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Traveling the World One New Magazine at a Time… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

July 31, 2014

When many people travel they attempt to learn words and phrases from their host countries in order to communicate and understand the local citizens better – and while that is a most noble and natural cause; when Mr. Magazine™ travels, not only is communication a priority, but also the word “new” is paramount on his list. Whether it’s nouvelle, noveau, jadīd or neu; Mr. Magazine™ revels in the many ways to say the word new.

husniinriga At the newsstands in Riga, Latvia.

Why, you might ask? Because new inserted before the word magazine is an exciting prospect to me and when you put the word stand behind it (OK – plus an extra “s”), the word newsstand is born. And I ask you; what could be more thrilling than new magazines and newsstands in foreign countries?

I can’t think of anything.

While most people when traveling to foreign lands are picking up a guide or a map to the best museums or the best places to visit, such as the National Museum of Beirut, Belem Tower in Lisbon or Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr. Magazine™ is searching for newsstands, asking locals to show him where the best in the city he’s visiting is located and the quickest route to get there.

And visiting I did. In the last five months or so, my travels took me to Cape Town, South Africa…Riga, Latvia…Paris, France…Amsterdam, The Netherlands….Lisbon, Portugal…Helsinki, Finland…Munich, Germany and Beirut, Lebanon to name a few.

I have delivered presentations and seminars ranging from trends in magazines to the need to place the customer or the audience first in these wonderful countries and while the presentations and the meetings went very well, it is that newsstand street education that was the secret ingredient that held all the seminars and presentations together.

A newsstand in Riga No shortage of magazines in Riga, Latvia.

There is a lot to be learned from a visit to a newsstand anywhere in the world, they remain the best reflector of any society and the latest magazines found there are the new blood of any newsstand. And as I traveled the globe this summer, it dawned on me that this revelation must be shared to be appreciated. So typically, I began to buy these new magazines, searching nooks and crannies of cities so beautiful, they took my breath away, to find sometimes quaint, sometimes immense newsstands across the world. And from my determined hunts, I gathered some of the finest and most creative ink on paper products that I have seen in a long time.

So for your viewing pleasure, take a look at the treasures I brought back from a few of the world’s newsstands and…Vive le pouvoir des revues imprimées!

Until my ship sails again…
Mr. Magazine™
© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014.

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Coming Home: God Bless Magazines…One. A Magazine and Bella Grace: Two Blessed Beauties

July 29, 2014

samirinlebanon As some of you may know, I took a much-needed vacation during the month of July to visit family (and newsstands) in Lebanon. It was nice to find upon my return to the office that the publishing world continued on without Mr. Magazine™, even though I’m sure it was extremely difficult – please note the wry tone clearly audible in that last statement. The reason I know magazines went on without my normal eagle-eye upon them is due to two pieces of very pleasant reading material that were amongst my mountain of mail.

The first is called One. A Magazine. To explain the uniqueness of this particular ink on paper product, allow me to quote from the introductory letter that I received along with the magazine:

One. A Magazine, the magazine for creatives in advertising and design, has announced that it is transitioning from an online publication to an all-new medium. The new format, a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically derived from wood, rags or grasses, called “paper,” will be launched at The One Club Gallery in Manhattan on July 16.

One-62 Notice the magazine’s own sense of wry humor in describing the move from digital to print. The description is priceless. And while Yash Egami, Director of Content of The One Club made it clear in the letter that print would be their main focus, he did say they would continue to publish an online version temporarily to satisfy the digerati.

The intro letter uses tongue-in-cheek humor to poke fun at the new “8.1” version of the magazine, calling on the array of boastful features it offers: from the crinkling and crackling sound of turning pages to the fact that this new version can be read, bent, folded rolled or turned into a paper airplane if the customer should want.

The One Club, producer of the prestigious One Show and Creative Week, is the world’s foremost non-profit organization recognizing creative excellence in advertising and design. The One Show honors the best work across all disciplines, including Advertising, Interactive, Design and Branded Entertainment.

As I perused the simplistic artistry of the premiere issue, I realized that print is the most interesting of bedfellows; nowhere online could I ever experience the sensation this folded and stapled product evoked within me, nowhere. And while unconventional in its presentation, it was totally mesmerizing within the covers. One. A Magazine basically rocks.

