Archive for the ‘Innovation in print’ Category

h1

What If Digital Was First And Print Became The Revolution? A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

November 19, 2021

What if… 

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

What if I tell you that regardless of what area you’re interested in, I can save you time, money, effort, energy, and provide you with all the information you want at your fingertips? What if I tell you that I can save you an entire week of Googling and digitally searching and sifting through all kinds of information to give you what you’re looking for? 

What if I tell you that there’s an invention that will put all the information that you’re looking for at your fingertips at a fraction of the cost that you would pay for an iPad or an iPhone or any other smart digital device? 

What if I tell you that this invention needs no batteries, no electrical connections, no solar power; nothing whatsoever except your hands to activate its power? What if I tell you that this new device is portable; it will fit in your purse or your coat pocket and you can take it anywhere with you? You can engage with it without worrying about losing power or anything else. 

What if I tell you that with this device you can mark it, clip it, tear it, read it and use it at your own pace? What if I tell you that this device is so innovative that it can surprise you with even more information than you originally wanted to know about? It will not only give you what you need and what you want, but also will give you things you didn’t know you needed or wanted. 

What if I tell you that once you engage with this device, you will have the time of your life because you’ll lose yourself, you’ll escape into a world that immerses you? There will be no popup moments; no uninvited content, everything in this device will be coherent and relevant, necessary and sufficient. 

What if I tell you that this device will become a longtime friend, something that you have been anticipating forever? So enough with the What Ifs, I can tell you now that this device is already here and it’s called a magazine? You can name the subject that you’re interested in and you will find a title on that topic with this new device, this magazine. It will answer and provide everything you’re looking for on that subject matter and so much more.

Is it a dream of the future? Lucky for you, no it’s not. It’s actually something current; something that is now and available. So what are you waiting for? Head to the newsstand, pick up a magazine, sit down and enjoy. Then let me know your thoughts on what if magazines were not invented until after the digital age…don’t you think print would start a revolution?

Mr. Magazine™ sits, reading a magazine, and waiting on your response…

Until the next time…

h1

RACEWKND magazine: Delivering the Culture & Lifestyle of Formula 1 to Your Home. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Magnus Greaves, Founder And Publisher.

November 18, 2021

“So a beautiful, oversized print product that is delivered to your home can have the effect of connecting you to the sport.” Magnus Greaves, Publisher, RACEWKND

Never give up trying new ideas. The aforementioned can easily describe Magnus Greaves, the man coming from the world of finance and an entire Wall Street driven media magazine venture, Double Down Media, that went belly up when the entire market, and the American magazine business model that was based on that market, went belly up too! Magnus, the ever-dreaming and planning financier, found yet another way in this digital age to enhance print and ensure its success in a completely different way than his previous ventures at Double Down Media, MyMag, and Rev.

In 2021 Magnus Greaves founded RACEWKND, a magazine that celebrates the culture and lifestyle of Formula 1 and delivers the racing experience right into your home.

I asked Magnus seven questions about his new venture. My questions and his answers are below. Enjoy…

Q1:  In a nutshell, tell me what is RACEWKND?  When was it started and how often it is going to be published?
RACEWKND celebrates the culture and lifestyle of Formula 1, the highest level of motorsport which is also seen as one of the world’s most glamorous sports. Back in 2015 I started a similar magazine called Rev Journal but was inspired during the pandemic to make significant changes to the branding, packaging, distribution and overall business model. This resulted in RACEWKND which has been extremely well received and we are now on a schedule to publish four issues per year. 

Q2:  How is this launch different from your previous venture MyMag?
MYMAG was a personal publishing platform for famous people but was sadly a bit ahead of it’s time (which I know sounds odd for a print product!) The innovation was in how we worked with the individual and I’m actually revisiting that concept again as I feel it ties in extremely well with social media. RACEWKND is much different as the original premise was more about filling a void in the market (this sexy global sport had no media product that celebrated its sexiness) and the innovation this time comes through the business model and distribution plan. 

Q3:  Who is the audience of RACEWKND and how to you plan to reach them?
Formula 1 has been extremely popular globally for decades but it’s never been able to crack the US market. In recent years the sport was also having a very hard time attracting new fans. That all changed quite dramatically with the Netflix show “Drive to Survive” which explores Formula 1 through the personalities, drama and locations. As a result, F1 is now exploding in the USA and is attracting a far more diverse audience. RACEWKND is created to appeal to this new audience as our editorial approach and design sensibility is a perfect next step for these new fans which, given the size of Netflix, now outnumber the size of the old-school F1 fan base. 

