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Cable Neuhaus

The Magazine Medic

Cable Neuhaus Design and Production - 01/17/2012-14:19 PM

THE PATIENT: Success
AGE:
114 years
VITALS: Improving
PROGNOSIS: Good

The kind of high-profile success that Success’ readers desperately desire has largely eluded the magazine itself over the course of its long life. The title has encountered at least two near-death experiences, yet fought back to publish another day. On that basis alone, some may award this book a medal for its mettle.

The most recent incarnation of the magazine, which emerged from ownership’s self-induced coma in 2008, shows promise. (Its claimed, unaudited, circulation is 200,000.) It also shows how challenging is the job of editors who run inspiration-and-advice guides.
How many ways can you persuade readers to pay for a magazine that exists almost solely for the purpose of encouraging their (sometimes unrealistic) ambitions?

What We Prescribe

• Who runs this book, really? An editorial director, an editor-in-chief, and an editor all get credit. Confusing, no?—and troubling as well. Another issue: Names of everyone in the ad sales and marketing departments are accompanied on the masthead by contact details. No such info for the edit staff. Together, these decisions suggest to the Magazine Medic that the book is driven by the business side. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but we see it as a prescription for a compromised editorial mission. At the very least, tell readers how to reach editors.

Success does an admirable job of mixing it up—adding first-person tales of winning strategies, celebrity profiles, and sure-fire counsel to the editorial salad. The problem is execution. One area in particular that could stand improvement: Headlines and decks, which too often are ill-conceived. We need to know, immediately, who these story subjects are and why they matter.

• Cultivate franchise writers and columnists for Success. It’s comforting to open the book and notice familiar names, such as leadership guru John Maxwell and celeb physician Mehmet Oz, but haven’t we seen them elsewhere? As in everywhere? Far easier said than done, we know, but creating a stable of Successful columnists, such as biz books Fortune and Forbes have managed to do, is a clear signal to readers that we too have our in-house stars.

• Reduce the size of the Tech Tools section. These days, honestly, it’s damn near impossible to keep on top of these ever-changing toys on the daily gizmo blogs. Trying to recommend cool products in a long-lead monthly magazine is a dangerous gamble. Inevitably, as we have seen many times, magazine editors will anoint a gadget a good bet—only to discover weeks later that the industry and consumers have already said, “Uh, not so much.”

Prognosis

Especially in times of economic woe for so many Americans, this is a magazine worth nourishing back to health. Its sweet smell of success may return yet again.

A well-known reporter, writer, and editor—at Time Inc., Primedia and other American publishing companies—Cable Neuhaus has frequently been called on to help create, repair, and run consumer and trade titles of various kinds.

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Stefanie Botelho

Twittifying SPIN

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 01/12/2012-13:02 PM


This week, music magazine SPIN announced its decision to run the lion’s share of its music reviews on Twitter in 2012. Under the handle @SPINreviews, SPIN’s eight staff editors (and a team of freelancers) will weigh in on over 1,500 albums in 140 characters or less throughout the year. The decision comes amidst other changes at SPIN, including an editorial realignment marking a heavier focus on digital.

On SPIN’s blog, senior editor Christopher Weingarten makes valid points to back this decision. In the digital era, fans often privy to records at the same time music critics are. Leaked albums abound; though, the cynic is me suspects the artists/record labels/PR teams behind them sometimes may be responsible for these leaks. Case in point: in the summer of 2010, songs from Taylor Swift’s hit album “Speak Now” leaked 12 days before the official launch, forcing Big Machine Records to release it early. Within hours, the single “Mine” was number one in iTunes. Hello, publicity.

Weingarten rationalizes, “The value of the average rock critic’s opinion has plummeted now that…you can listen and decide for yourself whether it’s worth a damn.” He also says this method will spare SPIN readers lengthy reviews of mediocre bands: 140 characters later, we’ll know whether an album is worth buying.

Weingarten is correct in this thinking, to an extent. But I think he’s neglecting some of the largest pleasures of an album review, perhaps purposely: the in-depth parsing of a band’s journey, the decoding of instrumentals and influences from an expert’s point of view. In an overly politically correct, PR-manned media world, candid music reviews are refreshing, and never more needed. What would Cameron Crowe say about all of this? The music review is considered an editorial staple in a music mag’s table of contents.