Bella Grace-61 The second surprise that sent a breath of fresh air blowing my way was Bella Grace, the latest contribution from Stampington & Company. With the tagline: Life’s A Beautiful Adventure and a first cover that certainly sat out to prove that fact; Bella Grace is one beautiful magazine. No one could say it better than Christen Olivarez, Editor-in-Chief:

Bella Grace is meant to be savored. It is meant to get tossed in your beach bag, or tucked under your pillow to enjoy before bed. It is meant to be read over and over again. It is meant to inspire you to see the beauty and the magic that surround you, no matter where you are. It is meant to be written in and dog-eared It is meant to accompany you on this beautiful adventure called life.

Bella Grace is a 160-page book-a-zine which is quite the departure for Stampington & Company, who is known for their arts and crafts-type publications. Throughout the pages of the first issue there are striking photographs and beautifully-penned stories that touch the heart and soul of the reader.

There are unique features to this beauty as well such as a folding book-jacket cover, more than 12 thought-provoking prompts with worksheets, where readers can fill in their responses directly on the page; and zero outside advertising. Bella Grace is scheduled to hit newsstands beginning August 1.

The feel and touch of this magazine is unbelievable. When your fingertips flex across the pages, the sensation is full and complete, an experience not easily forgotten. Bella Grace is exquisite.

Sharing these two wonderful additions to the family of print with you has been not only a pleasure, but an honor. My advice: get your own copies as soon as possible.

photo Well, the vacation is over and we had a wonderful time. But it’s great to be back at home. And to steal a line from the August cover of Esquire Magazine: God Bless Magazines.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014.

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The Most Effective Use of Checkout Space. Saving the Newsstands with Mr. Magazine’s™ MagNet Exclusive Series of Interviews with Luke Magerko.

July 7, 2014

Picture 10 This week we focus on the most effective use of checkout space for the publishing industry, analyzing the value of multiple titles sharing checkout space, and how this can benefit small publishers and large publishers equally.

YOU WANTED TO ADDRESS ANOTHER READER’S COMMENTS THIS WEEK?
A newsstand consultant told me that “none of your analytics matter until you can solve merchandiser challenge.” One quick note: a merchandiser is responsible for placing magazines on the racks in-store.

I am frustrated by the defeatism of this comment. While publishers have no control over merchandisers, all is not lost. Publishers should influence what titles are shipped, and should work closely with wholesalers on store-level product mix.
This is why MagNet recommends a profitability approach to distribution, especially for titles which are part of a checkout rotation.

WHAT IS A CHECKOUT ROTATION?
Publishers like Meredith and Time Inc. rotate multiple special interest publications (“SIP”) through checkout space. Publishers use this rotation to ensure the product remains fresh. Publishers give the consumer an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of product which changes on weekly basis.

DOES THIS TECHNIQUE WORK?

Yes. Meredith SIPs and Time Inc. Home Entertainment SIPs rank in the top 15 of all publications based on profitability.
IS IT FAIR TO COMPARE AN SIP ROTATION OF MULTIPLE TITLES TO AN INDIVIDUAL TITLE?
Not necessarily, but title rotations are quite beneficial to the retailer, and these rotations are rewarded with checkout space.

HOW DOES THE RETAILER BENEFIT?
As I mentioned in our last session, checkout space is not optimized when a title can remain in a location for extended periods. The consumer shops multiple times a week. If they do not take action in the first or second visit, it is fair to assume they will probably not purchase the product in the third or fourth visit. Retailers benefit from the fresh product and enhanced sales title rotations bring.

http://mrmagazine.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/single-copies-at-the-check-out-and-the-mid-level-publishers-a-solution-to-a-major-dilemma-a-mr-magazine-magnet-exclusive/


IS THE CONSULTANT RIGHT? WHAT IF A MERCHANDISER MAKES THE WRONG DECISION AND REMOVES A GOOD PRODUCT AND INSERTS A POOR PERFORMING PRODUCT?

It happens all the time, but that is something a publisher cannot control. A publisher, however, can control what is sent to the merchandiser. This has been a debate in larger publishing houses, and needs to be explained to smaller publishers interested in checkouts.

WHAT IS THE DEBATE?
Publishers attempt to influence the merchandiser’s choice of product through communication. Two examples: (1) color coding and (2) rotation schedules.

For example, a red dot on the spine of a magazine might imply this title should be replaced in favor of green-dotted titles. Publishers also send rotation schedules, a title-specific guide for the merchandisers to follow when a new product arrives.

THAT SOUNDS CONFUSING!

It is both confusing and wrong. Publishers who try to influence merchandisers this way make the tactical error of leaving the decision in the merchandiser’s hands. Our approach determines which titles are successful in a store, and removes those titles which are not, completely removing the merchandiser choice.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A TITLE IS SUCCESSFUL?
Profitability by store. A publisher who tries to influence the merchandiser assumes the strongest national-selling title should have a higher position than a lower-selling national title. Every title has successful stores and unsuccessful stores, even the best title in the rotation should not be in every store.

