency and find ways to reduce relative costs. These savings will last beyond the current market fluctuations and continue to be good for the environment.Let this be an evolution, not a revolution, by making changes strategically over time that add financial and environmental value to the magazine. Here is how mitigating current increases also helps protect the environment:
1. Reduce the basis weight. Lighter basis weight means more paper per hundred-weight, less fiber needed from forests, less fuel required for transportation, and less postage costs for mailing.2. Change from freesheet to groundwood or recycled paper.It takes 4.4 tons of wood to make one-ton of freesheet paper, and 2.2 tons of wood for groundwood paper. A switch to groundwood paper with recycled content doubles the paper yield and keeps more trees in the forest. (It takes 1.2 tons of recovered paper to make one-ton of recycled paper.)3. Reduce the trim size.A reduction of one-quarter or one-half inch in trim size can result in a four- to eight-percent cost savings while also reducing the amount of fiber need from forests.4. Rethink all paper options.Going down in paper grade in addition to basis weight and trim-size reductions will save on production costs in addition to reducing chemical use.5. Think geographically.Where does the virgin fiber and recovered paper come from for the magazine paper? Is the printer a few hundred miles or less from the paper mill? Strategize how to reduce the distance between these points in order to reduce costs and environmental impacts? Use the Chain of Custody document on the Magazine PAPER Project Web site to determine where all the fiber and pulp for the paper comes from. This can also help identify if fiber is sourced from areas of high conservation value. Then work with the magazineâs supply chain to identify ways to reduce transportation.6. Partner with the supply chain and build new relationships.Mills are working to do their best to ensure that their valued customers are able to get the paper that they need and weather these price increases. Magazines that worked with suppliers without trying to unreasonably squeeze lower prices from them when the market was down may reap some âpreferredâ status. Look at negotiating flatter price increases over several quarters, such as a flat five-percent increase on Jan 1 and another on June 1. If you have a good relationship with the mill and the prices donât increase that much they will sometimes give you a rebate on the difference. Even if they donât, knowing what price increases to expect is critical for creating and staying on budget.In paper market conditions such as these a thoughtful and strategic approach will assist magazines production departments in weathering the storm while also being able to maintain and even increase their practices that protect the environment.