Q4:  What are some of the obstacles, if any,  facing you with this venture and how do you plan to overcome them?
The biggest obstacle we face is in connecting with the American F1 fan base in an efficient way. I will never, ever go down the newsstand route again and that simply wouldn’t be effective with this audience anyway, particularly in the USA. And unlike sports such as basketball, there are no stadiums that host multiple home games and no chains like Foot Locker that sell team merchandise, snaking it hard to find alternative channels to fans. So we had to come up with a completely new plan and that lead to a genuine breakthrough- RACEWKND has adopted the modern direct-to-consumer business/distribution model that’s been so successfully implemented for products such as eyeglasses, clothing, mattresses, etc. I figured if this approach works for mattresses, then certainly a light, flat product like a magazine should be perfect and the results have been amazing. We start the process with targeted advertising and affiliate partnerships which connect us to F1 fans. We then sell every subscription on our Shopify platform and send magazines out very efficiently using AmazonFBA. In fact, I’m thinking about working with other magazines to show them how to implement this great business model which brings so many benefits. 

Q5:  Some say we don’t have a print problem, we have a business model problem in the magazine media industry, what do you think?  What is the role of print in today’s media landscape?  What is the future of print?
Well I 100% agree with this statement!! Per my answer above, studying the direct-to-consumer business model (as well as the subscription box business model) completely changed how I perceive the magazine business, and it’s completely changed the economics of running a magazine company. As for the role of print, I feel it’s more relevant than ever for publishers that use it in a way that truly takes advantage of the medium, which unfortunately not many do. But the flip side of that is that many publishers have done an amazing job of adapting their offering to beautiful new tablets, so growth for magazine brands can come in many forms. As for RACEWKND, a tangible print product has enormous value as Formula 1 hosts 23 races in 23 different countries resulting in 95%+ of fans not attending a race during the season. So a beautiful, oversized print product that is delivered to your home can have the effect of connecting you to the sport. When there is only one shop in the USA that is dedicated to selling F1 merchandise, having a product like RACEWKND come to your house is a nice experience that is hard to replicate. 

Magnus Greaves, publisher, RACEWKND

Q6:  Anything else you’d like to add before my typical last question?
Operating in this new direct-to-consumer business environment has really highlighted to me the value of print as a product in a fresh way as well as the need to create a brand that reflects your overall goals rather than simply what you aim to achieve with a magazine. As a result, I feel less exposed to the various direct threats of the traditional publishing industry and more connected to the innovative companies that are being launched and celebrated in different arenas. And you will have noticed there is not one ad in our magazines- this new business approach eliminates that hassle!!

Q7:  What keeps Magnus up at night?
I go to sleep every night thinking of new ways to connect with the potential RACEWKND audience and making sure that we are doing a good job communicating the attributes of our great print product across digital channels. The tools are in place to achieve all of this but you have to continuously seek out best practices (from outside the publishing industry!) to stay on top of it all. 

Indeed, and thank you…

h1

A “Mr. Magazine™” Conversation With Tom Florio, Founder & CEO, ENTtech Media Group. Part 2.

November 12, 2021

The News: “PAPER and Google Shopping have partnered to transform the trends of 2021 into an innovative shoppable magazine. Celebrities and influencers Jennifer Coolidge, Bella Poarch, Bretman Rock, Bia and Law Roach are featured. The shoppable magazine packages 21 of the most boundary-pushing trends in an editorial feature conceived by cultural disruptor PAPER. The trend list, including ‘cottagecore’ and TikTok Beauty was curated based on Google trends data.”

The Interview: Having seen the aforementioned press release, I decided to reach out to Tom Florio, of Vogue & Condé Nast’s fame and currently the founder & CEO of ENTtech Media Group LLC, which owns PAPER, and engaged in a Mr. Magazine™ conversation about ENTtech Media Group, 21of21 Shoppable magazine, the past, present and future of magazines and media brands.  Here is part two from our conversation presented in a new Mr. Magazine™ interviews format.  Hope you will enjoy…

On the Genesis of 21of21: I was in conversation with Stephanie Horton, the head of marketing for Google Shopping. And we had this idea about how to take information that’s coming from the consumer and curate it and create viral stories. And we have done it with the Demi Lovato story after NASA put out all this data about UFO.  Demi Lovato was all over her social media talking about UFO’s. So the editors of Paper, based on what was coming through social media, created this piece around Demi Lovato, where we actually made her an alien and shot it, and it went viral over the internet. 

So with Stephanie Horton we started to talk about how we could work together. And she said we have a lot of data in our Google trends and it would be really interesting to have your editors look at the data that’s coming through fashion, entertainment, and social, and have them curate what they think are the kind of coolest trends and create an editorial strategy that could be completely shoppable. And that’s what we’ve done. So when we looked at the trends, we studied the data and then we did what we do best: matched some of the content and some of the data with personalities, like taking Jennifer Coolidge and putting her with “cottage core,” which was kind of funny. With Google we built an entire new site around it from scratch, and the idea is to curate what the consumers are searching for and to add an entertainment quality to it, which we’re able to do as Paper, because we understand where the internet and pop culture come together, but then add this other layer of shoppability to it. And this was our first one out. 

On His Future Plans: I could say Google is amazing to work with. I mean they’re just so smart and fun to work with.  For me, it’s just consistent with where I’ve wanted to go with what a magazine is. It’s all about pushing everything forward. I’ve never used technology to hold on to an old way of doing media. And I think it’s one of the big mistakes larger companies have done. In 2004, we had shopvogue.com before there was a smartphone. You were able to scroll over things and click it and go to a URL. Neiman Marcus was the backend. So, even back then, you could shop the September issue of Vouge and we had 250,000 people spending 70,000 hours online shopping. 