That being said, SPIN will still run 20 long-form reviews monthly on its website. SPIN released 1,000 album critiques on Twitter in 2009, and the strategy must have produced measurable success to be repeated in 2012. I also suspect the one-sentence reviews are borne of a business necessity: 1,500 reviews are a lot, especially for an in-house editorial staff of eight undoubtedly crazed with other responsibilities.

Fortunately, like many digital decisions, this strategy does not have to be a permanent model. It will be interesting to see how fans, and the music industry overall, react to SPIN’s compressed reviews.

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Bill Mickey

Consumer Mag Advertising Sputters in Second Half 2011

Bill Mickey Consumer - 01/10/2012-15:01 PM

 

The MPA released full-year 2011 PIB numbers today and, as individual consumer publishers already know by now, the third and fourth quarters were not very kind.

There were some exceptions among specific titles of course, which I'll get to in a bit, but in 2011 overall advertising revenues were flat and pages fell about 3 percent compared to 2010.

In the first quarter of 2011, pages jumped 2.5 percent and revenue was up 6 percent compared to same period 2010. In Q2, in hindsight, you can see the slide beginning. Pages were flat at a .3 percent gain over same period 2010 and revenue was up only 2.4 percent.

Then in the third quarter, the numbers quickened their decline—pages falling 5.6 percent and revenue down 1.5 percent compared to same period 2010. Further, the fourth quarter of 2011 saw almost a 5 percent dip in revenue and an 8 percent tumble in pages.

Of the 12 ad categories tracked, 9 of them were in the negative for the full year. The three that grew were Toiletries and Cosmetics (3.8 percent); Apparel and Accessories (5.5 percent); and Financial, Insurance and Real Estate (12.7 percent).

The categories that saw the biggest drops were Home Furnishings and Supplies, down 16 percent, and Food and Food Products, which declined 17 percent.

Among individual magazines, Amex Publishing's Departures led the pack with a 43.3 percent jump in pages. AARP—The Magazine also did well, gaining 29.5 percent in pages for the year over 2010. Meredith's Siempre Mujer jumped 31.5 percent in pages.

People En Espanol and People Style Watch increased pages by 31.5 percent and 38.6 percent respectively. People itself, however, declined 5.6 percent in pages.

In fact, as a category, celebrity weeklies didn't do very well. Star fell 3.8 percent in pages for the year, US Weekly was flat at 1.8 percent, In Touch fell 13.1 percent, and OK fell 1.2 percent.

The two big newsweeklies, Time and Newsweek, were down 2.5 percent and 16.8 percent and The Week dropped 12.9 percent in pages.

Bloomberg Businessweek continued its comeback, ending the year up 19 percent in pages, while Forbes and Fortune were down 3.9 percent and .9 percent respectively.

In terms of total pages sold in 2011, People topped the list at 3,357. New York magazine came in at number two with 2,608 pages sold—not bad for a regional pub. Brides sold 2,603 pages. In Style tallied 2,544 pages and Vogue sold 2,509 pages to round out the top 5.

For more details on the numbers, visit MPA's PIB numbers here.

 

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Stefanie Botelho

TIME’s Cover Double Take

Stefanie Botelho Design and Production - 01/05/2012-10:09 AM

In an interesting move, TIME magazine will run the cover art from its December 12, 2011 issue again on its January 16, 2012 issue. The photo of Mitt Romney’s picture is the same in both treatments, but the headlines and positioning of the image covering the upcoming edition will change. See the covers, and read TIME managing editor Rick Stengel’s letter about the Iowa caucuses as well as the cover decision, below.


Why Iowa Matters (Even If It Shouldn’t)

Iowa is an outlier. The 122,000 people who showed up to vote in the state's caucuses represent less than a fifth of registered Iowa Republicans and exactly 0.09% of the U.S. electorate. In a representative democracy, Iowa is not very representative. It is 91% white and has few Latinos, not many immigrants and low unemployment. Iowa is also the only place in presidential politics where retail campaigning can still make a difference. Jimmy Carter showed this back in 1976, and Rick Santorum followed the same playbook this year.

