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Jack Haire to Samir Husni: Sunday Newspapers Are Doing Quite Well and So Are Parade and Dash magazines… The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with the CEO of Parade Publications on The Power and Reach of Print.

January 25, 2012

The man who believes in newspapers is putting his money where his mouth is. Jack Haire, CEO of Parade Publications, publisher of the mother of all newspaper-distributed-magazines, Parade, and its newest sibling, Dash, has managed to do what only a few managed in this “digital age”: he increased the circulation of one of America’s already largest circulated ink on paper magazines. Parade has increased its circulation by 600,000 copies to reach 32.5 million copies distributed weekly. No, this is not a typo, Parade magazine distributes a total of 32.5 million ink on paper copies every single week inside the pages of some 630 different newspapers every Sunday morning.

So is Jack Haire crazy to believe in the future of newspapers? Does he know something we do not? I visited with Jack last week in New York City in the office of Parade magazine and asked him the questions on everyone’s mind: “You revamped Parade last year and launched Dash. Both publications utilize newspapers for their distribution. The word on the street is that printed newspapers are dead or dying. What gives? Do you have a plan B or do you know something those so called experts don’t?”

Click on the video below to hear his answer and the answers to other questions related to Parade, newspapers, the future of print, and of course, what keeps Jack Haire up at night.

The soundbites:

On the future of magazines distributed via newspapers: There are still a 100 million Americans that read newspapers.

On an example of the health of Sunday newspapers: The Minneapolis Star Tribune, one of Parade’s newest partners, their Sunday editions, their most important day, are actually growing by 6 percent.

On Parade’s circulation: We increased our circulation this year. It’s all tied into distribution agreements and promotional agreements, but our circulation increased by 600,000 this year.

On the future of newspapers: The tale of the newspaper world and the innovation that is happening in that world is really a fascinating story and it’ll go on for a long time.

On the mission and role of Parade: Parade celebrates all that’s good in America, it brings a smile to people’s faces when they hear about Parade.

On his future plans for Parade: I hope to continue to see us grow and maybe launch something else before the end of this year.

On what keeps him up at night: I want Parade to be a great place to work. That’s a tall enough order in a tumultuous town.

And now for the lightly edited transcript of the full interview with Jack Haire, CEO of Parade Publications:

Samir Husni: One of the many things people wondered when you launched Dash, and revamped Parade, was “What’s plan B?” They said newspapers are dying, those people that are launching magazines that are going to be, or are inserted into newspapers… are they out of their minds?

Jack Haire: I’m not sure of the answer to that question, Samir. I don’t think so. There are still a 100 million Americans that read newspapers. It’s a huge audience of people searching for news, well-educated, and Sunday newspapers are actually doing quite well. Your old friend Mike Klingensmith, founder of Entertainment Weekly and publisher and president of Sports Illustrated, CFO of Time, Inc. is now the CEO of The Minneapolis Star Tribune, one of Parade’s newest partners. Their Sunday editions, their most important day, are actually growing by 6 percent. Across Parade’s 630 newspapers are sort of same-store sales, only to climb by one half of one percent across 630 newspapers, 32.5 million in circulation. We increased our circulation this year. It’s all tied into distribution agreements and promotional agreements, but our circulation increased by 600,000 this year. I think long before I go on to meet my maker these newspapers are going to be around and we’re in arguably the best in the country that provide a huge service to their community, and will they change? Surely, and in already 22 or 23 of the top 25 markets, the largest local site is the newspaper site, so we syndicate our contact for Dash and Parade across 500 of those newspapers now and reach an audience online of 50 million people. The tale of the newspaper world and the innovation that is happening in that world is really a fascinating story and it’ll go on for a long time.

Samir Husni: Parade is such a big brand, such a recognized household name. Any plans to expand the brand from outside the newspaper, any plans to do a Parade book or a monthly magazine on the newsstands?

Jack Haire: We have a lot of plans. We’ve tried to stay focused on when we build a digital business that we not only build it ourselves with the parade.com domain, but we build it in partnership with these 500 newspapers, so you want to be good at what you’re doing so before you go to the next thing, it’s important that you make sure Dash is successful. Tracey Altman has done a very nice job at that. We were happily named, by a fellow by the name of Samir, as one of the launches of the year, which we’re incredibly proud of, all of our people, but we were also profitable last year in our first year of not being fully monthly…we were published 11 times and we made a little money. So yes, do we have plans; absolutely. Parade celebrates all that’s good in America, it brings a smile to people’s faces when they hear about Parade. I remember reading Parade, I remember seeing it at my house when I was growing up, whatever town it might be. There’s a lot of great history, we feel that we can do some really interesting special interest publications that are digital only, some apps surrounding our personality at Parade, thematically around certain important holidays, and I also think that we can create some big, stand-alone publishing issues that we can distribute with a number of our key partners. I’m really excited about that and I’m excited about getting at them and I’m excited about getting at them this year. You know last year was such a challenging year in some ways that I want to make sure our base is really solid, but I hope to continue to see us grow and maybe launch something else before the end of this year.

Samir Husni: Last question, what keeps Jack up at night?

Jack Haire: A lot of things, I think. I came to Parade… I don’t know how old I was when I came to Parade… I was 56…been here 2½ years. I’ve worked at a number of other places and I really, really like the people here. I’m blessed to work with our editor, Maggie Murphy, the woman next door, Alice Werner, some very talented publishers, Brett and Tracey, and a 150 other folks. So I want to make Parade… I want to develop it into all that it can be; I want it to be successful in multiple platforms. And I want these people to learn the trade and the trades well here, so they can go on to enjoy a really successful career at other places and I want Parade to be a great place to work. That’s a tall enough order in a tumultuous town.

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