So, so I’ve never been interested in using technology to support an old way of doing business. I’ve always been interested in taking magazine brands and pushing them out beyond the magazines. Let the magazine do what it does best that, and push it out beyond even its dot.com site. 

For me right now, taking ENTtech to a new level, doing shoppable magazines, doing NFTs, creating a record label because we produce a lot a of young talent like Dorian Electra.  These are the ways to take a content strategy with a, with a tech distribution platform, and just continue to communicate in different areas of entertainment for an audience. 

On ENTteck Media and Diversity: I launched ENTtech from scratch with one investor, and we grew five times in two years. And we’re taking a profit. We didn’t take profit last year, but we will break even or profitable one year after COVID. I actually spoke to a larger media company about investing in us because one of the things we do particularly well is we normalize diversity. It’s not like we’re trying to retrofit elitist with diversity. We did an issue with Colin Kaepernick on the cover of the September 2019 issue. The theme was “Know Your Rights.” 

We do the same with the LGBT community. We normalize; we don’t get wise. A lot of the work that we do is with big brands quietly behind the scene, advising them on their campaigns, to the LGBT community, to diverse audiences, and we help them create content strategies around them. So I think that’s a space that we have a lot of cultural legitimacyin, and we have a significant group of young, creative, and diverse contributors that enjoy working with Paper because we let them do the kind of work that’s important to them because it’s important to us. That’s part of our unique point of view in the world. 

The Future of ENTtech and 21of21: I’ve already had a little bit of feedback, um, that they liked it and they want to do it again, and we’ll probably move it up to September. I think there’s a lot of learning that took place. Stephanie and I met on this in July, we pulled the trigger on it in August and we delivered it in October. So our teams collectively worked really hard and furious to execute this. I could see an opportunity to take the entire Paperplatform and make it all shoppable. I don’t see any reason why a content platform shouldn’t be shoppable; people want to buy things.

I think our ability to amplify and target and deliver an audience for as little as a penny a view right now can compete with any major social entertainment company in the world. 

What Keeps Him Up at Night: My dog. (Laughs). What keeps me up at night? I think it’s very different Samir, when you’re an entrepreneur. I was a senior executive in a big successful company at the time. I was at the top of that food chain. When you own your company you worry about your staff, you worry about keeping everybody excited, and you worry about wanting to pay people more than you’re paying them. So I think what keeps me up at night is being an entrepreneur and thinking about all the things I want to do and wanting to take care of the people that work for me more than I’m able to do probably. I think about that a lot. 

One Final Word of Wisdom: If you’re part of the change, you don’t feel the change. So, all right, take care and thank you. 

h1

A “Mr. Magazine™” Conversation With Tom Florio, Founder And CEO Of ENTtech Media Group. Part 1.

November 4, 2021

The News: “PAPER and Google Shopping have partnered to transform the trends of 2021 into an innovative shoppable magazine. Celebrities and influencers Jennifer Coolidge, Bella Poarch, Bretman Rock, Bia and Law Roach are featured. The shoppable magazine packages 21 of the most boundary-pushing trends in an editorial feature conceived by cultural disruptor PAPER. The trend list, including ‘cottagecore’ and TikTok Beauty was curated based on Google trends data.”

The Interview: Having seen the aforementioned press release, I decided to reach out to Tom Florio, of Vogue & Condé Nast’s fame and currently the founder & CEO of ENTtech Media Group LLC, which owns PAPER, and engaged in a Mr. Magazine™ conversation about ENTtech Media Group, 21of21 Shoppable magazine, the past, present and future of magazines and media brands.  Here is part one from our conversation presented in a new Mr. Magazine™ interviews format. Hope you will enjoy…

The concept of ENTtech Media Group: I don’t approach what I do with the parameters of a magazine or not a magazine. I think that what we’ve built is an entertainment technology company (ENTtech Media Group). The foundation of the company is the distribution part, right? Like you talk about magazines, you have content, you have distribution and you have an audience. And I think when you come from the media world with that point of view, you create content for an audience, as opposed to what we see a lot of. Many brands and many agencies think they’re in the content business, but they’re not really creating content to bring in an audience. They’re creating content with a brand in mind to communicate to an audience like a group of people, a consumer. 

Defining a magazine: So my answer to your question is magazines have a connection with a consumer base and they’re creating content for that consumer base to, to accept, to take it in. So, I think that the first step is there needs to be a content strategy and there needs to be an audience. Then, with some regularity, you’re communicating with that audience, but that could also apply to Tik Tok, right? You have multiple infinite numbers of creators that have created an audience, but they’re not magazines, like the D’Amelio girls have 25 million followers bigger than Vogue, you know? But to me, when I approach a magazine, it’s to create content for like-minded people, and to communicate it with a certain curated informed point of view. That’s the idea of ENTtech Media Group. It is to let the creative process drive the content, but to use technology, to identify and distribute the content. 