But Iowa matters, in part because the candidates and media put so much emphasis on it. Probably too much. We would all be better off with a regional primary system, but that's not in the cards. So after more than a year of polls, debates, position papers and commercials, we finally have actual people voting, which is the fundamental right in a democracy. That's really why Iowa matters.

If this week's cover feels a little familiar, there's a good reason for that. In early December, we put Mitt Romney on the cover and asked, "Why Don't They Like Me?" — a question that has been at the heart of the GOP primary process. This week, in the wake of Romney's razor-thin win in Iowa, we've updated and revised the question, using the other half of the same portrait of Romney. The first cover got a lot of attention, not least from Governor Romney himself, who began annotating the cover for those who asked him to sign it. Now the voters in New Hampshire and beyond can answer the question for themselves.

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Matt Shanahan

Prospecting Up-sells with Behavioral Analytics

Matt Shanahan emedia and Technology - 01/04/2012-12:34 PM

 

This post is republished with permission and originally appears here.  

In paid content, one of the challenges for corporate sales is finding demand for content that can be monetized – finding a good lead. Our research shows one of the best sources for leads is within existing individual subscribers where several individuals are sharing the access to the paid content. The charts below show a typical example of how to identify an individual subscriber that is a lead for an up-sell to a corporate or group agreement.

The first chart shows the daily use profile for two different individual subscribers by graphing the total number of reports accessed over a 90-day period. Each daily use profile is color coded based on the unique devices used to access the reports. The daily use profile with just the blue color shows how one subscriber’s account accessed reports via a single device. The daily use profile with multiple colors shows how the other subscriber’s account accessed reports via five devices (each color representing a distinct device).



Whereas the daily use profile with one color represents a loyal subscriber, the daily use profile with five colors is a prospect for an up-sell because of unmonetized demand of multiple users sharing one subscriber’s account. But how can you be sure the multi-color profile isn’t simply a raving fan?

The number two is a good start. In the hourly use profile for each account, the shared account has twice as many active hours as the individual account. Additionally, some devices are active earlier than other devices (e.g., purple vs. orange) but overlap on their activity which means they are used in different time zones. Also, note the individual account profile shows inactivity for lunch in the middle of the day. There are no low activity hours for the shared account rather it peaks at the periods of most overlap between devices.



Looking at the quarterly use profile, it becomes clear that each of the shared account devices were active throughout the period. Unlike the individual account which had ten inactive work-days during the period, the shared account had no inactive days.  Digging deeper into the quarterly profile, the shared account consumes three times the content as compared to the individual account.



The Implication

The shared account exhibits usage profiles with monetizable demand for content. Corporate sales has a number of avenues to pursue the lead either directly, through procurement, or even through compliance. Properly engaged, this lead will convert with high probability.

 

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Stefanie Botelho

Hearst’s David Carey Calls for Aggressive Growth in 2012

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 01/03/2012-12:10 PM


Hearst Magazines president David Carey addressed the past year and what’s next for the publisher in a letter to employees sent out this morning. According to Carey, Hearst’s aggressive growth in 2011 (including the acquisition of Lagardere and Hachette Fillappacci; the launch of HGTV Magazine; the debut of brand supplement Marie Claire @Work; and purchases of Red Aril and PayDQ) will continue in 2012.

Now claiming 400,000 digital edition sales a month (the publisher hit 300,000 in late September), Carey reiterates Hearst’s goal to tip one million monthly paid digital subscriptions in the new year. He seems to have found the recipe for instant media attention: call out a projected audience number, and watch as web buzz booms.

Other digital initiatives include the continued transition of Hearst’s magazine sites to HTML5. Good Housekeeping’s website (which was once included among the worst magazine websites on the 'net) was the first to get the HTML5 treatment in 2011.

Though digital may be considered the sexier playing field in the publishing industry, Hearst’s print portfolio will not be neglected in 2012. Aside from the forthcoming semiannual Cosmopolitan Latina, Harper’s Bazaar print presence will launch a revamped look; an increased trim size will debut in February.

