More people interact with business newspaper The Financial Times through social media than directly with the brand, according to a recent infographic released by the publication.
In late July, The Financial Times‚Äô digital subscribers grew to about 300,000 paying readers, an increase of about 31 percent when compared to the same time in 2011, with the publication‚Äôs total circulation increasing to almost 600,000.
Meanwhile, the FT social community reaches 3.9 million people‚ÄĒ2.2 million on Twitter, 1.3 million on Google+, 430,000 on Facebook and a surprising 18,000 on LinkedIn. To put this into perspective, there are about 500 percent more people interacting with the brand on social media than there are paying for its content.
News, analysis and opinion pieces are what FT readers want from the brand on social media, although when on Facebook, these consumers also like to see offers or competitions.
According to the FT, about 20 percent of its traffic in the last six months came from social media, a medium that ‚Äúis growing faster than every other traffic source at FT.com. The volume of visits to FT.com driven by social media is at the highest level ever.‚ÄĚ
What do these numbers mean? According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center‚Äôs Internet and American Life Project, 66 percent of online adults use Facebook; 20 percent uses LinkedIn and 16 percent use Twitter. About 83 percent of adults aged 18-29 use Facebook, with the second highest group being 30-49-year-olds at 72 percent.
FT readers are on average 41 years old. However, based on the data from Pew, the majority of its social audience is likely a younger demographic than its typical subscriber (digital or otherwise)‚ÄĒa group that is not only coveted for advertisers, but likely enticing for its future growth. Young adults are less likely to pay for content, though they‚Äôre more likely to share it.
The puzzle for The Financial Times to solve will be the conversion of their young social media followers into paying subscribers.
T.J. Raphael is a FOLIO: magazine Associate Editor. Follow her on Twitter.
Not so long ago, magazine and newspaper editors knew exactly what they were looking for when hiring young journalists. Certain jobs called for certain skills: Reporters had to report, researchers had to research, designers had to design. ¬†These days, things are more complicated. Most of the new jobs in journalism are on the digital side, where a broader and somewhat different set of skills is required than we print hires possessed a generation or two ago. What editors need now is a new breed of journalist.¬†Over the last few years at The Atlantic, I‚Äôve played a part in hiring several dozen young digital journalists‚ÄĒinto new jobs, thanks to our web expansion, or into open slots created by departing employees. (We have, of course, brought on lots of experienced journalists, too.) What we‚Äôre looking for, I‚Äôve come to realize, is people who can do a bit of everything:¬†report and write stories; write headlines and deks; select and crop photos; fact check and copy edit the work of others; make charts and graphs; oversee social media; manage outside writers. (And hey, can you do some coding?)¬†The upshot: Today, everyone is an editor-in-chief.¬†This transition from vertical job descriptions to horizontal job descriptions is perhaps the most profound change in newsrooms that are full of change. I can‚Äôt say whether this is a sign of trouble or triumph for journalism. Probably both. But it is definitely a matter of fact.¬†As an industry, we‚Äôve come to the point where we are asking a lot of relatively inexperienced twentysomethings, perhaps too much. The range of duties, combined with the need for speed, can lead to mistakes. But my sense is that there‚Äôs no going back. The new platforms and the new business environment demand a shift from more genteel times. The good news is that as much as we expect of these new hires, it‚Äôs been my experience that they can do the work.¬†There‚Äôs a surprising amount of talent and energy and sophistication out there.¬†Finding this talent marries traditional recruiting methods with an eye toward the new realities. On the traditional side, it still pays to cast a wide net, even if that means sifting through more than a hundred resumes for every opening. And we‚Äôre still looking at customary markers of excellence: success in past jobs, intellectual curiosity, dynamic thinking.¬†But the new world prizes other skills, too. The best hires possess a kind of creativity and entrepreneurialism that my peers and I surely didn‚Äôt have at that age. Today‚Äôs young web journalists are learning to frame and write stories in innovative ways. And as smart at they are, they‚Äôre also playful, ready to bring some fun to the game. We also look for a candidate‚Äôs ability to make lateral connections across topics. In interviewing business writers, we might ask about tax policy and retail trends but we‚Äôre most interested in how candidates think about non-business topics‚ÄĒand whether they have the instinct to apply a business or economics lens to everyday subjects. Likewise, we look for what Gabriel Snyder, editor of The Atlantic Wire, calls ‚Äúkeyboard presence.