Circulation vs. Advertising:  Unlike the old days of magazines, where you basically bought your audience with the lowest price, a dollar a name, and we know how it worked. You sell a bunch to the airlines and the airlines would send you a check. You create a circulation base and then you charge a CPM against that circulation base with the rare situations of like the People magazines of the world, or like The New Yorker, which I actually was the one who pushed The New Yorker from $16 a subscription where we were losing $16, because it costs $33 initially to break even on that subscription, to $50. Right. And this is back in 1995, The New Yorker was able to actually raise the subscription price and not lose any circulation at all. 

Usually, as you know, there is a relationship between how much you raise the subscription price and the fall out in circulation. There was none.  But if you looked at that field, looked at the circulation of The New Yorker, pre Tina (Brown), people like up here who has been subscribing for 10 plus years, and we drop the subscription to $16 to bring in all these other people over here because they wanted to make it cool and like a Condé Nast magazine. Right. But, in reality, the consumer should always pay for The New Yorker and the advertising should be secondary. So you have The New Yorker, you have People magazine, you have a handful of publications that were making money on circulation, but most weren’t.

The genesis of ENTtech Media Group: So what I wanted to do is to use technology to identify audiences and serve audiences messages based on their interests. And you don’t need a subscription strategy to do that. I took the team out of a company called The Audience. 

The Audience was a social architecture company, started by Sean Parker, Ari Emanuel and Oliver Lockett. The Audience was one of the first social media companies that could identify groups of people and serve them messages via social media, like using Facebook and such. What they wanted to do then was build these audiences around celebrities for the purpose, not of today’s influencer marketing was way too soon, but to drive movie viewership and things like that.

The approach that they used ended up failing. Not the technology, but the approach and I took the team out of that and were actually one of the founders of ENTtech. So my idea was if I could create a content strategy that’s highly creative and curated, and now I could identify people out there in the world, I could just push my content out to these people and then build my website. And that what was interesting about Paper specifically when I acquired it. Paper had just broken the internet with that famous Kim Kardashian cover. In fact “break the internet” is now a phrase trademarked by Paper. So I had seen that while I was interested in this new business model for media. And I was like, well, that was interesting because if we look at Paper’s Kim cover versus the Vogue’s Kim cover that was shot by Annie Leibovitz, which was four months apart. Let’s say that the Vogue cover cost $200,000 because it is Annie’s, right. Jean-Paul Goude shot the Paper cover for $10,000. The Vogue cover generated 750,000 uniques to the Vogue website. The Paper cover generated 30 million uniques to the Paper site, which nobody knew about Paper.

What I found to be very interesting is, here’s this social architecture that is really not being exploited across media properties. You had politicians using it very successfully, as we saw for this last election, you had brands buying it and using it on Facebook, but you really didn’t have media properties going in and using it to find audiences. So, I had this Paper that knew how to make content for the internet, which was really low budget content that would go viral.  The idea of ENTtech was to bring these two things together and to use it that way and to see if we could repeat it. And we did.

The changing business model: The print magazine, which I would have closed anyway, even without COVID, was more like marketing and merchandising PR, but nobody is buying print advertising really. It didn’t make sense and it wasn’t part of the strategy. It didn’t matter how much circulation Paper had or even its three and a half million uniques across our social platforms. 

Take for example AT&T; they were sponsoring the Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl Saturday concert. We just created all the meme marketing around it, and white labeled our social architecture. We went into the market by doing AB testing and everything else with our content. We went back to AT&T and said I know you are using this other company out there to do your social buying, a very big one that also does Procter & Gamble. I said, but I can tell you right now, Jennifer’s real fans are not going to tune in to Super Bowl Saturday on Facebook at 10 o’clock at night and watch her video. And they were like, what are you talking about? And we came up with this whole strategy that was kind of content. And then using our social architecture and with a $2 million budget delivered 7 million live streams, bigger than Taylor swift the year before who had a big social presence and actually gave AT&T a million dollars back. And they were like, wait a minute. Guess what, I did it with three people. 

So that’s when I knew we were onto something. That’s when we first launched ENTtech; it was three months into the company. And they were like, wait a minute. You know, like this other company, you outperform them two to one. And, and so we as a brand, the Paperbrand sits at this intersection of internet culture and pop cultureWe amplify internet culture in a pop culture way. So, for example, Paper covered Billie Eilish five years ago and then it pushed that content out through the internet. So now we get to this project and we, this long history of doing this including all the social media for the BTS concert in Riyadh globally.  We also did the social media for the 20th anniversary of Target and delivered 16 million live streams, bigger than CNN’s Trump debate. 

To be continued…

h1

Music And Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I, Chapter 12, Part 2.

November 3, 2021

Music and Entertainment Magazines … is the 12th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 12 part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In March 1953 magazines that covered music and entertainment offered a great service to fans by providing current gossip of their favorite actors, singers, heartthrobs, many song lyrics and melodies, plus other pertinent information for people clamoring to be in-the-know. 