Carey highlights streamlined production through the Hachette merger as another benefit of the deal (a less obvious coup than titles like Elle magazine), “[We] are able to realize significant cost synergies through the…work of our service departments, particularly our production, IT and consumer marketing teams.”

As a result of these cross-company initiatives, Carey says, “…roughly 40 percent of our revenues are U.S. print and digital, 40 percent international print and digital, and 20 percent are services (iCrossing and CDS Global).”

Hearst’s growth is impressive, but lends little actionable strategy to publishers of smaller scale and lesser resources. With its new YouTube channels, large acquisitions and flashy media partnerships (Hearst took a 50 percent stake in reality television company Mark Burnett Productions in April), Hearst continues to perpetuate one of the most pervasive trends in the magazine industry as of late: publishers doing a lot of business besides publishing.

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Martin Tobias

Daily Deal Predictions for 2012

Martin Tobias Editorial - 12/20/2011-15:40 PM

From delayed IPOs, to buyouts, burnouts, layoffs and more, 2011 proved to be a volatile year for the daily deal industry. The business model for profitable group buying remains out of reach for many, and the industry is racing to figure out where to place their bets for growth. Publishers, merchants and business owners want to know what’s next in the social commerce space.

After the phenomenal maturation of the daily deal industry seen in 2011, a new paradigm will usher in programs that merge content with a seamless deal delivery experience. The industry focus will evolve from deal sites and daily emails to other messaging formats, providing relevant deals where, when and how consumers want them. The year 2011 was just Phase One of group buying. Phase Two begins in 2012. Here are some predictions for what portends to be another technologically eventful year in group buying, and reasons why publisher may stand to gain the most.

200 “Groupon Clones” Will Bite The Dust As Consolidation Mode Takes Off

With more than 600 companies currently operating in the group buying space, industry consolidation is going to become a very real threat to many daily deal sites. According to Yipit.com, over 170 deal sites failed in 2011. Next year the trend will continue as large companies purchase smaller rivals and other generic deal brands go belly up. Over 200 of the ‘me-too’ deal sites may close their doors within the first six months of the New Year. Meanwhile, publishers and niche sites that have found a way to integrate daily deals into their existing content, rather than just photocopying Groupon’s model, will not only survive but thrive.

2012 Is The Year of the White Label

White-label providers will reign supreme in 2012. According to Yipit research, this year white labels exhibited a transaction volume of 5-10 percent, but next year it may double as much as 20 percent. Media companies, niche bloggers and digital content creators have credible brands, local sales forces and engaged audiences–critical components that large horizontal sites spend hundreds of millions to grow. The only piece these companies are missing is the technology on which to build a deal site. In the year ahead, white label technologies will allow publishers to prevail after the Groupons of the world have exhausted their resources acquiring new customers and finding new merchants.

Big Branded Sites’ Futures Lies In Instant Contextualized Deals 

2012 will be the year big brand sites, which source hundreds of deals to large audiences with diverse interests, establish a profitable business model. But profits will only follow the ability to tailor content, matching the right customer with the right merchant. Simply put, the daily space will be dominated by the players who understand how to effectively merge content and commerce into a seamless experience, allowing consumers access to relevant deals anywhere and at any time. In 2012, Groupon and LivingSocial will make massive investments in their mobile capabilities, while Google, Facebook and other major audience aggregators will extend their commitment to the integration of location, advertorial, mobile and contextual commerce.

The future group buying landscape will be marked by consolidation, significant developments in offer targeting and the introduction of new deal delivery technology. This year’s success sets the stage for other daily deal players to be taken seriously and carve out a niche of the market for their own. 2011 is not the ending for daily deal industry; rather, it’s merely the beginning.

Martin Tobias is founder and CEO of Tippr, a premier provider of group buying solutions and the flagship PoweredByTippr , a white- label platform that enables publishers to create successful group buying services. A Seattle entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Tobias has 25 years combined experience in the venture capital and technology industries, sits on several boards and is involved in numerous charities through the Martin Tobias Foundation. His Twitter handle is @MartinGTobias .

