The 2016 Folio: 100 — Industry Influencers
Recognizing the most forward-thinking and innovative leaders in magazine media.
PUBLISHERS ARE EMBRACING MEDIUM AS A BRAND-NEUTRAL PLATFORM TO SHARE CONTENT, AND A WAY OUT OF FACEBOOK DEPENDENCY.
Medium — the long-form storytelling platform launched by former Twitter CEO Ev Williams in 2012— has attracted many magazine media and other content producers to its site as publishers look to gain readers while stepping outside of the realm of social giant like Facebook. The Economist, Yield Magazine, and Pacific Standard are just some of the magazine brands that have embraced the publishing platform.
Earlier this year, Medium even released publisher specific-functions — like branding tools that allow titles to customize their landing pages — and offered revenue programs to help publishers make money off the content they provide Medium for free.
BOOKAZINES ARE TAKING OVER THE NEWSSTAND SALES OF REGULAR-FREQUENCY ISSUES.
If the newsstand is a weakness in the magazine economy, bookazines are a bright spot. Offering high-quality paper stock, rich design, and niche appeal, bookazines aim to embrace everything consumers love about print.
This year alone saw the success of celebrity death issues, like Rolling Stone’s collector’s edition tribute to Prince, as well as sports bookazines, like AMG/Parade’s Pro Football. Even Condé Nast’s W has upped the book-like quality of their regular issues. In October, the magazine featured a women’s/men’s double issues with 11 different cover options. Collectible indeed.
Bookazines are a marked departure from one-off special issues and newsstand-only products like recipe books or crossword compilations, and prove that print can thrive on today’s newsstand — it just may be under new conditions.
MEGAN BRENNAN IS THE FIRST FEMALE POSTMASTER GENERAL IN THE HISTORY OF THE U.S.—A POSITION THAT STILL WIELDS INFLUENCE OVER THE MAGAZINE WORLD.
As both the publishing industry and USPS struggle to make ends meet, Brennan will be hugely influential in finding the balance between sustaining the public delivery service and ensuring that prices don’t sink some of its biggest clients: magazine distributors.
In April, the long sought-after rollback of the exigency surcharge — a 4.3 percent premium applied to all classes of mail, including periodicals, since January 2014 — was announced. At that time, it was estimated that the rollback would save publishers more than $60 million in postage over the next year.
But the challenges continue for Brennan and the USPS. The postal service posted a net loss of $1.57 billion for the third quarter of its fiscal year (April 1 to June 30, 2016), more than double the $586 million loss recorded over the same period in 2015.
JIGAR MEHTA LEADS DIGITAL AT THE DIGITAL MEDIA COMPANY OF THE MOMENT.
As the digital outlet of Univision — the Spanish language media network that swept up Gawker Media this summer — everyone’s waiting to see what Fusion does next. Mehta oversees Fusion’s social, audience development, and analytics teams. As the network increases its presence on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, Mehta is ramping up its digital video production, and specifically platform-native video. Mehta joined Fusion from his post as engagement lead at AJ+, part of the larger Al Jazeera Innovation network. There, he helped guide the strategy that made it one of the most-popular video publishers on Facebook — netting over 2.2 billion video views last year.
U.K.-BASED CHRONICLER COLIN MORRISON USES HIS AUTHORITATIVE AND ENTERTAINING VOICE TO CRITIQUE THE MEDIA INDUSTRY.
Morrison is an insightful and entertaining mind in a wobbly industry, and the Flashes & Flames blog serves as a forceful watchdog. There, one finds insight into Morrison’s passions, which include media and how traditional operators are addressing digital challenges; how personal vanity can spoil good businesses; acquisitions that work and those that can’t; and the U.K., U.S., and Australia. Morrison is also director and consultant for several digital, media, and information companies.