We have to remember that at this time, television was still in its infancy, basically still a “talking piece of furniture” that many were trying to adjust to and get to know. And while TV Guide was published in April 1953, and was a very big title, it did have regional predecessors that covered the infant television scene before the launch of the national edition on April 3, 1953. 

Music and entertainment magazines were the eyes and ears for fans, doing what the Internet and television does today for many people. In March 1953 there was a “channel” for every aspect of a fan’s interest, from honing their own musicality by learning lyrics to their favorite songs to enhancing their knowledge of popular movies and their stars. Magazines were the Internet of the times once again…and March 1953 had some of the best.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

MODERN SCREEN

For over 50 years, Modern Screen was an American fan magazine that featured articles, images and personal interviews with movie stars, and later on many television personalities. The magazine debuted in the fall of 1930 and was founded by Dell Publications. Soon it became the direct competition for Photoplay and was one of the most popular “screen” magazines around, boasting the tagline America’s Greatest Movie Magazine. 

The March 1953 issue was certainly eye-catching with the lovely Rita Hayworth on the cover. The Talk of Hollywood was older wives with younger husbands, so there was an article on that and a romantic love story about actress Ann Blyth and her one true love. It was a time of Hollywood magic and this issue glittered that starlit path splendidly. 

MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION MAGAZINE

This title was a Fawcett Publication, which had a bevy of magazines, comic books and “Gold Medal” books, a line of paperback originals, which became a defining turning point in paperback publishing. Motion Picture And Television Magazine was an original movie fanzine full of gossip and romance for Hollywood fans of the ’50s. The magazine promised to incorporate screen life, Hollywood and movie story magazines, which was actually its tagline.

The March 1953 issue had Janet Leigh on the cover (a very young Janet Leigh) and declared that there were things us fans didn’t know about her personal life. Hmm… well of course, we just had to know. There were surprising true confessions of the stars – a very popular feature, I’m convinced. All in all, the magazine was another addition to satiate the cravings people had about Hollywood and all she entailed. It was a terrific read.

MOVIES

Movies magazine came from Ideal Publishing Corporation and Publisher William Cotton, who was known for his pulp magazines. Cotton was about building circulation and serving his demographic. He courted advertisers from a general perspective. He didn’t expect Chanel or Cadillac to advertise with him, but the more down-market products were right there with him. And in turn, publishing pulp made Cotton a very wealthy man. From Hollywood to personal romances, William Cotton ran the gamut of titles.

The February/March issue of Movies featured the usual talk-of-the-town. Marilyn Monroe’s Doctrine, an article by actor Robert Wagner and Debbie Reynolds, along with other scrapbook items for fans. The cover showcased the lovely Marilyn Monroe and offered her Secret Code for Life. You couldn’t get more Hollywood than Marilyn. 

MOVIELAND

Hillman Publications created this Hollywood monthly, competing directly with Bernarr Macfadden and Fawcett Publications. The magazine was another leg on the stool of celebrity entertainment, offering exclusive interviews, images and features.

The March 1953 edition had a magical picture of Doris Day on the cover in a pink chiffon dress that billowed out from her body as though in flight. One cover line beckoned for you to meet the new and sexy June Allyson and absorb five pages of Marilyn Monroe pin-ups. 

MOVIE LIFE

Movie Life was published by Ideal and William Cotton, another Hollywood title so popular in those days. Celebrity magazines have always been big sellers and eye-catchers, so no wonder Cotton kept adding to his stable of titles. Movie Life was a magazine filled with great images of movie stars, such as Esther Williams and Tony Curtis. The life the stars lived was something we all wanted and what better way to get it than from the pages of a vivid magazine.

March 1953 saw Lana Turner on the cover with picture scoops of Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Debra Paget and Dale Robertson. Actress and singer Gail Davis showed us the make-up styles of the day and how to apply them properly and we could read all about life with Lana in the cover story. It was a nice addition to the genre.

MOVIE PIN-UPS

Here comes another Ideal Publishing title from Mr. Cotton. This one was filled with sexy Hollywood sirens, both male and female, in various modes of poses. All in perfect form to clip the pictures from the magazine and hang on your wall. This title was just another in a long list of pulp-type magazines that made a small fortune for William Cotton.

The March/April 1953 issue had a beautiful image of Arlen Dahl that fans were sure to love, along with pictures of Debra Paget, Virginia Mayo and many others. The images and the poses were very tastefully done and just beckoned to be clipped out and hung up. Great photography. 

To be continued…

h1

The Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor… 47 New Titles In The Last Six Months…

October 26, 2021

Black Cannabis magazine and 46 other new titles arrived to the nation’s newsstands during the months of April to September of 2021. The new arrivals join the 34 titles launched in the first quarter of 2021 bringing the total of new titles to 81 titles so far. The new magazines covered every conceivable subject from the indoors to the outdoors and beyond. In a climate that is filled with uncertainty, the new titles continue to pump new blood in a magazine media market that has seen so many changes in the last few years.