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Stefanie Botelho

Face Up: 2011 Year in Review

Stefanie Botelho Design and Production - 12/13/2011-09:59 AM

2011 was a year of redesigns and relaunches, as magazine covers aimed to provoke (and as a result, to sell). Some efforts amounted in positive buzz and hiked newsstand numbers; others inspired seemingly unending rounds of media heckling (Newsweek’s July 4th cover, which featured a very Photoshopped image of the late Princess Diana, here’s lookin’ at you). Here, FOLIO: asks three of our 2011 FaceUp participants to weigh in on their favorite covers of the year.

 

TIME
October 17, 2011

Publisher: Time Inc.
Design Director:
D.W. Pine
Managing Editor:
Rick Stengel

“I can’t guess how many magazine covers have been designed in the past year (and I’m only counting the ones that didn’t end up in the AD’s drawer). 365 days, 12 months, 52 weeks—hundreds, thousands, maybe more. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly—you get the idea. Consequently, when I was asked to pick one favorite from the past year, I almost balked. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized that this year I could actually answer that question with conviction. Anyone who’s been in the publishing business for twenty plus years (particularly on the design side) will understand my answer.”

- Mick Schnepf, Art Director, Traditional Home Magazine

 

Complex
August/September 2011

Publishing Company: Complex Media
Editor-in-Chief: Noah Callahan-Bever
Art Director: Brent Rollins

“Hard to go wrong with a beautiful cover subject like Beyoncé, but the Complex design and photo team raise the bar for a celebrity cover by wrapping Beyoncé in a beautiful set of undulating typography. For this Style & Design cover story, Complex recruited photographer Thierry Le Gouès and artist Ebon Heath. Stunning photography, sensual typography, and killer styling come together in this iconic, arresting cover. A ‘Cover of the Day’ for SPD back in July—this cover is my Cover of the Year.”

-Josh Klenert, Society of Publication Designers, Vice President, Board of Directors

 

ESPN Magazine
May 16, 2011

Publisher: ESPN The Magazine LLC
Art Directors: Jason Lancaster
Editor-in-Chief: Gary Belsky (now former EIC)

“The gruesome image is stunning, I couldn’t stop looking at it. And I loved the decision to understate the size of the main cover line and put it in the yellow strip.”

- David Speranza, design director, Bicycling Magazine

 

Have a unique “cover” story? Contact associate editor Stefanie Botelho at sbotelho@red7media.com.

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Stefanie Botelho

Utne Reader To Shut Down Editorial Offices, Relocate to Ogden Headquarters

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 12/06/2011-12:14 PM


For the magazine industry, the holiday season thus far has been mixed. The first full week of December brings two pieces of sad news (not including the holiday party budget reductions reported earlier this week—the horror, the horror).

Get Married Media is closing down within upcoming weeks, and Utne Reader is relocating to publisher Ogden Publications’ headquarters in Topeka, Kansas from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The physical move may not be so bad (I hear the Kansas landscape is beautiful), but it is the staff changes and budget reduction that makes this tough news to report.

According to reports from the StarTribune, Ogden Publications is bringing bi-monthly Utne Reader under its headquarters’ roof “so the 30 Ogden employees who work on other magazines can share space and workload”. Other titles include Mother Earth News, Motorcycle Classics, Grit and Capper’s. The seven staffers currently running Utne have elected to not make the Kansas transition, Utne Reader EIC David Schimke tells FOLIO:. Two more issues will be released before the Minnesota’s office closure ensues in March.

Schimke says Ogden Publications may be planning to cut the literary digest’s budget in half, down from $500,000 to $250,000. He tells FOLIO:, "I don't think it was an editorial quality decision, it was about the affordability. Having a satellite office in this day and age is hard."

Earlier this year, Utne was ready to embrace the medium founder Eric Utne now claims to be the print magazine’s poison. Its Alt Wire service, a socially curated digital magazine built on Sociative Inc.’s R88R Platform, launched in July to a generous amount of buzz from the public. Alt Wire was designed to pick up news a handpicked group of “influencers” shared through Twitter. At the time of launch, web editor David Doody told FOLIO: the majority of content shared through the Alt Wire will be from the alternative press sector, categorized by sites like Mother Jones and The Nation.

