Tuesday, April 8, 2008

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Magazine Efficiency, GM Ads, Revenue and Going Green

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Magazine Efficiency, GM Ads, Revenue and Going Green

Re: What Is a Magazine?
I'm sure that everyone has a different opinion as to what a magazine is, and who knows?-maybe everyone's right.

Your definition (metered or paginated, edited, designed, date-stamped, permanent, and periodic) is very interesting. It shares some similarities with the USPS's qualifications for periodical postage, which, like yours, are based largely on form and not on content. In very broad terms, the postal regulations define a periodical by saying that it must be:

-Published at a stated frequency of at least quarterly
-Paid or requested by at least half of its subscribers
-No more than 75 percent advertising

Of course, both your definition and the USPS definition apply to newspapers as well as to magazines. Your definition could arguably apply to catalogs, too.

Call me simplistic, but I think it's more useful to think of magazines as a cross between newspapers and books. Like newspapers, they're published periodically, which imparts currency to their contents. Like books, they're dedicated to one topic, theme, or purpose, which they tackle in some depth and in an assortment of ways.

In July, 1900 Arthur Reed Kimball wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that the function of a magazine "is to interpret the significance of life as it is being lived, after it is mirrored, en passant, in the press, but before its perpetuation in the book." Kimball may have used formal prose, but he came up with an interesting way of describing the medium.

On a slightly different note, I don't know why ASME shouldn't give awards to Web sites, especially if the substrate doesn't matter.
(Submitted by a Publisher and a BoSacks Cub Reporter)

Re: Mag Industry Inches, With Some Success, Toward Efficiency
The excerpt from the circulator about sounds like it could have been submitted by me.
The first time I asked my national distributor about retailer locations it took two weeks and several follow ups to get a response. Later when I offhandedly asked about nationwide retail locations, the ND did admit that they had the info but couldn't give it to me unless I pay an annual fee for use of their data sharing software. Which still does not pull complete retailer details. I felt I had to back them into a corner by saying that my company pays them to distribute my magazines but they cannot tell me where they distribute them to.

It seems like an unbelievable runaround. In this techno age of information when we can seemingly push a button and get a detail of the national debt we still cannot get real time sales data or distribution information. The real time data would better drive a Publisher's marketing initiatives as we would more easily be able to see where our best sales are coming from.

If this is remedied by SBT, then I feel we should move forward with it. From the publisher's perspective we still need to tread lightly as we have not seen all of the pitfalls here, but to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the future isn't going to help anyone. Yes, there are many middlemen here in the whole distribution scheme, but it seems as if they are a "necessary evil". But like it or not we are all on the same team. We are all behind the counter waiting for the consumer to purchase our magazines. It is unfortunate, however, when the $2 to $7 are passed across the counter everyone is scrambling, clawing and scratching to get the biggest piece of the pie.

It is also unfortunate that I can foresee that the increase in costs, the lack of immediate data and slowed sales will drive a Publisher further away from print and closer to the web.
(Submitted by a Production Manager)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: GM rethinking about Mags and Branding
Bob, The targeted marketing campaigns by GM are very effective, I know this because I'm selling new GM cars and trucks after being laid off from my production operations job. GM is marketing to all levels of past and future consumers. I have seen internet coupons and printed coupons at the dealership. The marketing campaign is delivering these targeted offers how ever the consumer wants them. In addition they are in newspaper print ads and on the TV. The sales team is allowed to call these people for a follow up call.
(Submitted by a former Production Director)

RE: Husni Vs. BoSacks - The Whole Experience vs. the Hole Experience
Bob, I've been a long reader, studier, and huge fan of print magazines. I've tracked their successes, their failures, I've tried to educate my customers about their trends to better serve the needs of publishers and mag advertisers. I've been fiercely loyal to print. I've purchased hundreds of newsstand copies to the tune of thousands of dollars (and NOT on an expense report). My very livelihood depends on the success of magazines. I've worked to convince advertisers of the importance of the tangibility of that printed piece.

You know what? I haven't bought a magazine for 10 months.

I realize now that I didn't buy them for the paper, or the convenience. I bought them for the content, and I found a better way to get much higher quality content. Jezebel.com has replaced any random women's title (my intro was from an ADAge. Com article). I've literally replaced every bit of content that I once got from mags with free content on the web.

Now, I still buy print. Mostly books (lots of engagement hours for the money) and newspapers (lots of info for the amount of money) when I travel. Magazines fill neither niche . . . high cost for the time of engagement provided. The exception, of course are magazines like Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Esquire and Atlantic Monthly. And I feel THIS is the category of mag that will survive. Keep up the good work!
(Submitted by a Vocation Unknown)

Re: How Eco-Friendly Can Green Mags Really Be?
How many puglishers who use recycled paper in the print process, use paper proofs in the proofing cycle? GREEN????
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: How Eco-Friendly Can Green Mags Really Be?
It is not possible to be Green and be a print publisher. You can write about green initiatives, and proper business thinking, but you cannot be a green print publisher. The carbon footprint is impossible to justify. You can have a smaller footprint than another publisher, but the difference is hardly noticeable.
(Submitted by a multi-title Director of MFG)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Biggest Ad Revenue Plunge in 50 Years
Your faith in the future is not only inspiring but also on the mark.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: MPA Retail Conference and Time Inc's Green Thinking.
So where is the new model or opportunity of selling magazines on a direct basis - no returns . . . SBT will do some of that but what about selling, packaging combos or multi copies, distributing copies for further readership instead of shredding so many copies - many of which have never seen the light of day.

I could package 5 issues of a celebrity title for $10 a summer pack but there is no outlet . . . or the cost of the nat Dist, Wholesaler, retailer eats up the cost of packaging and marketing . . . We need to use our product to market the category - encourage returns for further readership and get ABC on board . . . . but it seems it is too expensive to get them back.

RE: MPA Retail Conference and Time Inc's Green Thinking.
Hello, I am surprised by the figures you mention : " We print 10 and sell 3 " How can that be ? Is it not rather that 10 is printed and 3 are unsold?
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

BoSacks Reply to the Paper Person
No, I am sorry to tell you that we print 10 sell 3 and 7are unsold. This is the newsstand average. It is real and has been that way for a very long time. That is a huge problem in the 21st century.

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