From Bauer’s Drew magazine to AIM’s Finding Home, there is no shortage of new ideas to reach customers searching for curated and edited content. From Kindling to Mother Tongue, from InPickleball to PawPrint, and from the $95 a copy (and worth every penny) Curious magazine from the newly established Curious Society, to the latest addition in bicycling magazines BETA… you name the subject and rest assured you are going to find a title or two (well make that three or four) that addresses that subject matter in a very engaging, entertaining, and authentic way like no other mass media can ever do.

So, here are the titles that yours truly was able to find in the last six months, some are brand new, some just made their arrival to the newsstands, and some arrived from overseas to our shores.

Keep in mind that in my book magazines are much more than content providers, they are experience makers. 

So, take a look at the new experience makers below and please remember, if Mr. Magazine™ can’t physically hold, touch and purchase the magazine, it does not enter the monthly counts. And counts now include only the titles with a regular frequency that are either new, first-seen on Mr. Magazine’s™ radar, or arriving to the national newsstands for the first time. 

h1

Music And Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I, Chapter 12, Part 1.

October 23, 2021

Music and Entertainment Magazines … is the 12th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 12 part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In March 1953 magazines that covered music and entertainment offered a great service to fans by providing current gossip of their favorite actors, singers, heartthrobs, many song lyrics and melodies, plus other pertinent information for people clamoring to be in-the-know. 

We have to remember that at this time, television was still in its infancy, basically still a “talking piece of furniture” that many were trying to adjust to and get to know. And while TV Guide was published in April 1953, and was a very big title, it did have regional predecessors that covered the infant television scene before the launch of the national edition on April 3, 1953. 

Music and entertainment magazines were the eyes and ears for fans, doing what the Internet and television does today for many people. In March 1953 there was a “channel” for every aspect of a fan’s interest, from honing their own musicality by learning lyrics to their favorite songs to enhancing their knowledge of popular movies and their stars. Magazines were the Internet of the times once again…and March 1953 had some of the best.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

3-D Screen

This magazine comes complete with a pair of 3D glasses for your viewing pleasure. Published by a company called Three-D Magazines, Inc., it featured wonderful photographs (not necessarily the 3-D ones either) of celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Russell. It was a similar piece of the puzzle, but with an odd corner cut being 3-D.

The March 1953 issue had Jane Russell on its cover and photos that promised they were so real you could almost touch them of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh and Rhonda Fleming. It was a tile when 3-D was becoming all the rage and magazines weren’t about to be left out of the firestorm.

ARTHUR GODFREY AND HIS GANG

Arthur Godfrey and His Gang was a magazine published by Ideal Publishing which was a subsidiary of Grosset & Dunlap and familiar to film fans all over because of its heavy load of fan, teenage and confession type magazines. William Cotton, who had been with Fawcett Publications at one time, founded the company in 1937. This magazine teamed up with one of the era’s most famous radio and TV personalities, Arthur Godfrey. And and at that time, everybody loved Godfrey.

The March 1953 issue featured Godfrey Today, Arthur and His Friends, Fly-Boy Godfrey ( who was an avid aviator) and other Godfrey-friendly features and information. There were stories on his crew of course, Julius La Rosa, Lu Ann Simms and all the others. Just anything and everything Arthur Godfrey, taking his popularity at the time and running with it. Great magazine for really hardcore fans. 

DOWN BEAT

Formatted like a normal vertical, Down Beat magazine for all intents and purposes appeared to be just another music magazine that covered jazz, blues and beyond. That is, until you opened its pages and then it became a totally different animal, as it folded open and flipped to a newspaper format, complete with a headline. The magazine was established in Chicago in 1934 and was named after the downbeat in music, or the first beat of a musical measure. It was published monthly by Maher Publications and is still being published today.

The March 1953 edition had Jackie Gleason on its cover and the line Jackie Gleason, Musician. Something that was sure to give people pause and to purchase the magazine. There were newspaper-style articles such as Influenza, In Flew Dinah (catchy headline) all about Dinah Washington being stricken ill at her closing performance in Honolulu. There were Down Beat’s Five Star Discs and Down Beat’s Scorecard, where current hits were rated. It was and is still a music lover’s dream-come-true magazine. 

FILMLAND

Flimland was another Martin Goodman title, published under the Red Circle Magazine umbrella. Making good in the pulp fiction market, Goodman knew his way around Hollywood gossip mags too. And Filmland offered the best in Hollywood news and images. From Shelley Winters to Janet Leigh, the magazine covered fan favorites every month. And with Goodman launching what would one day become Marvel comics, he certainly was no stranger to success in all genres.

The March 1953 issue was a great one with articles by Arlene Dahl, Shelley Winters and many others. The cover teased with Hundreds of New and Intimate Pictures and the stories inside ranged from Roy Rogers and his hero status to Dean Martin and his wife. And with actress Susan Hayward on the cover, the magazine was a complete fan have-to-have.