The only upshot of this news: Utne Reader is not folding…yet. Schimke says, "There will be a smaller core staff, and will be getting support in editorial operations from other Ogden staff." Unfortunately, a new, thinner staff will most likely not lead to a higher quality of product...and a lower quality product will do nothing to improve sales.

Ogden acquired Utne Reader in June 2006. At time of purchase, Utne had a paid circ of 225,000. The magazine debuted in 1984, and now has a single copy price of $6.99.

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TJ Raphael

What a Facebook IPO Could Mean For Publishers

TJ Raphael M and A and Finance - 12/01/2011-14:09 PM


As you probably already know, if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest country in the world, more than double the size of the United States, with more than 800 million active monthly users. News circulated across the globe Tuesday that the company is seeking $10 billion in its initial public offering [IPO]. This could have huge ramifications for the media industry.

If Facebook were able to raise the $10 billion for its initial public offering (personally, I don’t think it would be hard for them to do that), the total amount of the company’s value would be boosted to around $100 billion, with about $10 billion in shares backed by equity to be circulated through the corporate casino known as the stock market.

That number represents about four times what Google’s IPO was just 7 years ago.

This news is particularly valuable for the media industry—as the company goes public, there are more avenues for media companies themselves to get a piece of the medium that so much of their content is distributed through and where so many of their loyal consumers are waiting for them.

When a company enters into the public sphere, making internal changes becomes more difficult, something that could prove beneficial for professionals working at publications. Right now, it seems that every six to eight weeks Facebook rolls out new changes to its interface and format. With slower changes, media professionals can better study and adapt to the interface, allowing for optimized content distribution and consumer interaction.

While stricter limitations on changes could bode well for media, it could also cause the platform to become obsolete: the innovation and ingenuity that has made Facebook so popular could be stifled by the views of shareholders, causing users to migrate. While that seems unlikely, think of MySpace. When something more interesting, like Facebook, came along, users jumped ship.

Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine makes an excellent point in his most recent post on the subject.

“In addition to aggressively advancing monetization, stockholders could rail against the product’s evolution,” he writes. “Changes that disrupt user behavior and ask people to be more open might cause temporary stock price dips they don’t want. Instead, they could turn Facebook into Microsoft, slowing innovation and making it vulnerable to more agile competitors.”

One disruption Constine mentions, and this reporter remembers, is when the newsfeed feature was implemented in 2006. There was outcry from those that used the site, something that individuals now actively engage with. A new set of changes that are initially rejected by the 800 million (and growing) users could cause the market to take a big hit, and cause stock holders to scale back changes that may have been just what the public was waiting for, but didn’t know it.

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Bill Mickey

For Some, Digital Revenues a Sorely Needed Boon

Bill Mickey Audience Development - 11/29/2011-11:17 AM

As far as inflection points go, this is a good one. In a Reuters story, the Financial Times Group says it's expecting content revenues (subscription and single copy sales) to at least equal, and possibly overtake, print advertising revenue for the first time this year.

During the London portion of the Reuters Global Media Summit, FT CEO John Ridding acknowledged the rough advertising climate, which has put extra pressure on digital to perform. The FT's online operation, says the report, now accounts for 30 percent of its revenues.

In the first half of this year, the group boosted profits by 10 percent. Digital subscriptions are the main driver, and were up 34 percent during the period. The FT's web app, famous for ditching Apple's app store, reached its one millionth registrant in mid-November.

It's still difficult to determine the overall size of the business, however. In other words, quickly rising digital content sales is all well and good, but is it adequately covering the decline of print ad revenues?

Meanwhile, The Economist, in which the FT Group has a fifty percent stake, says it reached 100,000 paid, digital-only circ by the half-year point—twice the amount compared to the same period last year.

Elsewhere, in what could be an aberrant blip or a sign of the times, The Atlantic says its digital advertising revenue beat print ad revenue for the month of October—51 percent of ad sales to 49 percent. That 49 percent is still a record-setting amount, however, says the magazine.