‚ÄĚ Just as actors can have stage presence and athletes can have field presence, a good web writer is a natural in front of the screen. ¬†And then there‚Äôs speed. Digital hires ought to be able to move quickly from task to task, keep active multiple windows‚ÄĒon their screens and in their heads. But not, alas, at the expense of accuracy. In a world where there‚Äôs typically one layer of editing instead of two or three (or more), you gotta get it right.In pursuit of journalists with these new skills, we‚Äôve found that it can pay to look in unlikely places. Alan Taylor, who oversees The Atlantic‚Äôs crowd-pleasing ‚ÄúIn Focus‚ÄĚ photo blog, was a web developer at the Boston Globe when he started assembling image galleries on the side. James Hamblin, The Atlantic‚Äôs new health editor, is a medical doctor who had just finished his internship in radiology when he joined us as a full-time editor and writer. Neither Alan nor Jim came to us with anything close to a traditional journalism background. But they have the right sensibilities‚ÄĒand the skills to succeed in a new age.
If this were a bad teen movie, the magazine publishing industry would not be (surprisingly) playing the glamorous cheerleader, but Apple would still be the big man on campus.
It seems that the industry has a case of unrequited love with Apple, at least according to recent findings from research firm MagazineRadar.
Apple hasn‚Äôt advertised the iPad in an MPA member magazine since July 2011. Last summer, Apple made a brief appearance within the industry‚Äôs pages, with the latest iPad campaign in magazines appearing from May-July 2011. During that time there were 21 ad pages placed strategically among 21 MPA monthly magazines, all with the same creative.
Apple did also place 18 back page cover ads in 9 MPA weekly and bi-weekly magazines during the same period. The seeming coolness from Apple doesn‚Äôt stop in print‚ÄĒthe company has not advertised the iPad on MPA magazine websites at all in 2012.
Why would they? Magazine publishers have been doting over the product and Apple not only with each other at industry events, or to media journalists like this reporter, but they have, essentially, been running ads for them.
Magazines (trade or otherwise) are not just writing about the iPad, says MagazineRadar, but they are showing it off‚ÄĒin 2012, about 32 percent of all edit credits, which the research firm considers a ‚Äúsingle mention or image of a brand in a magazine‚Äôs editorial,‚ÄĚ appeared as images rather than text.
Apple‚Äôs apparent lack of enthusiasm for magazine advertising extends beyond the iPad, too. From September 2011 to August 2012 there were 216 ads for the iPhone placed in 200 MPA magazines. In comparison, the iPad received 1,847 edit credits so far in 2012. Additionally, Apple dominates other technology brands when it comes to editorial mentions (see below).
Apple is likely undertaking a strong advertising campaign for its new addition‚ÄĒthe iPhone 5. Whether or not they pay attention to the adoring magazine industry remains to be seen. MagazineRadar, however, says one thing is certain: publications will continue writing about Apple and its products.
¬†T.J. Raphael is a FOLIO: magazine Associate Editor. Follow her on Twitter: @TJRaphael1.
Fast Company‚Äôs annual design issue celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first cover that legendary art director George Lois created for Esquire magazine. This photograph, by noted photographer Platon, is available only in the iPad app version of Fast Company‚Äôs October 2012 issue, which is out today, September 12. On the October 1962 cover of Esquire (which Lois is holding), he accurately predicted that boxer Sonny Liston would defeat Floyd Patterson in their upcoming heavyweight championship fight. That opinion at the time was decidedly in the minority, so much so that the publisher‚Äôs letter inside the magazine disavowed Lois‚Äôs prediction, saying ‚Äúwe‚Äôd prefer to believe that Liston can be stopped, and that Patterson is the one that can do it.‚ÄĚ (Note: Liston knocked out Patterson in the fight‚Äôs first round). Says Lois, ‚ÄúThe press wrote about the chutzpah of calling a fight on a magazine cover, and the issue was a sellout.‚ÄĚRead more by George Lois on his first Esquire cover (and many others) here. The Fast Company October 2012 iPad app is available here. The October issue features Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann on the cover. (Photograph: Art Streiber, creative director: Florian Bachleda.)