HIT PARADER

Hit Parader was launched in 1942 by Charlton Publications, which was based in Derby, Connecticut. The magazine was among the longest-lasting American music magazines, not ceasing publication until 2008. The title referred to the pre-music charts hit parade, so the magazine began as a song lyric phenom where people could go to find the correct words to their favorite songs. 

The March 1953 edition was filled with the lyrics to many famous songs of that era, such as I’m Just A Poor bachelor and Lady of Spain. Of course, there were many, many more, along with all the “Top Tunes.” Joni James graced this issue’s cover and there were exclusive hit movie tunes from Hans Christian Andersen. 

MAUDLIN SCREEN

This magazine, as they themselves put it, was “dredged” up monthly by Chaparral Publishing Company, which was created by Stanford Chaparral, the first successful college humor magazine outside the Ivy League. The golden age for Chaparral parodies was the 1950s and they were very good at it. They might not match the original’s production values, but they came closer than any other college mag. Maudlin Screen was of course a parody of Modern Screen and was an amusing clone of the Hollywood Fan magazine. The tagline was America’s Fanatic Movie Magazine, which of course was fittingly hilarious. 

The March 1953 issue had the requisite ingénue on the cover, a young female oddly enough holding a pipe. The stories were zany and outrageous: love-starved women of America, garbage collectors becoming cinema sensations and just all around unbelievable content. Far-fetched, funny and really smartly done. 

To be continued…

h1

The Art Of Show And Tell…

October 13, 2021

In 2019, Jugular magazine asked me to write an essay about their special issue that focused on words and images. What follows is my essay as it appeared in the magazine. Enjoy

The Art of Show and Tell

Words By Samir  Husni

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Since the beginning of time there have been words—the best of words and the worst of words, and a whole lot more in between. From the start, there was no question which came first, the word or the image. Words were, are, and will remain center stage in any delivery platform. Specifically, when it comes to the magazine platform, words are the heart of the body that keeps on ticking and the pivot that keeps the world of information turning.

Both well-executed sentences and poorly chosen words can create all kinds of reactions: physical and emotional reactions, calming and violent reactions, and soothing and hurtful reactions. After all, it has been said the pen is mightier than the sword. But here is the question at hand: Is the word mightier than the image?

Needless to say, it was the magazine that first united the word with the image. It was the magazine that introduced the world to the concept of storytelling in which words and pictures went hand in hand. Generations before movies and television, which incorporated audio into the experience of storytelling, magazine pages pioneered the art of show and tell. 

And since the word came first, like any other new invention, once the image was created, it took over and the word climbed into the backseat. Just think about when digital was first introduced and compare that to print; suddenly digital was the new seductive mistress roaming the streets, while print continued to be the loving, patient spouse waiting for its partner to regain its senses and end the fascination with this new thing called digital.  The same happened with the word when the image arrived, but what about now? If the combination of the word and image was the first reproduction of humanity’s ability to speak and see, then how has human communication changed in how we connect today? It used to be necessary to meet in person in order to engage in a conversation, but now dialogue is mainly conducted through virtual connectivity or what I call isolated connectivity. We feel today like we are so connected, yet were sitting alone with a phone or a laptop, with no one else in the room. Is this the future? Images without words?  Well, if you are happy with just looking at a person without speaking a word, then you will enjoy just looking at the images without reading a word. Often, not even a caption.

There is no doubt that images provide us with a lot of satisfaction mentally, emotionally, and physically, but remember the old saying, “you can’t judge a person by just looking at him or her.” I believe that using images or words by themselves is like being in a relationship with oneself. It may be satisfying for some time, but at the end of the day, it is never as fulfilling.  The combination of the word and the image is what takes that mono-relationship and changes it from just looking and observing to doing. That combination is what changes the content from just content to an experience,  an experience that will manifest itself in a quick relationship, a one night stand, a fiery short-term relationship, a love affair, or a long lasting relationship that goes through the good, the bad, and the ugly—a marriage if you will.

None of these relationships can exist without the viewer’s engagement and that’s my belief behind the power of the combination of the word and the image. It is that engagement that requires the combination of the two. It is the difference between making love with your eyes and making love with your entire body. I don’t need to expand on this, you be the judge.  To paraphrase the famous art director George Lewis, it is the difference between looking at a person and making love to a person. There is no comparison.

So in this digital world we live in, the engagement between the word and the image is what creates that experience and transports us to whatever world the content is creating. The marriage of words and images becomes one of true love and commitment, one that we lose ourselves in willingly and completely. With words added to the images there is a beginning and  an end to the story, just as in any good relationship. With just images, such as the digital world offers, there is no end. You can continue to stare at the images and continue to travel through the virtual world endlessly, a meaningless relationship that actually takes you nowhere. With words, as with ink on paper pages, there is an end. A full stop. A reminder of reality that something is over.

To me that is the power of the word. The reminder that something is over and you can now take a deep breath, relax, and bask in the fact that you’ve accomplished something to the end.  Your mind now can feel at ease, can stop wondering and you can feel fulfilled.

So, can you have a magazine without words?  Sure you can, but to me it will be like watching a movie with the mute button on. Words and images combined are a reflection of our human nature, and the more they interact with each other the better the engagement and the experience. 