IS THERE AN EXAMPLE OF THIS?

This is a top-20 publisher with greater than 25,000 checkout pockets, rotating six titles through these pockets. The publisher’s strategy is to rotate most, if not all titles, through each checkout pocket. Let’s look at the profitability results of some individual stores in Walmart Canada:
Picture 21

All titles are profitable in stores 1122, 3075, and 3076. This is wonderful news and needs no further analysis. However, Title 5 is highly unprofitable in store 1094. There is no benefit to shipping Title 5 into this store.

Publishers can eliminate merchandiser choice by not shipping Title 5 to the store. It is impossible for the merchandiser to make a bad decision if the poor performing product is not available.

In the case of stores 1145 and 1149, most titles are unprofitable. What would happen if this store only received two or three titles as opposed to all six? One can assume there would be some slight sales increase for the remaining titles but the publisher (and wholesaler, by the way) would gain overall profitability.

THAT IS A VERY INTERESTING USE OF SPACE FOR LARGE PUBLISHERS. HOW WOULD THAT WORK FOR SMALLER PUBLISHERS?

In the last newsletter, I stated some mid-sized publishers could benefit from following the SIP model. Today, I implore small publishers to work together combining their magazines into one category-specific checkout offering. Many smaller titles, when combined with other smaller titles are in fact quite powerful and are worthy of checkout space.

THIS SOUNDS VERY COMPLEX TO ME!

It is a bit complex, but MagNet looks forward to offering advice to smaller publishers about how they can play at checkout. The most important note is that these publishers have to think about their competition a bit differently, and retailers have to think about their checkout space a bit differently.

WILL THERE BE PUSHBACK?

One senior level publishing executive bemoaned that the problem with this industry is poor checkout productivity. Another account representative pointed out checkouts are locked down because some large publishers agree to pay for space only if their product is represented at checkout in every store. This is not helpful in making the industry more productive at retail.

MagNet provides an objective look at each title’s profitability at checkout, and provides alternative titles not currently being considered but are valuable to the retailer.

The era of a mass checkout planogram with 15-20 titles in every store needs to end sooner rather than later. The checkout needs to become a bazaar worthy of the audience these publishers target. We look forward to leading that conversation.

THANK YOU LUKE.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Mr. Magazine™ Blog is taking the first break since its inception in March of 2007. We will be back at the end of July. Enjoy your summer.

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Finding the Right Balance Between Print and Digital: The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with the New CDS Global President & CEO Debra Janssen.

July 3, 2014


“The whole world doesn’t tip over to online or digital and there’s something about holding that magazine with the content and the experience you have with it in your hands that clearly consumers still enjoy.” Debra Janssen

Picture 20 CDS Global is the leading provider of end-to-end business process outsourcing. With more than 40 years of expertise, the company assists and supports brands across industries, including media, nonprofits, utilities and consumer products. Hearst Magazines, CDS Global owner, recently announced that Debra Janssen, former COO would step up to the position of President and CEO of the company. Former Chairman and CEO Malcolm Netburn will retain the title Chairman of CDS Global.

I recently spoke with Debra to get her thoughts on the future of the media business, finding the right balance between print and digital and a host of other topics that shed enormous insight into how CDS Global is paving the way for a successful and bright tomorrow for Hearst and all of their clients.

So sit back and be prepared to learn how CDS Global allows clients to focus on creating great content and raising support for their mission, while they work on audience connection and interactivity. Enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Debra Janssen, CEO and President, CDS Global.

But first the sound-bites…

On whether we are living in the best of times or the worst of times: Oh the best of times, definitely. I spent 30 years in the payments world and they’re so many parallels to my current scenario.

On how she feels the industry has changed after the 2008 recession and the technological explosion:
Well definitely the new technology has I think diced up or split up the consumer’s attention span because they’re so many different devices and access methods and so much competition for the consumer’s eyes.

On the major stumbling blocks the industry is facing:
I think it’s finding the right balance of print and digital for the subscriber audience.

On the number and significance of CDS Global’s digital-only customers:
Very few. Six titles only. Because they know how the print side works and they do it very well.

On the future of CDS Global:
Speaking specifically for CDS Global; obviously, we have a very strong core business, so we need to maintain that business, supporting those 450 plus titles.

On her most pleasant surprise since joining the CDS Global team:
Actually, it’s been the strength of the Hearst Corporation and our private companies, so it’s not as easy to do your due diligence when you join a private company. It’s really been impressive.