FOLIO: unveiled a one-day, nuts-and-bolts training workshop this week focused on presenting essential new skills for content creation and deployment. The workshop will be conducted three times in 2012‚ÄĒin Los Angeles (October 10), New York (November 14) and San Francisco (December 4). Called C2, the workshop is built on more than 70 case studies and best practices from around the media industry. FOLIO: general manager Tony Silber and editor Bill Mickey will host the event.‚ÄúThere‚Äôs never been a more exciting time to be in media,‚ÄĚ Silber said. ‚ÄúThere are new channels, new formats, new expectations and new opportunities. The basic relationship between content creators and content consumers has evolved.‚ÄĚThe workshop's core curriculum is an analysis of case studies that show how media companies are leveraging social, cross-platform tactics, video and much more to build content creation strategies that address today's reader behavior. Learn what‚Äôs on the minds of the innovators in consumer, b-to-b, association media, city and regional, and hear what‚Äôs right around the corner.To register and to learn more, click here.
Hearst Magazine‚Äôs 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:
‚ÄúGiven the direction you took Marie Claire, do you have plans to make Cosmo more sophisticated?‚ÄĚ
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 ProjectInspired.com founder Nicole Weider in an ‚ÄúAnti-Cosmo Mission.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAbout 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,‚ÄĚ said Ms. Hearst in the June statement. ‚ÄúWhen I heard about Nicole‚Äôs 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!‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs Julie Gerstenblatt said:
‚ÄúThis magazine is like Cosmo with fewer articles about sex.‚ÄĚ
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 ‚Äú50 Kinky Sex Moves.‚ÄĚ
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‚ÄĒthe publication designed the Marie Claire Career Network on the social platform to give women an avenue for digital business networking and discussions.
‚ÄúCosmo is a huge global brand empowering women,‚ÄĚ Coles told Klieman.
Cosmo does empower women‚ÄĒto 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒthey 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.
A new report conducted by app store analytics firm Distimo finds that the United States is the most "socially savvy" country by virtue of its download volume of social apps. According to Distimo, out of the most popular apps downloaded, 20 percent of the volume is apps from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like. In countries in Europe and South East Asia, social app download volume doesn't exceed 10 percent. These findings are part of a larger look at how social media app downloads compare to other apps. As an example, the report finds that while download volume among the 100 most popular apps in Apple's App Store increased 43 percent over the last two years, the top 100 social applications increased 193 percent between July 2010 and July 2012. Further, Facebook lost its prominence by July 2012 as the top downloaded social app, falling to the third spot behind Instagram and Twitter (as measured across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Korea, United Kingdom, and the U.S.).For the full report, click here.
Some of us "older" publishing pros often quip it's the "digitally-savvy youngsters" that are driving the new publishing era‚ÄĒnot just as consumers, but as talented members of the magazine publishing community. In that spirit, it's time once again to turn the FOLIO: spotlight on the younger set and profile the next group of rising stars and innovators across traditional publishing roles, never-before-seen positions in new lines of business, and market-shaping start-ups: FOLIO:'s 15 Under 30.
Last year's list featured a cross-section of talent responsible for social media, interactive marketing, community management and new digital companies. These are all excellent, and we're equally impressed with individuals who are leading the way in defining new competitive opportunities for existing, more traditional products. The nomination process is officially open‚ÄĒtell us who you think deserves to be on the list by filling out our simple online form. Our list-makers will appear in the October issue.The only catch? All nominees must be younger than 30.The deadline for nominations is Monday, September 10. Good luck and thanks for participating!
