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Matt Kinsman

The New Edit Formula: “Volume And Velocity”

Matt Kinsman Editorial - 01/16/2007-03:00 AM

OK, so maybe it’s not so new, but have you noticed in the last year or so how the pace has changed? I don’t care if you write for a monthly or even a quarterly magazine—online all the deadlines are daily.

My first job was as an editor of a bi-weekly print newsletter (a nearly defunct business model these days). Most of the editors were recent colleges graduates, working on their own weekly or bi-weekly newsletters. However, the company did offer a daily e-mail newsletter—cutting edge back then—called “Media Daily” written by two editors who were there well before 9 and long after 5. We soft print editors would shake our heads in awe at the pace.

That seems almost laughable today, when putting out a daily newsletter is just part of the package and a 10-hour workday seems like early dismissal. Last January, the site redesigned to incorporate exclusive online content from Fortune, Money, Business 2.0 and Fortune Small Business. A team of 35 journalists focuses solely on creating content and today the site publishes nearly 100 stories per day, more than triple the number it posted a year ago, according to executive editor and vice president Chris Peacock. “The formula is volume and velocity,” says Peacock. “This is obviously a challenge for smaller publishers but it’s not insurmountable.” Peacock cites Business 2.0 which has a “small staff” [small at least by Fortune standards] in which every staffer, including editor Josh Quittner, writes a blog and posts at least two items per day.

The push for “community content” is also changing the editor’s role. IDG Entertainment’s re-launched last spring with an emphasis on community—and user submissions have swelled from an average of 155 user submissions per day to 2,650 per day, according to marketing director Simon Tonner. “You have to be in touch with these users all the time,” says Tonner. “You may come in the morning and think you have four stories to write but you might open up the forums and see if there’s a topic being discussed that completely changes your focus. You have to have that flexibility, and that might be a completely different work environment than what you’re used to do.”

But ultimately, volume doesn’t necessarily equal quality. The role of the editor online isn’t just to keep the content assembly line moving but maintaining quality control. “With the volume of content going online and the rush to publish, an online editor needs to be fluent with the software skills but needs to be a good copy editor as well,” says Wyatt Kash, editorial director at Government Computer News.

How are you managing the editorial workflow online?

Bill Mickey

The Many Lives Of Content

Bill Mickey Editorial - 01/15/2007-03:00 AM

I’m writing a story for the February issue on writer’s contracts and how magazine editors are setting them up in light of online’s growing influence. Contracts, and how the magazine’s – or Web site’s – use of content plays out are an interesting reflection of where the industry is pursuing their product opportunities – or should be. The models are varied – some publishers have retained separate online content producers, while others combine print and online editorial production teams. Consider MacWorld, which test-drives some if its content online before it makes it into the print title. (Kind of like what I’m doing here, to a lesser degree, for a story that’s scheduled for February.)

But it’s more than that. ”You can’t even say online,” says Erik Sherman, freelance writer and chair, American Society of Journalists and Authors contracts committee. “How about television? How about radio? What happens if your story gets turned into a movie, which gets turned into a Broadway musical? How about book rights?”

The New York Times on Sunday pointed out how magazines are serializing their office life as reality TV fodder, and content is regularly being turned into Webcast material. How this is all represented in a contract is getting increasingly complicated. But as publishers navigate the rights issues, the progressive ones are thinking beyond first publication and all electronic to what they think the content will ultimately be used for and representing that in their agreements with the content creator.


Teen Vogue Finds Success With Readers And Advertisers

Marrecca Fiore Consumer - 01/12/2007-03:00 AM

Whatever the right formula is for attracting and keeping a fickle teenage audience, Teen Vogue seems to have found it. At a time when teenagers are turning to the Web for most of their news and information, Teen Vogue continues to find success with both readers and advertisers.

According to the latest Publishers Information Bureau statistics, Teen Vogue increased ad revenues in 2006 by 31.1 percent to just under $101.83 million, up from $77.67 million in 2005. Pages-in-book for the teen title increased 22.3 percent to 1,223.44, from 1,000.36 in 2005.

The publication, which turns four in February, also increased its rate base in October of last year from 850,000 to 900,000 – its third rate base increase since its launch. And its total paid and verified circulation has climbed from 850,000 in 2005 to just under a million.

But other teen titles have struggled. Teen People and ElleGirl folded their print publications last year, but maintain a Web presence. Cosmogirl, which has a lower market share than Teen Vogue, enjoyed growth last year in its ad revenues, up 12.2 percent to just under $81.1 million, but its pages in book grew by just 3 percent to 794.33 from 771.36.

Seventeen, the oldest of the teen bunch, saw its pages in book dip 3.7 percent last year to 936.65 from 972.30 in 2005. Its revenues grew just 2.5 percent to $101.87 million from $99.3 million in 2005.