On whether she believes that one day digital’s revenues will surpass print:
It’s like I said about checks; I don’t think they’ll die in my lifetime and I don’t think print magazines will either.

On what keeps her up at night:
Obviously staying a step ahead of your clients, whether that’s technology-build or we’re doing a lot in terms of trying to learn how to use our data in a collaborative way to help our publishers find new subscribers, so I think there’s still work there to be done.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Debra Janssen, CEO & President, CDS Global…

Samir Husni: Being promoted to president and CEO of CDS Global must have been very exciting for you. And as Charles Dickens wrote: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Do you think we’re living in the best or the worst of times today?

debra-janssen-cdsglobal Debra Janssen: Oh the best of times, definitely. I spent 30 years in the payments world and they’re so many parallels to my current scenario. In the payments world it was the pacing of physical paper check into an electronic transaction and obviously, we’re sorting out print and digital and it’s great. It’s an exciting time to find the right balance. I’ve been with CDS just a little over two years and it’s a great time to be a part of it and help figure out the balances.

Samir Husni: In 2008 when the economy busted and technology burst onto the scene; how do you feel the business changed after that?

Debra Janssen: Well definitely the new technology has I think, diced up or split up the consumer’s attention span because they’re so many different devices and access methods and so much competition for the consumer’s eyes. It really makes you stop and think. And I’ll say this several times: finding the right balance and then too it’s all about consumer choice. They’ve got so many different distractions now that trying to be the one thing that grabs their attention for longer than 20 seconds is a challenge these days. I always use a very similar parallel from my experience in the payments industry; I don’t think checks will retire in my lifetime and I think consumers have different preferences, different rhythms and cadences of their life that they fit their technology into or out of, if you will.

And the 30 years that I was in payments we never retired a single form of payment; we just kept adding more ways that people could pay. I think there are a lot of parallels to my current job and some people are going to continue to be old school or prefer to use the same methods they always have, some are going to dabble in the new, some are going to fall over right away into the new, but it never really tips over in one fell swoop. But clearly all the technology teams have us competing for consumer’s attention.

Samir Husni: The first thing that came to mind when you were talking about that is Harvard is the oldest university in the United States. So you have to choose between going to the old school or the new school. Old school does not necessarily mean bad school.

Debra Janssen: No, not all. I think a lot of it comes down to what consumers or subscribers of magazines are comfortable with. I tell people that I’m a little split myself right now. Unfortunately I think I’m reading less of my magazines because I’m trying to look at them in a variety of places, where in the past I had my print copies that came to the house and I could kind of monitor and police myself, making sure that I was getting through them each month. And I’ve tried different titles and things just because of my client base and wanting to see how they were doing with digital and I have to go to more places now to stay current on all my titles. I think some days I’m further behind now than before when I had my print copies.

Samir Husni: What do you think are the major stumbling blocks facing our industry today and specifically your industry?

Debra Janssen: As I said before, I think it’s finding the right balance of print and digital for the subscriber audience. Clearly there’s a ton of power in the content that I look at; we have 450 plus titles that we support and you look at the diversity across the titles and it’s absolutely outstanding and very compelling. I think trying to find that right balance so that you don’t lose your subscribers is important. And clearly if the content is good, the method in which they consume it is a personal choice.

As I look across all our customers, they’re in different phases of sorting it out and we have some of the larger publishers who have more resources and capacity to try more things and we have a lot of single-title publications; it’s just more challenging for them. People put their content out and they try to figure out how to be digital, so a lot of them lean on us significantly for best practices and insights that are coming from other publishers that we have across our entire book of business and I think getting there fast on as many fronts as you can to keep the subscribers engaged.

Samir Husni: Of those 450 plus customers that you have; how many are digital-only publications?

Debra Janssen: Very few. Six titles only. Because they know how the print side works and they do it very well. We have some very efficient clients and that’s where most of their subscriber base still is today and it’s like I said, not everybody gave up their checkbook and went to online payments, very similar parallels here, it’ll get sorted out over time, but it won’t tip over.

Samir Husni: With your experience seeing the entire client base; are you seeing a significance of digital subscriptions?

Debra Janssen: No, the majority of ours is still print-based.

Samir Husni: As you look toward the future; first, what do you see? And then, how are you preparing to meet that future as the new CEO of CDS Global?