Once derided as Johnny-come-latelys to the digital media game, traditional publishers are now becoming enthusiastic start-up accelerators, buying or incubating early-stage companies that aim to disrupt the media market. Bonnier has just joined the club with its own Innovation Lab, a 14-week program seeking applicants who are interested in "developing revolutionary products and services that will change the way major media companies engage with their audiences." The idea being that Bonnier, like other publishers, has already waded its way into the modern media world and knows a thing or two about digital business and audience development, marketing and content strategy. Not quite an ownership-based incubator, such as Hearst's Interactive Media unit, the Innovation Lab is more like an educational program that helps entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground and into the market. The brainchild of David Rich, Bonnier Corp.'s director of digital innovation, the program features a dozen mentors. Some are from Bonnier's ranks, including CEO Terry Snow, digital audience and analytics director Jennifer Anderson and VP of corporate communications Dean Turcol. And some are from VC firms and other start-ups. Four start-ups will be selected for the first program and each receives a pretty generous set of perks, including a minimum of $25,000 in seed capital, $5,000 in PR support, $10,000 in PayPal transaction fees and about $79,000 in hosting credits from a variety of services including Amazon, Rackspace and Microsoft Azure. For its part, Bonnier will get an equity stake in the startups if they make it from drawing board to real company‚ÄĒand presumably first dibs if it's a concept uniquely appealing to Bonnier. But how much that ends up being depends on the progress of each start-up and what is ultimately negotiated as they progress through the Lab.
Like most of you, I pay close attention to what is going on in the event space. I find myself particularly interested in trends and the overall outlook for our industry. Not surprisingly, some events are up, others are down and many find themselves relatively flat. However, being internal optimists, we always look for the silver lining‚ÄĒexhibit space was off, but attendance was up. We had more exhibitors, but the average booth size was down. We are the masters of the spin for our customers, but what is really in store for trade shows?The Center for Exhibition Industry Research recently released research on ‚ÄúThe Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction.‚ÄĚ Even during the ‚ÄúGreat Recession,‚ÄĚ and now in the midst of an increasingly digital world, in person events remain an important tool for many marketers. Your customer‚Äôs still have a desire to show their products and services to a highly concentrated group of targeted influencers.¬† This is the good news, but there are still many risks to our overall business. Budgets are decreasing and every dollar is being scrutinized. Simply put, you cannot afford to rest on the historic influence the event industry has had as a marketing tool. We need to challenge the norm and look to adjust our model for the future. Savvy marketers want a simple, measurable and hassle free experience. So what does that mean?Simple: Everything from the contract process to payments to registration needs to be easier.¬† Consider an alumni program that will take basic information (address, phone, contact, product category, directory listings, etc.) and carry it over year to year.¬† Give them the opportunity to update that information, but why should you ask your returning customers to recreate the wheel with every event?Measurable: We all deal with question on ROI. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all approach, but if your staff understands a marketers objectives in advance of the event, you can work to formulate and define what is or is not a realistic outcome. How will you ultimately be graded?Hassel Free: If you have been in the business for any period of time, you know the single biggest complaint is drayage, labor and other variable costs.¬† Most exhibitors do a poor job of planning, and far too often they are surprised by their invoice.¬† Make it easy and look at ‚Äúall in‚ÄĚ packages that are inclusive of drayage, basic utilities, etc.What are you doing differently to make for a better customer experience?
Brian Pagel is a Vice President at Nielsen Expositions, where he runs The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Since re-joining Nielsen in 2001, Pagel has also served as a vice president in the Decorated Apparel Group. A 15-year veteran of the publishing, convention and exposition industries, Pagel has also held senior account executive positions with Leader Publishing and Bill Communications.