Whether Teen Vogue continues to be successful remains to be seen. One thing's for sure though. While other teen magazines focus a lot of attention on celebrities and/or sex, much to the disappointment of parents, Teen Vogue focuses almost entirely on fashion and that could be the key to its success. Maybe.

Linda Zebian

On The Magazine-Cable Network Partnership

Linda Zebian Consumer - 01/11/2007-03:00 AM

Being the reality-TV junkie I am, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of cable TV programs that have partnerships with consumer magazines. Networks like Bravo, which teams up with Cooking Light and Conde Nast’s ELLE for hit reality shows “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” generate unprecedented PR for the magazines that are featured on the programs.

“The Hills,” an MTV reality spin-off of the hugely popular “Laguna Beach,” follows the life of main “character” Lauren Conrad as she interns at Teen Vogue in Los Angeles. And the network’s latest reality installment, which debuted last Sunday, “I’m From Rolling Stone,” has Yann Wenner’s face on overdrive across numerous ads and promotions.

Using successful (though sometimes cheesy) reality TV as a branding outlet to reach consumers is genius. These cable networks allow the marketers at these publications to reach their demographic from an entirely different angle and there is no better way to build buzz and credibility around a brand. Bravo! More...

Tony Silber

Why The Consumer Electronics Show Has Meaning For Magazines

Tony Silber Sales and Marketing - 01/11/2007-03:00 AM

Just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Normally, I’d say that the CES event is a bit far afield for Folio: Magazine, what with all the booths offering iPod aftermarket products and so on.

But Aspire Media’s Clay Hall, a magazine-industry CEO with vision, convened a group of enthusiast and b-to-b publishers to discuss exactly what the CES represents for our future as print publishers.

I have to tell you: The show itself was totally overwhelming. Both of two convention centers were packed with exhibits. It’s really several shows in one. Everything from geeky computer technology to plastic gadgets to camera gear was represented. There were toys, and ubiquitous cell-phone items. They offered TV on cell phones, TV on computers. Computers on cell phones. And on and on.

Vegas was, of course, Vegas. I like the place and I don’t even gamble.

But the real value was a rich two days of discussions of the future of magazine publishing in the face of the electronic tide. The participants were fabulous, starting with Ken Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media. Ken offered an eye-opening overview of electronic paper, which Hearst has invested in heavily and which is already gaining commercial traction in books and newspapers. For Bronfin, it’s only a matter of a couple of years before e-paper is a significant force in magazines. Compare it to digital music—and how it revolutionized the music industry, he says.

Other participants were Terry Snow, CEO of World Publications, Michela O’Connor Abrams, president and publisher of Dwell, Mark Edmiston, Managing Director of AdMedia Partners, Don Nicholas, Managing Director of The Mequoda Group, Don Peschke, CEO of August Home Publishing, Dan Wiesner, CEO of Wiesner Publishing and Steve Lalibeerte, president of iProduction, a St. Paul, Minnesota, e-publishing solutions provider.

In an all-star cast, Peschke stood out. August Home Publishing, a largely reader-driven company, stands out for its success in generating reader revenue, for brand extensions, for moving into e-media and for how Peschke, who started the Des Moines, Iowa-based company in 1978, approaches management and leadership. “The role of a manager is not to supervise other people,” Peschke says on the company’s Web site. “It’s to help other people, including our customers, be successful.”

Look for more from Peschke and the rest of the participants in a special roundtable in the March issue of Folio:.

Bill Mickey

Get 'Em While They're Hot

Bill Mickey M and A and Finance - 01/08/2007-03:00 AM

Private equity investors are chomping at the bit for more M&A action in 2007 after making headlines in 2006 as the new media M&A rainmakers. Indeed, private equity players are making a splash across many markets, not just magazines and media. Even as small to mid-sized companies are bought out and rolled up into operating platforms, large public companies are taking advantage of the active market to go private – to find relief from Sarbanes-Oxley, among other motivators.

But even as the reporting continues to examine private equity’s boom, there’s a building undercurrent of speculation on when the good times will end. At ABM’s Top Management Meeting in Chicago last November, bankers were marveling out one side of their mouths at private equity’s rise over the last 12 months while wondering out the other side when economic conditions would put the breaks on the whole thing. For now, no one is willing to get too specific. The stars have aligned: publishers have generally built up their event divisions, whether organically or via acquisition, and have moved aggressively into e-media with nary a glass of Kool-Aid in sight. And there’s a hungry pack of buyers ready to get going.