Debra Janssen: Speaking specifically for CDS Global; obviously, we have a very strong core business, so we need to maintain that business, supporting those 450 plus titles. And we’ve done it for 42 years and we like to think we’re very good at it. We have a very high percentage of clients who have been with us for many years and we support across our entire business 159 million consumers on behalf of our clients. And we need to continue to do that very well day in and day out. And I’m highly confident because in the two years that I’ve been here I look at how well we do that.
Picture 10
(Chart provided by CDS Global)

The other opportunity that we have as a company which started several years back was to diversify our CDS Global business, so we have moved into the non-profit vertical most successfully. We have several large non-profits that were really repurposing the competencies that we’ve used in our media business, so managing a donor in this case, taking their money and processing their payments and then having an ongoing relationship with them. And so we have American Red Cross, American Heart, Make-A-Wish, Salvation Army; I think we have eight of the top 50 non-profits that we’re doing business with.

And then the other vertical that we’ve moved into is electronic payments for utilities, for bill payment. And they’re extensions of our capabilities we already have today. If you look at the number of bills, invoices and marketing solicitations that we’ve done in the media and publishing vertical, very applicable to other verticals, so we have a lot of very exciting things going on beyond media to really just leverage the competencies that we think we do very well. And it’s a nice way for us to grow our business outside the media vertical.

Samir Husni: You’ve been with CDS a little over two years; what has been the most pleasant surprise, besides being named CEO, for you?

Debra Janssen: Actually, it’s been the strength of the Hearst Corporation and our private companies, so it’s not as easy to do your due diligence when you join a private company. It’s really been impressive. It’s a very well-run company, very good rigor; they’ve made a lot of smart bets, in terms of diversifying their portfolio, obviously with the outsourcing business that we represent, but they’ve got cable and television; they’re now investing heavily in the healthcare technology space and newspapers; it’s just a fascinating organization and while it’s big in size, it’s very personable, in terms of its approach to working with its business units. So it’s really been pleasant to see and really great as the leader of one of their business units to be a part of the organization. That’s something that I’ve kind of uncovered as I’ve been in the company, because that’s hard to find out before you join.

Samir Husni: And what has been the most frustrating moment?

Debra Janssen: It takes a lot to frustrate me. So they’re haven’t been that many frustrating moments, maybe challenging. One of the challenging parts of our business is we have a lot of customers that are single-title magazines and they just have a whole different challenge, in terms of not only surviving who they are today, but migrating into the digital world. And that’s a challenge for us. But we ride the spectrum of size of clients. We have all the big guys and then we have quite a variety from there down. It’s good work, it’s just challenging because their requirements and needs are very different.

Samir Husni: We talked about the fact that we live in a digital age, but at the same time we’re still making more money from print than digital. Do you think that will change in our lifetime?

Debra Janssen: It’s like I said earlier and I’m a little biased coming out of my 30 years of payments, checks are still written, there are just occasions where that’s just easier for a consumer, or someone doesn’t take a card, that’s less and less, but still 46% of the payments made in the U.S. today are still cash-based. That kind of tells you that the whole world doesn’t tip over to online or digital and there’s something about holding that magazine with the content and the experience you have with it in your hands that clearly consumers still enjoy. It’s like I said about checks; I don’t think they’ll die in my lifetime and I don’t think print magazines will either. They’re there for different audiences and obviously it’s a core part of how we make money, so selfishly we hope it stays strong, but at the same time we need to be cultivating and expanding our digital services and offerings because there will be parts of our audience and customer base that want that. So we really need to ride on both sides.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Debra Janssen: Not a lot. I’ve got a great team and we try to stay very focused so that we’re not lying awake at night. But I think in general, obviously staying a step ahead of your clients, whether that’s technology-build or we’re doing a lot in terms of trying to learn how to use our data in a collaborative way to help our publishers find new subscribers, so I think there’s still work there to be done. And clearly with a 159 million consumers in our database we have a lot of opportunity to help our clients. So it’s really just staying a step ahead of them and helping then to find ways to grow their business.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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First Half of 2014 Ends with a Bang! 123 New Magazines Launched + 311 Book-a-Zines.

June 30, 2014

The first half of 2014 ended up with a bang. More new magazines and book-a-zines arrived at the marketplace this first half compared with the same period in 2013.

A total of 434 new magazines arrived on the marketplace divided into 123 new titles published with an intended frequency of four times a year or more and 311 book-a-zines.

The aforementioned numbers reflect an increase of 23 titles from the 100 regular frequency titles published in the first half of 2013 and 10 more book-a-zines from the 301 book-a-zines published in the same period in 2013.

The variety of the titles continue to be amazing, even for one who has followed this industry since 1978. Below are a few late arrivals…

Animal Tales-16All thiings sports-18Bizou-19LGBT Wed-17New American-15Underground-13

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Parents Latina: Born from the Womb of Data — Reaching Hispanic Millennial Mothers. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Carey Witmer, President – Meredith Parents Network & Enedina Vega, Vice-President/Publisher– Meredith Hispanic Media.