To paraphrase Senator John McCain‚ÄĒlet‚Äôs have some straight talk. The newsstand as we know it is nearing endangered species status. How much further do newsstand sales have to decline before publishers take corrective action? ¬†It‚Äôs well known that newsstand sales are in the dumper, but the depth of the audited publication sales slide in the first half of this year is even greater than has recently been reported by the media. A 9.6 percent sales decline (reported by the media) is huge, but the extent of the actual slide is more than 20 percent greater.The reason for the difference is that the numbers reported by the media only represent the sales status of titles that were audited in both the first half of this year and the first half of last year. It doesn‚Äôt, however, include titles audited a year go, but have either ceased being audited and/or have discontinued being published. Examples include; Soap Opera Weekly, Soap Opera ABC, Soap Opera CBS, Cooking with Paula Deen and Spin. If sales data from discontinued/no longer audited titles are included in the calculation, the overall unit sales decline is estimated (based on preliminary ABC reports) to be a breath-taking 12.8 percent and a corresponding 12.2 percent fall in revenue.The Newsstand Channel Is Being Hollowed OutThe devastating first-half sales are, as we‚Äôre all aware, not an anomaly. The steep decline began in the first half of 2008 and has essentially continued unabated since then. A brief recap illustrates the accumulative depth of the sales slide:
The unit sales of audited publications have declined nearly 45 percent in the last four and a half years. Since 2007 it‚Äôs estimated that by the end of 2012 the annual unit sales of audited publications will have fallen from about 930 million to 510 million‚ÄĒa staggering annual sales loss of 420 million copies. The revenue will have declined from $3.2 billion to approximately $2.4 billion.What‚Äôs Gone Wrong?There are many explanations for this decline‚ÄĒthe great recession, fewer store visits and a more cost conscious consumer. But the most significant has been the impact of technological change that has increased the proclivity of consumers to acquire news and information on a range of mobile devices that are offering better and better user experiences. Together all of these things have contributed to the decline.Should the Decline Have Been So Steep?In this 4-year period of unprecedented change a substantial sales decline would certainly have been expected. But should it have been so severe? I would argue the decline has been exacerbated by a timid publishing community and the restraints of an antiquated newsstand channel distribution system. The channel has, in effect, been held hostage by a costly, inefficient system loaded with duplication of effort. This is largely a product of its two-middlemen (wholesalers and national distributors) configuration.Years ago the channel probably required a two-middlemen check and balance approach in order to meet the needs of accommodating a vast distribution network with over 500 independent wholesalers. Today just three wholesalers control the majority of all magazine newsstand distributions and the two-middlemen configuration seems seriously out of date. However, the corrosive often adversarial nature of this configuration continues to persist, which has seriously thwarted the prospect for channel reform.As I indicated in a February story (after the audit bureaus reported last year‚Äôs second-half sales) the magazine newsstand had reached viral conditions and it was clear that the desperately persistent decline was now feeding on itself. Six months later the first half results (the steepest sales decline in recent history) only confirms the viral nature of channel conditions.Publishers and Wholesalers: Coping in the Age of Newsstand AusterityPublishersFor years publisher‚Äôs newsstand actions were dictated primarily by competitive self-interest. They largely ignored the health of the supply chain and the financial sustainability of its wholesaling ‚Äúpartners.‚ÄĚ These actions, although seemingly counter productive, were precipitated by the huge diversity of the publishing community (like herding cats) and by the knowledge that they had a range of other alternatives (not just newsstand circ) for delivering readers to meet their circ level requirements.The trend to less single copy circ has been continuing for many decades, but the recent 4-year newsstand sales decline, coupled by the advent of digital (replica) circ, has intensified the effect of the newsstand sales decline.Let me give you a current example of how this works. People Magazine, the undisputed newsstand sales leader, experienced a nearly 19 percent decline in newsstand sales in the first half of this year. This translated to a 214,000 drop in newsstand circ. But People‚Äôs total paid circulation (nearly 3.6 million) remained virtually the same as it was in the year previous period (actually it was up about 6,000). To compensate for the ‚Äúlost‚ÄĚ newsstand circ, the subscription circ was increased by 220,000‚ÄĒthis included a 77,000 increase in verified circ. Additionally People reported (for the first time) 37,000 replica circ.The point here is publishers have alternatives for compensating for ‚Äúlost‚ÄĚ newsstand circ. But it comes with some serious tradeoffs. Adding subscribers to meet circ level requirements generally increases reader acquisition costs and, of course, the added subscribers remove potential newsstand buyers from the market, which has a subtle, but real, impact on future newsstand sales.WholesalersOn the other hand wholesalers have far fewer alternatives for compensating for declining newsstand sales. Essentially those alternatives come down to reducing costs and increasing scale (growing market share). That‚Äôs exactly what‚Äôs happened. Wholesalers have lowered costs by reducing staff, consolidating distribution management at central locations and curtailing much needed system improvement investments.Although it‚Äôs difficult to measure the sales effect of these cost-saving initiatives, by all accounts the cost containment strategy of wholesalers has definitely contributed to the sales slide. In the process the three remaining wholesaler groups continue to battle for market share. The News Group, one of three major wholesaling groups, has recently taken the Kroger account (a major seller of magazines) from another super-wholesaler, The Source. The News Group and Hudson News teamed to buy CMG, a large national distributor, from Hearst and Cond√© Nast. It‚Äôs still too early to read the results of this precedent-setting move, but I suspect it‚Äôs quietly resonating in the market. All of this appears to be setting up the inevitable battle for wholesaler survival among the three remaining wholesaling giants. This battle may come to nothing, but in the interim it‚Äôs helping keep the fragile newsstand channel in an unsettled condition.In a declining newsstand market publishers have options, albeit they‚Äôre often costly. Wholesalers have a lesser number of viable options for coping in a down market. They are desperately trying to keep their financial ships afloat, while fighting a market share battle, which could eventually reshape the newsstand channel.It‚Äôs Up to Publishers to Save the Newsstand ChannelPublishers have alternatives for replacing ‚Äúlost‚ÄĚ newsstand circ. This, however, has provided a false sense of security that has partially blinded them to the perils of a newsstand channel with greatly diminished capabilities. Yes, the prospect of more digital circ is in publisher‚Äôs future, but let‚Äôs be clear about the realities of consumer magazine publishing‚ÄĒfor many years to come publishing survival will continue to be based on producing quality print products, attracting a cadre of advertisers, cost effectively acquiring print readers and protecting prime sources of circ (reader) acquisition.None of the many circulation sources is more important than the newsstand. Without a viable newsstand sales market the prospect for the survival of consumer magazines will be seriously diminished.Wholesalers and publishers, whether they like it or not, are bound at the hip. Publishers desperately need a viable newsstand channel and wholesalers need publishers that are fully committed to producing product with retail sales appeal.What Can Be Done to Slow the Sales Slide?At this juncture it‚Äôs not a matter of growing sales, but slowing the devastating 10 percent rate of annual decline. It‚Äôs no secret that channel efficiencies can be improved, duplicate effort eliminated and costs reduced. If that happened it could go a long ways towards stemming the severity of the sales fall.If publishers and wholesalers needs are mutually dependent why aren‚Äôt these things being done?Resolve the Scan-Based Trading IssueThere is no simple answer. But if I were to pick the major sticking point it involves the publisher/national distributor/wholesaler battle over how to adjust to the effects of scan based trading. Scan based trading now dominates wholesaler relationships with their major retailing clients. However, publishers/national distributors have not fully accepted this reality. It‚Äôs too complicated an issue to fully discuss in this note, but the gist is it revolves around publishers accepting scanned sales data, shifting inventory control to publishers and coming to grips with the so called ‚Äúshrink‚ÄĚ factor (the difference that may occur between scanned data and actual counts). There are also some audit bureau issues involved.Scanned-based trading is a thorny issue, but resolving it may hold the key to unleashing the prospect for improving efficiencies and reducing channel costs. Publishers and wholesalers should be encouraged to resolve the scanned-based trading differences, which, in turn, will enable them to get on with the task of working more cooperatively to address the more important issue of stemming the sales slide.I believe the ball is in the publisher‚Äôs court. They must step up to bat and get this done. If not the future for the newsstand looks very gloomy.