Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Magazine Trends & Industry Consolidation

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Magazine Trends & Industry Consolidation
Re: 5 Key Future Magazine Trends
Bo, I couldn't agree with you more about digital magazines and delivery of content. It's definitely the future of our business. But we're struggling to find technology to deliver content to niche audiences. I don't like the "page flip" technology that's currently being implemented by some publishers and e-media companies like XXXXXXX. The few customers I've spoken with agree - too bulky. And frankly my company is much too small to blaze a trail to create our own technology platform.
So, if we see the future but don' know how to get there, where does that leave us?
I'm struggling mightily with this, any advice?
(Submitted by a Publisher)

BoSacks Responded to Publisher thusly
Consider it this way. You are an explorer. Your journey is across an uncharted land. You know you will survive because you are alert and savvy. You don't know which technologic river to transverse or which digital desert will bring disaster. All you know is that there is a bounty at the other side. That is what Explorers do. That is what Lewis and Clark did. They made it up as they went along. And just for fun as a sidebar Lewis and Clark lost only one man, and that to a busted appendix, which would have killed the guy no matter where he was on the planet at that time.

Re: 5 Key Future Magazine Trends
Bob, great article. I saw you and your partner deliver this lecture to a packed room last month. Down here in the production trenches it gets harder every day. The pressure is intense and much less rewardng than it once was. I like the excitement of publishing, but the technology changes so fast that it is hard to keep up. And the head count keeps getting smaller. Some days I feel like it is a war zone and that there are snipers in the rafters. Every now and then somebody goes down and there are no new troops on the horizon to take their place. (Submitted by an Ad Manager)

Re: 5 Key Future Magazine Trends
Bob, great article.All the nay sayers are dead wrong. I read two digital editions every day. I read my newspapers on my laptop and I love it. Doesn't matter where I am on the planet they are alwasy there for my education and enjoyment. It is the future and I am living it now. Perhaps because I am a sales guy and travel quite a bit, it was easier for the transition, of that I do not know. My request for you is to continue to keep the industry honest and introspective. Good show!
(Submitted by a VP of Sales)

Re: The Effect of Industry Consolidation
Um, wow, the bookstore wanted me to *give* him copies of my zines for free (only paying for shipping, gee thanks!) so he could get an infinite profit margin on their sales. Well, I guess if any publishers were foolish enough to do that, it would have propped up Magpie a little longer, but it sounds like if that was his business model, he was emulating his mascot a little too well. Everyone knows that magpies *steal* their loot wherever they can get it.

Word to Magpie -- I actually have to make money on my newsstand copies, or I'm out of business, too. Advertising is a good part of my business model, but old-fashioned circulation (including the 2/3 of my copies sold on newsstand) are absolutely essential to my bottom line. I sell direct to stores, at 50% off cover, no returns, no shipping charges.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: If You Have ChaCha , You Have Answers
I just tried Cha Cha. Wow. Very clever!
They make their money from issuing two text messages for every question you ask, and taking as commission from the phone company.
Kudos to the one who figured this out.
(Submitted by a Senior Vice President Marketing)

Re: If You Have ChaCha , You Have Answers
Bob, Your newsletter is like nothing else. ChaCha indeed. Each morning I never know what to expect and you never disappoint. The fact that you managed to link ChaCha to publishing was brilliant. I would never have heard of it if not for your daily interpretation and inspiration. Fun and informative . . It doesn't get any better than that.
(Submitted by a multi-title Publisher)

Re: Condé Nast Eyes Eye-Tracking
While it has some benefit if you think that online advertising is just about branding - but if advertising is also about engagement with the audience - then the metrics have to be built right into the ad (ad widget) itself. Eye tracking was very interesting a couple of years ago but the direct measurement systems have greatly matured. You can imagine what data will be soon available from DoubleClick + Google Analytics - across ALL digital mediums.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly, I can!" Then get busy and find out how to do it. -- Theodore Roosevelt
TR was an interesting and, in some aspects, an inspirational figure. The sickly mama's boy who made himself into a man's man, a man of action is an iconic American adventure of the first water. As U.S. president, he was significantly less admirable; being the very prototype of the modern busybody bully boy chief executive. But he did get off some good sayings. Without having heard it before, at least that I remember, the one above has always been my approach to my work. And the TR quotation I have posted on my bulletin board offers similarly useful advice: "Do what you can where you are with what you've got,"
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: The New Hampshire working forest is in crisis
Sad story, but the same here in Wisconsin and we have a much bigger stake in the forest industry than New Hampshire. The whole picture across the USA is pretty sad. The Finns and Swedes are also feeling the same pinch.
(Submitted by a paper person)

Re: Now Fashion Mags Make Models 'Fatter'
So now you can have big boobs, fuller thighs, no bones showing . . . and a tiny little waist? My gosh! Why do magazines insist on manipulating women's bodies like this? I am with Susan Ringwood. The industry is missing the point so egregiously that it would be guffawable if it weren't so devastating.

. . . . Or maybe they're not missing the point at all. It seems to me that "fill out their chests" may not be such a laudable move. Could it be that "social awareness" has now become just an excuse to hide behind while you're turning women into hourglass cartoons in the hopes of selling more mags?

Re: Now Fashion Mags Make Models 'Fatter'
Bob, I don't know if I should complain or compliment. I really like the new look to your newsletter and you seem to have more great info than ever before. The snippets at the margins are a terrific new addition.

As to the retouching of magazine models . . . it has been happening since magazines were first produced. The magic is much easier now but no different than when I designed my first advertisement in the late 1960s. Please keep up the outstanding work. Oh Yes, my complaint is that your newsletter is so sticky that I read it all every morning. Coffee, Bosacks and a cheese Danish.
(Submitted by a Retired Publisher)

Re: Newsweeklies Under Constant Pressure
Oh please, this again?
Haven't we been talking about the demise of the newsweeklies since the '80's?

Also interesting that the article does not talk about The Economist. I believe that their last ABC report showed single copy sales up around 10%. And their sales are double what they were in 1999.

Could it be that Time, Newsweek and US News are having trouble because they aren't relevant? Could the relativity issue be more to the fact that those three magazines aren't well designed for today's market? Could it be that Time and Newsweek can't make up their minds if they are celebrity rags or news mags and US News can't reach a page count where the purchase of the magazine at the newsstand would justify the expense?

Could it be that The Economist is doing well because it is well written, has thoughtful articles, has a bite, an edge, a point of view, and is thick enought to justify the cash you have to lay out to buy it?

Isn't Rule #1 of magazine publishing would be to create something that your readers want?
(Submitted by Anonymous)

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