Some say these are the worst of times, and some others remind them that so were the 1920s. New magazines arrive on the market place, and other magazines depart the market place. There is nothing new under the sun. But, for a change, you do not have to take my word for it. Here is an article from the vault of The New Yorker magazine circa Sept. 3, 2001. It was published a week before the tragic events of Sept. 11, so I do not think it got a lot of attention. For those of you who are feeling the pain of today’s economic crisis, you will find solace in reading James Surowiecki’s article titled Let the Bad Times Roll. Here is one quote from the article, “But history suggests that for new magazines hard times are good times.” Read the entire article here.
Archive for November, 2008
Are we facing the doom and gloom of the magazine industry? Well, if you read the daily media reports, you will think so. So, is there any bloom in the midst of all the doom and gloom? I will be asking some of the movers and shakers in our business the same question about whether they see the glass half-full or half empty and will be bringing their answers to you via my blog.
The Increasing Relevance of Magazines was the title of Rebecca McPheters, president of McPheters & Company at the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) meeting last week in NYC. I asked Rebecca why magazines still matter. Excerpts from her answer:
I believe that magazines are more relevant than they have ever been before. Why? Because magazine readership is growing…magazines give you an opportunity to engage with content that you are tremendously interested in…The same is true for newspapers.
To listen to her answer click here rebecca-mcpheters30
Are we facing the doom and gloom of the print industry in general and the magazine industry in particular? Well, if you read the daily media reports, you will think so. So, is there any bloom in the midst of all the doom and gloom? I will be asking some of the movers and shakers in our business the same question about whether they see the glass half-full or half empty and will be bringing their answers to you via my blog. So stay tuned. Here is the first installment.
I had the opportunity to meet with David Carey, Group President at Condé Nast last Wed. during my week-long visit to New York City. I asked him whether he still sees the glass as half-full in the magazine business… Excerpts from his answer:
I would think that every industry in the history of the world has gone through what we are going through right now… I think the population of half-full thinkers shrinks right now, but God forbids, it never goes to zero…Out of these periods of time new ways of doing business emerges…new thinkers, new readers…I would say, yes, very much so half-full. I might have fewer brethren who see (it) that way, but I still very much do.
Listen to Carey’s interview29.
The Increasing Relevance of Magazines was the title of Rebecca McPheters, president of McPheters & Company at the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) meeting this morning at The Hearst Tower in NYC. Yes, you read that right, her presentation title was indeed talking about the increasing relevance of magazines in 2008. In an industry surrounded by doom and gloom it seems to me that the positive message is so often overlooked by the same folks who work and cover our own industry. It was so refreshing to hear Rebecca say “The search for newness must not be allowed to eclipse the proven value of that which is less new.” All what I can say to that is Amen!
In addition to that Rebecca pointed out that “While most people know that magazine reading strongly correlates with education and affluence, few realize that younger adults spend more time reading magazines — and read more magazines — than those who are older.” She sites the MRI Spring 2008 research showing that young adults age 18 – 24 read an average of 7.2 magazines compared to the 35+ age group that reads 6.0 magazines.
One more interesting factoid she presented is from Media Guru Ed Papazian who estimates that the ad avoidance factor for internet advertising is at a staggering 75% compared with 30% for magazines.
The meeting started with a presentation on the changing demographic landscape of America by Ken Gronbach author of The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographics Storm, the audience and technology by Sarah Rotmann Epps, analyst, eMedia, Forrester Research and the global brand by Don Diforio, senior vice president, Millward Brown.
The Pearl’s of wisdom were preceded last night by the 5th annual prestigious Pearl Awards at the Rainbow Room in NYC. Advertising Age’s editor Jonah Bloom and yours truly were the presenters. To read all about the awards and see the list of the winners click here.
It seemed obvious enough that President-elect Barack Obama will be TIME Person of the Year. But the debate that took place at the TIME Person of the Year Lunch earlier today at the Time & Life building in the Big Apple, seems to cast a little doubt on that. Although the panelist were hard pressed to name a first and second runners up if the choice is not Obama, yet Obama’s name kept resurfacing. Finally someone from the audience asked the panelist to answer the question Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME, asked them earlier to no avail to name a number two or three for the Person of the Year.
Suze Orman (far right) host of The Suze Orman Show who predicted in 2004 that the Dow will be in the 7,000 to 8,000 range in 2008-09, ventured to mention The American Consumer and the end of consumerism. She predicted the end of consumerism “not because the American Consumers want to end it, but because they have to.” “Consumers,” she added, “can’t get credit today. And if they can’t get credit they can’t buy…and there goes economy.” Elizabeth Edwards, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress predicted that all the future issues have to be framed with the economy in mind. “Whether it is health care, foreign affairs, or any other subject matter facing us, it has to be framed by the economy.”
Other panelists included Rep. Artur Davis (D – AL), Seth Meyers, head writer, Saturday Night Live, John Slattery, Roger Sterling on AMC’s Mad Men and Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News.
So is the economy or is it Obama? Well we will have to wait until Dec. 17 when Rick Stengel will reveal one of the most sought after issue of TIME magazine. To paraphrase Brian Williams answer predicting the name of the person of the year, he said, if you want the Gods to laugh then tell them what is going to happen tomorrow.
At the 23rd Annual Mediaweek‘s Media All Stars Luncheon Awards event earlier today there were many stars including Gene Simmons, Rock God and Media Mogul, who was the Guest Presenter of the event. However, among all the recipients of the Media All Stars Awards, one in particular captured my attention. His name is Jeff Fischer, SVP and managing director at Universal McCann’s J3. Jeff sound bites ( the All Stars had less than 45 seconds to comment after winning an award) about the power of print captivated my attention. I asked him after the event to elaborate on his sound bites. Here is his response:
In my rushed attempt to send a challenge to the media industry today, I was trying to make what I feel is an appropriate analogy given the popularity of and shift in spending to the digital space. I have been calling print the “original paid search” vehicle. My intent is to reframe the view of print as a way to capture consumers who are passionate about and seeking specific types of content much like search is discussed in the digital space. The idea is that content is valuable, consumers are willing to pay for it and more importantly they proactively seek it out. Not sure if it falls flat…but it’s my attempt at keeping marketers interest in print.
Well, Jeff, it did not fall flat on me at least… and I hope many others will see the power of print as a medium that is still relevant today if, and only if, we focus on your words “that content is valuable” and if I may add, that valuable content must be sold to the customers who count and not just given out in order for us to count customers.
Congratulations to Jeff and the rest of the Mediaweek’s Media All Stars.
This morning at the min magazine Awards Event at the Grand Hyatt, NYC I handed out the honors to the 15 new magazine launches published between Oct. 2007 and Sept. 2008. The honor of The Hottest Magazine Launch went to Spry magazine from the Publishing Group of America. That is three out of three new launches that the PGA introduced that have won The Hottest Magazine Launch of the year. The first two were American Profile and Relish. Congratulations to all. The event was sponsored by min: media industry newsletter and you can read more about it here. The Digital Hottest Launch of the Year went to Sporting News Today.
In addition to the new launches two established magazines were recognized for reinventing themselves. They were Bon Appetit and Ebony. More details and complete info later on the mrmagazine.com website.
The historic election of Senator Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States has resulted in a “historic” sold-out status to many newspapers nationwide. In fact some folks are selling copies of The New York Times’s Nov. 5 issue for $199.00 on eBay. President-elect Obama has been referred to as the first “tech president” and the first “You-Tube” president, however folks rushed to the streets to buy printed newspapers to save and savor this historic moment in time. Some newspapers even went for a second printing (do you remember when was the last time a paper went for a second printing)? I have always said that as long as we have humans we will have print products. Saving your “You-Tube” video or internet link, does not and will not give you the same feel and satisfaction as that printed paper or magazine that you can touch, feel and display proudly on your coffee table at any given moment in time.
The election of Barack Obama as President and the demand for printed products as a result should provide newspaper and magazine companies with a good dose of hope; hope that if they deliver content relevant to the audience via the relevant medium and relevant price, the audience will pick up their product and will pay for it. Newspapers were not alone, just take a look at some magazine covers that did not wait to Nov. 5 to celebrate America’s first African American President.
Here is an e mail I received earlier today from The Netherlands regarding the presidential elections and magazine covers.
Hello Mr Magazine,
As i read your blog i wanted to give some attention on a special split-run-cover about Obama; beautiful artwork.
Printed BEFORE the result of the election, so this is a big gamble for the magazine from the Netherlands, Europe.
Cheers Jaap Biemans
Thank you Jaap.
I know that it seems there is no room for good news in our magazine world these days. I also know that the media is more biased toward reporting their own bad news (unlike any other business in this world) rather than the good news. So when a magazine like CosmoGirl! folds, it is big news all over the media outlets and blogs. But when 26 new magazines appear for the first time on the nation’s stands in September with a frequency of four times or more, the media pundits fail to report on that. And when another 26 new titles with a four time frequency or more appear in Oct., still the prophets of doom and gloom are silent. In fact the last two months have witnessed an increase in the number of the regularly published magazines (at least 52 titles in Sept. and Oct. 08 compared with 36 during the same period of 07). Some magazines are an extension to the Edible magazine brand with the latest in the franchise being Edible Manhattan, some are based on a revisit of a yet-another-attempt to bring a high-class fashion and art magazine such as Future Claw, and some, such is the case of Swallow, are adding a new twist to the tried and tested food titles. Add to the mix titles such as Success for Women, EquiShopper and The Last Magazine and readers are treated by a host of new magazines, each and every one of them, is by itself a new media.
In fact Oct. witnessed the birth of 74 new titles (still short of the record Oct. month of 07 with 93 titles) but with the same number of four time frequency titles (26 for both). Add to that the good news from the third quarter of 08 in which the number of new launches stands now at 166 compared with 126 from 07, that is 40 more new titles.
For those doubting Thomases out there, click here to see every new magazine published so far this year.