And e-media this year will be a critical dealmaking factor as all of 2006’s must-have features, services and products coalesce into practical (or not) business elements. As if to underscore buyer eagerness and, possibly, the sense that all good things will someday come to an end, the DeSilva + Phillips 2007 M&A Report puts it this way: “In 2006, media executives were still worried that getting it wrong would be more harmful than not acting at all. Yet if there was ever a case of pent-up demand – and a growing recognition that now is the time to act decisively – look at your watch. It’s time.”


Monetizing The Web In The New Year

Marrecca Fiore emedia and Technology - 01/05/2007-03:00 AM

A Folio: and Readex survey conducted last year showed that print remains the dominant revenue stream for publishers. That’s in spite of the fact that print advertising is declining and both readers and advertisers are flocking to the Web. Much of the problem stems not from a lack of investment in online media, but from a lack of understanding on the part of publishers on how to monetize their Web properties.

The issue is two-fold. For one, setting print advertising rates is second nature in the publishing industry and is often done using a rate base or by using paid or controlled circulation models. But setting advertising rates online is more difficult and publishers often find themselves with the quandary of whether to set rates according to Web traffic or impressions, or according demographics or how much time users actually spend on their sites.

The second issue is a lack of space and creativity in the online ad realm. Publishers need to move beyond the banner ad and the often-ineffective interstitial and find other, more creative ways to allow advertisers to market their products and services. This could be remedied as simply as adding more video, audio, sponsorship and social networking offerings to Web sites. But publishers must also think outside the box to offer advertisers more diverse ways to reach to consumers.

VNU Business Media this week launched a job portal that will combine the resources of its entertainment, advertising and media trade publications on a single Web site. The hope, said VNU eMedia group sales director Jeff Green, is that the portal will allow VNU to take a large bite out of the $50 million employers in the aforementioned three industries spend annually to advertise jobs on major and niche job sites. Because the three different industries often look for employees with similar skill sets, VNU believes they’ll have an advantage over their competition by offering a one-stop shop for people working in advertising, entertainment and/or media jobs. And who knows, they just might.

The time has come to not only put in place a quantifiable method for setting ad rates online, but to also look for new and creative ways to make money online. Two-thousand-seven should be the year to monetize the Web. More...

Linda Zebian

Seventeen Replaces Atoosa

Linda Zebian Consumer - 01/03/2007-03:00 AM

Seventeen has finally found someone to replace Atoosa Rubenstein, the former editor in chief of the Hearst teen mag who quit in November to launch her own teen-centered Web business, write a book and start a consultancy specializing in the youth market. After several months and plenty of gossip surrounding the search for a replacement, CosmoGirl executive editor Ann Shoket has been selected to assume the role of filling Rubenstein’s shoes.

Although Rubenstein received a lot of flack during her three years as editor for her Today Show-MTV-talking head-My Space enthusiast-Spice Girl image, I think Shoket should strive to be like her predecessor. As the editor of Seventeen magazine, it is Shoket’s job to be a role model for her readers, and get herself out there as much as possible to build the brand. Rubenstein became the face of the publication, putting herself on every media outlet to reach her target audience. Isn’t that what consumer magazine editor’s strive to do every day? More...

Matt Kinsman

Adding Up The Brand

Matt Kinsman Sales and Marketing - 01/02/2007-03:00 AM

Do publishing brands these days seem a little confusing? Maybe it’s because of all the consolidation in the marketplace and the need to start fresh. Maybe it’s because of the rise in e-publishing and the need to convey a sense of “new media.”

Numbers are big with publishing brands today. From 1105 Media (formerly 101 Communications) to 8020 Publishing, publishers are opting for a number as part of or even in place of a name. We’re no different: the magazine we originally launched to compete with Folio: was called M10 Report and our company name is Red 7 Media.

What’s the significance of your brand? Many city and regional magazines have taken their telephone area codes as their names, (such as 417 in Missouri). That makes sense, and has an immediate, recognizable significance for their audience. But does 1105 really grab your attention? When we started M10, the first question we always heard was, “What’s M10?” In a weird way it actually helped, because it started a conversation about who we were and how we were different from Folio:. But don’t think we weren’t relieved after we bought Folio: and could stop having that same conversation over and over.

After Wasserstein bought out Primedia Business for $385 million in August 2005, the company embarked on a self-described “intense,” months-long decision process for a company name before deciding on “Prism Business Media.” In an e-mail to employees, Primedia Business CEO John French said of the name, “It needs to be Memorable…Unique…Sustainable…Positive…Protectable as a trademark. Prism—like transmitting or reflecting light, like a ray of light passing through a prism. Prism is a reflection of what we represent within the organization and the industry. . .Carry it positively to the marketplace and avoid the inclination to say ‘why didn’t we name this or that.’”

Of course, in December 2006, shortly after Prism’s purchase of Penton Media, Prism switched its name to Penton. “If you think about it, Prism is a newly established brand with a brand new name and Penton has been around,” Reed Phillips, managing partner at M&A broker DeSilva & Phillips, told Folio at the time. “For that reason, it made sense to go with that name. Prism doesn’t really have any strong recognition yet in the marketplace.”

