Archive for November, 2007

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An evening to remember: Custom Publishing 4th Annual Pearl Awards

November 10, 2007

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In The Rainbow Room and on the 64th floor of Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan the fourth annual Custom Publishing Council’s Pearl Awards were presented to several magazines, on line websites and annual reports. This is my second year in co-presenting the Pearl awards to well deserving custom publications and websites. My co-presenter Laurel Touby, CEO and Founder of mediabistro.com and I presented the awards to the winners from a field of more than 550 entries. Since I try not to talk or write about events that I am involved in, here is a link to Joe Pulizzi’s blog where he reported on the event. Check his blog and check the list of all the great outlets that won the gold, silver and bronze awards for 2007. On a side-note, the Custom Publishing Council is sponsoring a Custom Content Conference to be held next year on March 9 – 11 in the city of New Orleans, LA. For more info on the conference click here.

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Protecting the innocent: Islamica and Playboy?

November 7, 2007

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The other day as I was ready to open what I thought was my usual monthly subscriber’s “black plastic wrapped Playboy magazine,” I had one of the biggest surprises waiting for me inside that black plastic wrap. It was not Playboy magazine but rather Islamica magazine. The black plastic wrap revealed the new issue of Islamica magazine inside it and not Playboy. The black plastic wrap is where all similarities between the two magazines end. Islamica’s cover story is on Media Wars and the Aljazeera effect, while Playboy’s cover story is on Hollywood’s newest sex star. What a surprise! I understand the reasons behind Playboy hiding its cover under black plastic wrap, but I do not understand why Islamica magazine has to use the same technique. Are we really reaching the stage where we have to protect subscribers of Islamica magazine the same way we protect Playboy subscribers from the watchful eye of the post office? Judge for yourself. Above is the before and below is the after.
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Lessons we can learn from Finland (take two)…

November 6, 2007

There is nothing new about using an extra flap on the cover to create space for more cover lines and at the same time be able to use the back of the flap to sell some extra advertisement. The New Yorker has been doing that for years and so is the new Condé Nast Portfolio. However, while in Finland I picked up a magazine called In Look and it did not have one flap but rather three. They added three layers of flaps over the cover making space not for one ad but for three in addition to that of the inside back cover. As you can see from the pictures below the first flap covers one fourth of the cover, the second one half and the third three quarters of the cover. A nice way, indeed a very nice and creative way to add more space for advertising in your magazine that is both attractive to both customers: the advertiser and the reader. (If you look hard at the main cover you can see the edge of the flaps).
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Is HELLO! testing the waters for a USA launch?

November 5, 2007

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In the midst of the gossip weeklies raising their cover prices (In Touch and Life & Style from $1.99 to $2.99, and US from $3.49 to $3.99) the British import HELLO! is just doing the opposite by decreasing its American cover price from $6.95 to $4.99. This is the second time the British magazine seems to test the waters for a launch in the USA. Back in the late 80s HELLO! ran a full page ad in The New York Times offering a free sample issue of the magazine. Based on the response to that ad, the powers at HELLO! opted not to launch the magazine in the USA. But now, with OK doing better than expected and the gossip market still going strong, it looks as if HELLO! is testing the USA waters one more time. The magazine that had a limited distribution in the USA is now more widely distributed with an added yellow circle promoting the new reduced American price. Is the USA ready to welcome HELLO!? Wait and see is the name of the game for now. Keep your greetings and enjoy the British editions for now…

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Lessons we can learn from Finland…

November 3, 2007

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I just came back from a week’s visit to Helsinki where I was conducting seminars and workshops with the staff of several magazines published by Sanoma Magazines Finland. One magazine stopped me in my tracks: Aku Ankka, which simply means Donald Duck. The weekly magazine has a circulation of over 320,000 and a readership of over one million in a country of five million. It is the best known media brand in Finland and is read by almost one fifth of the population. What stopped me more than the statistics is the cover price. The magazine sells normally for two Euros, but when they have any special supplement or extra pages they cross the two Euros and have a big star burst with the higher cover price of two fifty…yes, they highlight the higher cover price. Talk about dedicated readership. Just the opposite of what we do in the States where we highlight the lower cover prices not the higher. Another surprise with Aku Ankka is the ads the magazine carries: automotive, yes automotive. Just look at the picture of the back cover above. So, the first lesson I have learned from Finland on this trip is very simple: create an addictive content for a magazine, even a comic magazine, and people will pay for the content. It is the content that people pay for and the more you give them the more they will pay. If you are in the business of selling content you do not have to fear raising your cover price.

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New Magazine Launches: A hot, very hot October follows the cold, very cold September…

November 1, 2007

The October numbers of new magazine launches are in and they are the highest of any month this year. Wow, what a month after a very cold and lousy September. It brought back memories from the “father of magazine launches” John Mack Carter who once told me “October is the best time to launch a magazine.” Well 96 magazines listened to John’s advice and launched in the month of October. You can see each and every one of them if you click here. Sorry prophets of doom and gloom who have used my numbers for September as a stepping-stone to mourn the death of print yet one more time. So, recapping the October numbers, a total of 96 new titles were launched compared to that of 94 last October bringing the number of new magazines so far to 571 which is short of the 866 new titles launched in the same period of 2006. The overall number of new titles launched with a frequency of four times or above so far this year has reached 197 compared to that of 288 for the same reporting period of 2006. For a complete list and images of all the new titles of 2007 so far click here.

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