June 30, 2014

“We have a lot of data that shows in most instances print is a very important component to the media mix.” Carey Witmer

Parents Latina Cover Parents Latina, a new English-language magazine focused on serving U.S. Hispanic millennial mothers, one of the fastest-growing demographics in the United States, is about to take its place on the newsstands and the powers-that-be behind the new print product are enthusiastic and energetic about consumer reception.

Carey Witmer is President of Meredith Parents Network and Enedina Vega is Vice-President and Publisher, Meredith Hispanic Media and both women are confident the magazine will be a great addition to the Meredith portfolio, so much so that Parents Latina will have a guaranteed rate base of 700,000.

As the most respected brand in the lifestyle category focusing on moms, the Parents brand, along with Meredith Hispanic Media, plan on Parents Latina serving a unique niche of millennial, Hispanic moms across the country.

So sit back and get ready to see why the Parents brand is still going strong today and launching a print product that’s sure to be a success…the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Carey Witmer & Enedina Vega – Parents Latina Magazine.

But first the sound-bites…


On why the Parents brand is launching Parents Latina with a guaranteed rate base of 700,000:
We saw the changing demographic and that really led us to launching what we’re launching. We were seeing what was happening with the language questions we were getting from marketers and what we were observing from our consumers as well.

On the unique selling feature of Parents Latina:
There are some nuances just in terms of how she feels about family, which varies somewhat from the general market. So she does have specific needs that we will be addressing.

On whether they’re looking for a new audience or to just add to the consumer reception they already have:
I would say that we are looking to expand the data base of women that we reach.

On the stumbling blocks that they’ve faced during the preparation of the launch:
The hurdle really is to educate the advertising community and the agencies about the nuances of the Hispanic market because as marketers it’s easy for us to put people into silos and to think of segments as being homogeneous and we know that the Hispanic market is not.

On whether the message is on selling the power of print:
We have done quite a bit of research on Moms and media, so we have a lot of research that shows that this is a market segment that consumes media and it’s really not a question of digital versus print or broadcast; this is a multi-channel information-consuming market segment.

On their most pleasant surprise during this venture:
I like the phone calls; people calling us, that’s hard to come by. And from big companies that matter.

On what keeps Carey Witmer up at night: For me, it’s discovering what the next big thing is that’s going to matter to the consumer and therefore matter to Meredith.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Carey Witmer & Enedina Vega – Parents Latina Magazine…

Samir Husni: Can you tell me about the birth of the idea; what did you do before you decided to have a Parents Latina?

Enedina Vega: We worked on the strategy for almost a year, just looking at what all of the company’s assets were when it came to the Hispanic population across the company’s portfolio. We worked to identify who was in our data base and who we were reaching across digital.

And as a result we’ve found that we are reaching 6.6 million unique viewers monthly who are Latina across the Meredith data base and that we’re reaching these women with content that was both in English and in Spanish. And that’s a pretty significant number.

And then of course, the opportunity that we uncovered with this particular market’s segment: Latina millennial moms in print.

We really worked for a period of time to identify where the pockets and the assets were within the company that we could monetize and take to market in a unique way. And part of that was really focusing on our data base, the 6.6 million that we have in digital and now Parents Latina.

And we looked at a number of different, once we focused in on something in the parenthood space; we looked at many different iterations of what it could be and what we would call it. We had long meetings about what the name would be and then finally we agreed on the Parents name and we did some consumer testing and it just came back so incredibly positive. And we thought it would, we weren’t sure, but we thought that would be the case, so that really led us to where we are today.

Samir Husni: And what is the launch date?

Carey Witmer: The first issue will be out in, hopefully, April, 2015.

Samir Husni: Why now? Why are you launching a 700,000 guaranteed rate base magazine, Parents Latina, in today’s marketplace?

CareyWitmer_8.12Carey Witmer: We believe that there’s a real opportunity here. And Enedina and I and several others have been looking at this opportunity for quite some time. We were thinking about doing something last year, but I’m glad we waited to really understand marketplace. We saw the changing demographic and that really led us to launching what we’re launching. We were seeing what was happening with the language questions we were getting from marketers and what we were observing from our consumers as well. We wanted to put our toe in the water, in terms of an English-oriented magazine for Hispanics. And we examined the categories where we thought we had a lot of credibility and where there was room to play.