CEOs and owners fret long and hard over their company names but ultimately it’s their products that establish the brand, not the cute corporate name.

Linda Zebian

Launching A Digital-Only Magazine

Linda Zebian emedia and Technology - 12/27/2006-03:00 AM

A new magazine has hit the women’s lifestyle market but this one is exclusively digital. VivMag is a digital magazine led by former editor in chief of Shape, Anne Russel. It’s one thing if an established magazine decides to offer a digital edition, or decides to stop print production but keep a Web site like Elle Girl and Teen People, but launching a new magazine in a strictly digital format could be risky.

Regardless of how good this digital magazine is (I tried to download it to check it out, but after a number attempts were blocked by my computer, I gave up), they might want to tread lightly. Digital magazines are now more than ever being labeled as ancillary and complementary products to print. At the recent Digital Magazine Conference, a number of magazine publishers were skeptical regarding the lack of return on their digital magazine investments.

Digital magazines are a hybrid media—taking the best aspects of print and the Web and joining them together to create an online magazine experience. For established brands, going digital is another investment in the brand, but for a new magazine like this, I wonder if finding an interested audience and equally as interested advertisers might become an issue. More...

A Not So Shocking Week

Marrecca Fiore Consumer - 12/22/2006-03:00 AM

Another week has passed and another magazine has closed, more people in publishing lost their jobs, and Time magazine was criticized for an idea it was all too proud of.

Shock shuts

Hachette-Filipacchi’s attempt to bring a gory photojournalistic magazine to the newsstands failed. Not a big surprise. The graphic-heavy, text-light publication is much more appealing to “screenagers” and very early 20-somethings than to the “older” print-reading set, which is why Hachette will keep the effort going online via its ShockU Web site and scrap the print publication. The effort serves as another reminder that young people want their news and entertainment for free …

Merry Christmas from Time Inc. and VNU

Time Inc. rounded up 27 workers from its consumer marketing division this week like a herd of cattle and told them they were no longer needed. This is second December in row Time Inc. has said happy holidays with a layoff (last year it laid off 105 workers in mid-December), as the struggling company repositions itself for the digital age …

Meanwhile, VNU said this week it will cut 4,000 jobs over the next few months as its new management team positions the company for growth.

While no one would argue that both Time Inc. and VNU need to cut costs and refocus their missions, Ann and Dave could have at least waited for the New Year to lower the boom on their employees …

Disapproval strikes Time magazine's “You” cover

Time magazine caught a lot of flack this week from journalists and bloggers for its selection of “You” as the person of the year. Did Time take the easy way out in not selecting an actual person for the annual honor? Probably. But the idea is not totally misguided, if not also a little self-serving. After all, there wasn’t a journalist in the world this year that wasn’t a little unnerved by the uprising of so-called citizen journalism.

But just as Andy Warhol famously predicted that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, he also made the often misused quote to describe the fickle nature of the entertainment-starved public. Translation: Citizen journalism is hot for now, but whether it’s hot for good remains to be seen … More...

Tony Silber

The Path Of A Printer

Tony Silber Design and Production - 12/21/2006-03:00 AM

So yesterday, Perry Judd’s was sold. That makes one more in a wave of printer mergers for 2006. It follows the merger of United Litho and Dartmouth Printing into Sheridan Magazine Services (they had been owned by Sheridan already—this merger marks the creation of a unified marketing brand. And in November, Donnelley acquired Banta.

This is the continuation of a wave of consolidation that has been occurring for years among printers, but I think it’s worth noting the passing of what was once a dominant company. When I started working at Folio: in the early nineties, Judd’s Printing was a dominant player. Based in Virginia, it had an image of being a stable player, a trustworthy straight shooter that was going to be there when its clients needed it to be. Its top sales executive, Howard Sullivan, was the perfect personification of this image—gracious, commanding, a person with quiet authority.

But Judd’s was on the back cover of every issue of Folio: in those days and probably well before that. They had an anchor position and spoke to the market with a compelling, simple, consistent message month after month.

When Perry Printing bought Judd’s in 1997, that changed. And eventually, the merged Perry-Judd’s became a non-entity in this space. I can’t remember the last time Perry-Judd’s did any advertising. It may be that Perry Judd’s continues to be a great printer for its existing customers, and it may be that the company did a lot of innovating. But it frankly was not engaged in the magazine industry. They didn’t attend shows—Folio:’s or others. It didn’t exhibit. It didn’t run ad schedules. It became invisible.

I wonder how much that particular marketing strategy had to do with this week’s announcement. I’ve blogged about this topic before, but thought this was worth noting.

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