Moreover, The Atlantic's digital ad revenue for October is up 89 percent over last year and 37 percent better year-to-date.

All of this is in the face of a sharp drop in third-quarter print advertising. According to PIB numbers, consumer magazine ad pages fell 5.6 percent in the quarter compared to the same period in 2010. That decline erased the gains for the year, which is now down 1.1 percent for the first 9 months.

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JC Suares

State of the Art of the Newsstand

JC Suares Design and Production - 11/15/2011-10:28 AM

If you're in the business of creating, recreating, designing or, God forbid, rescuing magazines on life support, you need to know what the state of the art is at this point.

You don't have to look very far. The dozen or so titles that define the latest details in packaging are on your newsstand.

Some sell well and some very well. And some very well for the past few decades. Examining them amounts to a master's degree in magazine crafts from how to construct a great cover to what's sexy with fashion photography and trendy typography thrown in.

 

1. Typography
If you want to look up-to-date these days try using very, very condensed sans-serif type. NEW BEAUTY ($9.95 at your newsstand) does it very well issue after issue. However, I can't guarantee that it won't look tired by next year. It's an old rule: the trendier you are, the faster you fall.

 

 

 

 

2. Info-graphics
Thanks to the legendary Nigel Holmes (graphics "that try to explain things"), TIME made info-graphics an integral part of the magazine since it was re-designed by the great Walter Bernard over 30 years ago. The graphics are more glorious and more frequent than ever. Seems sometimes that most stories come with a chart, a table, a map or a list.

 

 

 

 

3. Front of the Book
You can pretty much figure out how a magazine is trying to position itself by the importance it puts on the pages that precede the well.How one constructs the front of the book has become a science, from the length of the pieces, to the frequency of graphics and columnists. Esquire wants to attract young men with buying power and it does it in a skillful, literate way. No junky graphics, no quick fixes. And for the first 110 pages of the current issue.

 

 

4. Back of the Book
Bloomberg BusinessWeek gets high marks for everything from the reportage to the graphics. However, the only part that doesn't take itself too seriously and is habit-forming is the Etc. section. It's fast-moving and funny and makes no pretense at being useful. Check out "Great Moments in Nepotism", the only article in the issue that will stay with you.

 

 

 

5. Cutting Edge Design
Before there was Conde Nast's Wired, there was Wired. Wired only pays homage to itself and surprises all the time. Some of the graphics need a guide book but the overall package is always amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Fashion Photography
Karl Lagerfeld's photographs of the latest couture in Harper's Bazaar are not 100 percent professional but they're straight-forward and totally up-to-date in a strange way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. The Sexiest Magazine
ESPN The Body Issue. Ordinary people who happen to be athletes who happen to be sexier than models and movie stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. How to Talk to Women
Cosmopolitan's genius at knowing how to write edgy cover lines that barely avoid the magazine from being sold in a brown bag is still on a roll after 40 years. Although some buzz words have come and gone (last year it was "revenge"), there are still always three mentions of sex.

 

 

 

 

 

9. How To Talk to a Generation
Rolling Stone, like nobody else, has always known how to earmark everything that interests its audience from music to technology to politics. To say that it's influential is an understatement (it was one of the first magazines to run Candidate Obama on the cover) and its mix of cover lines is always a good barometer of current popular culture.

 

 

 

 

10. How to Look Useful
New York is the original service magazine. It's hit some high notes before but Adam Moss has redefined the state of the art. New York is packed with useful stuff presented with obsessive detail. It's the ultimate survival guide to the City and it's thicker and sells more copies than ever before.

 

 

 

 

11. How To Wow Them on the Newsstands
Vanity Fair picks big stars and big stories and world class gossip presented in elegant ways. The magazine's covers always stand out, the main headline is usually the name of the cover subject. I've counted the words on VF covers for months at a time and the average has consistently been 70, which you might also consider the state of the art.

 

 

 

12. How to Keep Them Coming
The New Yorker, since 1925. Newsstand copies of the magazine get a flap with the headlines on it. The result is one and a half covers: a full-bleed cartoon plus all the best magazine writing in America clearly listed separately.

 

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