And then we began to study what was happening with the second generation Hispanics in that 18 to 30 year old segment, coupled with the fact that we have this incredible, iconic trusted brand with over 90% awareness in the Parents name. It just became really clear that Parents Latina was, we thought, clearly a winner.

Vega, Enedina 8.13_3 Enedina Vega: In spite of the downturn in the economy and the recession from 2008, the Latina market is a very dynamic growing market. So it’s sort of the bright spot for the American economy today, if you will. It’s kind of going counterintuitive, because it is the population segment that’s growing and fielding the middle class.

And one of the other things that we’re seeing, in terms of media consumption is that this consumer base does consume media and she does read magazines.

Samir Husni: Can you tell me what’s going to be the unique selling feature of Parents Latina and what it will offer the Hispanic second generation that they can’t get from any other source?

Carey Witmer: We believe that by and large the English-dominant millennial mom is an individual who primarily is born in the United States and we believe her experience as a bilingual, bi-cultural mom is different from that of other moms. And there really is no publication at this point, not even significantly digital, or broadcast that addresses her uniqueness.

So she is someone who is living her life in two cultures and balancing that, to some degree, in two languages. So there are some unique opportunities to address in what she’s going through.

There are some nuances just in terms of how she feels about family, which varies somewhat from the general market. There are health concerns that face her that are a little different than the general market. So she does have specific needs that we will be addressing.

Samir Husni: Do you think that those 700,000 Hispanic women are adding to the 100 million women data base that Meredith has or they’re already there, getting the other Hispanic magazines that Meredith already publishes? Are you looking for a new audience? Or is this audience already part of your data base?

Carey Witmer: I would say that we are looking to expand the data base of women that we reach, there may be a small degree of duplication, but the opportunity is to expand and reach women who we don’t have as part of our Meredith family.

Samir Husni: What have been some of the stumbling blocks that you have encountered concerning this launch?

Carey Witmer: Well, most people are excited and people who are in the know completely understand the opportunity and are looking for content that is being directed to these millennial moms who are English-preferred, so the reaction has been great.

The hurdle really is to educate the advertising community and the agencies about the nuances of the Hispanic market because as marketers it’s easy for us to put people into silos and to think of segments as being homogeneous and we know that the Hispanic market is not. And it’s really just getting the message out and educating the clients.

Samir Husni: Is part of that message selling them on the power of print? Everybody tells us that we live in a digital age and I agree; we are in a digital age, but what’s the power of a printed magazine in 2015? And how can you sell that?

Carey Witmer: That’s a big question. We have done quite a bit of research on Moms and media, so we have a lot of research that shows that this is a market segment that consumes media and it’s really not a question of digital versus print or broadcast; this is a multi-channel information-consuming market segment. We have a lot of data that shows in most instances print is a very important component to the media mix. And we feel very confident just on the basis of the number of advertisers that we do have across our Parents network print portfolio that there is enough interest and commitment to the medium that makes this viable.

Samir Husni: It seems that we have to prove that print is a viable medium quite often due to the “digital” age, while people are picking up digital without even thinking about a return on their investment. So with that in mind, what is the power of the brand Parents?

Carey Witmer: Well, we have our portfolio, which is a beautiful thing for us. We’ve worked really hard to organize it in such a way that we have something for everyone across all platforms.

We have American baby, which is pregnancy and newborn and the compliment to that is a combination of Ser Padres Espera and Ser Padres Bebé. We have Parents, of course, which is the mega brand. We have Family Fun and that is a different kind of brand, but it’s in the group as well and then Ser Padres and now Parents Latina.

So we have total market, we have in-language, we have the English solution for the English dominant Hispanic and optimally we’ll be able to calibrate the circulation levels of the entire portfolio based on how the population changes over the course of time. We feel like the strategy is really smart.

Enedina Vega: And another thing is that a lot of the research that’s out there now has surprisingly reinforced the fact that the millennial generation is actually embracing magazines as much as previous generations.

Carey Witmer: The recent MRI saw a pretty sizeable uptick in millennial to our reading print magazines. We have some circulation programs that we are doing with the Parents and American Baby brands that are going quite well that we’re excited about.

We think that motherhood is a real entry point for millennials into print; it’s when she needs trusted, branded content for the health and wellbeing of her family. So that’s one of the drivers for her to come to our portfolio.

Samir Husni: Do you think it’s better for the brand Parents to be almost the only player on the marketplace now? Have you benefited from that or how do you handle it when people come up to you and say, “It’s either Parents or nothing?”

Carey Witmer: There are lots of different ways; a lot of Pure Plays that are digital. So there’s a lot of competition, but it’s not just in print. We’re not the only game in town, but we believe we’re the most effective.

It’s interesting too; we’ve had some discussions with various digital websites over the last several years in our space and many of those in the parenthood/mom space, many of those Pure Plays are looking for a print solution because clients are looking for that 360 surround sound and of course we have that.

Samir Husni: When you were talking about all the different brands; it’s as though I’m hearing about all these titles that appear to be adjacencies around Parents, which seems to be the core of the brand and then everything else is surrounding it.

Carey Witmer: This is just really another edition to the group of offerings that we have that does include digital and data base marketing and all of our other capabilities across the company, including video and mobile, so it’s really an invigorated way when it comes to overall parenting content for the Parents network at Meredith.

Samir Husni: Steve Lacy (Meredith CEO) told me at one time that, I think he was referring to Better Homes and Gardens; that only 2% of revenues were coming from digital and 98% from print. Is it the same at Parents?

Carey Witmer: Our digital is more than 2%, I don’t know when he said that, but for Parents.com it’s a big contributor to the overall portfolio, but make no mistake print does the heavy lifting in terms of the revenue generation for this group.

Samir Husni: What was the most pleasant surprise when you announced the launch of this magazine?

Carey Witmer: I like the phone calls; people calling us, that’s hard to come by. And from big companies that matter.

Samir Husni: Cosmopolitan launched Cosmo Latina and it was a success and they increased the frequency, any chance that you’ll go from quarterly later to something more frequent? Is there a strategic plan? Is quarterly just the beginning?

Carey Witmer: What we do know is that we’re going to calibrate frequency and distribution optimally to what we’re seeing in the consumer marketplace.

Enedina Vega: And with the Meredith model, the consumer drives everything at the end of the day. So we’ll watch that and monitor it and make decisions based on that. We’ve done that with the other brands that you’ve seen us put out over the last few years. We base everything on consumer calibration.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Carey Witmer: For me, it’s discovering what the next big thing is that’s going to matter to the consumer and therefore matter to Meredith. We obviously have to have the right portfolio of products that can engage the consumer in a meaningful way, but it also has to have the proper return on investment for the company as well. We think about that a lot.

Enedina Vega: For me, since I’m focused on the Hispanic space, is the fact that this is a growing, dynamic and changing consumer and demographic population.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rights to excerpts and links to the blog are hereby permitted with proper credit. Copying the entire blog is NOT permitted without permission from the author and is a violation of the copyright laws.

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Amplify, Clarify, and Testify (ACT) 5 Experience: The Future of Digital Begins with PRINT… ACT Now.

June 26, 2014

Magazine Innovation Center @ The University of Mississippi Presents:
The ACT 5 Experience: The Future of Digital Starts with PRINT
October 7 to 10, 2014

act5_poster

The Amplify, Clarify and Testify (ACT) Experience is the only think and do experience that puts the magazine and magazine media experts together with other industry experts from all over the world in addition to 25 to 30 magazine students from The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The goal of the Experience is to generate executable ideas for the magazine and magazine media industries.

This year’s Experience is going to be divided into five major topics with one goal in mind: providing solutions to industry problems and opportunities.

The five topics are:
1. Audience First: Free yourself from the platform without ignoring the platform. Future industry leaders (i.e. magazine students) answer current industry leaders questions.

2. Consumer Marketing: The newsstands, direct mail and digital marketing to reach the audience. Identifying the problems, the opportunities, and the solutions worldwide.

3. The Changing Advertising Landscape:
The present and the future. Tough solutions for even tougher problems.

4. From Creators to Curators and Experience Makers: The changing role of magazine editors. Are we better off?

5. Providing and Creating Magazines and Magazine Media in 2015: Paper, ink, digital and more paper: The intersecting lines between print and digital. The solutions from the different providers.

In addition to the five major topics of the “think and do” experience a host of keynote speakers will also be presenting their views and visions of where the magazine and magazine media industries are heading.

The complete agenda and the names of the keynote speakers will be published soon.

In addition to the ACT 5 Experience, a bonus celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the first national Magazine Service Journalism program in the United States of America will be held on Friday Oct. 10 from morning until noon with an opening dinner on Thursday Oct. 9.

For planning purposes, attendees need to fly to Memphis International Airport (MEM), TN and plan to arrive no later than 15:00 hour. The drive to Oxford is about 70 minutes. The ACT 5 Experience opens with the traditional reception and gala dinner in Oxford, MS at 18:00 hour.

Stay tuned for more information and do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions at samir.husni@gmail.com

Register today, space is very limited. http://www.maginnovation.org/act/register/

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