You don’t have to take my word for it. This issue of Jugular provides you with your own experiment. Take a look, judge for yourself, and hope the words you discover will be the blood that flows through your own jugular vein, making your heart race with all kinds of emotions. And when you finally close that last page of the magazine, you will know then that you’ve reached the end of the race. You’ve arrived.

Sit back, relax, engage, and enjoy the art of storytelling in a way that no other platform can provide, the magazine. In the beginning was the word, and in the end the word will be. It is the Alpha and Omega. 

h1

Mr. Magazine™ & BoSacks: So What Is A Magazine, Really? Point & Counterpoint From The Vault….

October 7, 2021

The following point & counterpoint, between my friend BoSacks and I, on attempting to define a magazine was first published on my blog and in the ACT Experience magazine of 2010. I believe it is still as valid today as it was in 2010. Enjoy.

Point: So What Is A Magazine, Really?

By Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

President & CEO, Magazine Consulting & Research, Inc.

Being in the content business and being in the magazine business are two completely different worlds. While the magazine business deals with content, content is only but a fraction of what makes a magazine. The myth that is now sweeping our industry that we are content providers and it does not matter how our customers get their information may be the Trojan horse that will aid some publishers continue on their print suicide path.

Content is good and content will continue to be king and queen of our profession, but magazines are not going to live and survive by content alone. It never stops to amaze me how the majority of people jumped on the bandwagon of equating magazines to music and wanted to sell magazines like the iTune store sells music. I said that before and I will say again, the only similarity between magazines and music is the letter m. Everything else is different. As a child I listened to music on the little transistor radio. Later I listened to records, tapes and even listened to music on television. I listened to my favorite songs over and over. I used earphones, loud speakers, any and all the things created to help me listen to the music. The goal was always to listen to my favorite song over and over again. I did not care how the song was broadcasted or delivered. I was not holding to that radio or television set, because the medium did not matter in that case. It was the message that mattered. It was so easy to separate the message from the medium, and it did not matter what medium delivered that message to me, because my addiction was to the message that I kept listening to, time after time. It was not a message meant for a one-time use. The physical medium was just the vehicle to deliver the message and it was never part of the message.

That brings me back to the printed magazine. Like music, each and every magazine can be used as a medium to deliver a message, but if that was all what magazines do, than we would have been out of business long time ago and we would have one format, maybe an iMagazine that delivers all the content you need to select and choose from for your daily needs, wants and desires. 

Magazines are much more than content. Magazines are much more than information, words, pictures and colors all combined in a platform that serves nothing but as a delivery vehicle. Magazines, each and every one and each and every issue of every one, are a total experience that engages the customers five senses. Nothing is left to chance. It is a total package. Without the ink, the paper, the touch, the smell, the look, the taste, it will not be called a magazine. Every issue is a complete new experience with a sense of ownership, showmanship and membership and is renewed with the arrival of the next issue. The total experience of flipping through the pages of a magazine, looking at the different dimensions, shapes, and other physical properties (including the colors we use on every issue whether it is the famous TIME red border or National Geographic yellow border) create a unique relationship with the customer issue after issue. 

So before we close the book on this great technology we call ink on paper and start moving with the tide of this new digital world, stop and think for a moment on what makes a magazine a magazine and why in this digital age millions of magazines worldwide are still thriving in ink on paper creating daily experiences, one issue at a time. Magazines are much more than content and they are even much more than ink on paper. The total physical aspect of each “storehouse” to use the original meaning of what a magazine is include all of its properties, from the size of the store to the content of the store, seen and felt together.

Take time and think about it. The digital age is helping us create new platforms and new media, but do not fool yourself and think you can recreate a similar experience to that we have in ink on paper magazines. It is one of a kind and I if we only devote five percent of our time, money and energy in this digital age focusing on how to enhance this existing ink on paper technology and what it is delivering, our business will be in a much better shape. Magazines are not just content providers, they are experience makers, one printed issue at a time. And, if it is not ink on paper, please try to find another name to define that new medium, because in my book if it is not printed it is not a magazine. I am living the digital age (you name the gadget I have it, including the iPad) but I am not living in a dream world. I have yet to see anything comes close to what an ink on paper magazine can deliver and do for its customers at such a great feel, not to mention a great price too. Go grab a magazine, any magazine and then let’s start talking about experience making! 

Counterpoint: So What Is A Magazine, Really?

By Bo Sacks

Founder & President, Precision Media Group

 As most of you know I have been debating my friend Samir Husni across the country for almost a decade. He is an admitted tree hugger and I lean mightily towards a digital future for our industry. Our debates are great fun not only for the audience but for the two of us as well. We enjoy taking opposite sides of important magazine issues. 

As you might expect when I saw the headline of his recent posting “So, What is a Magazine, Really?” I started reading with great interest. That is when I read the following lines by Samir 

“Without the ink, the paper, the touch, the smell, the look, the taste, it will not be called a magazine.” … And, if it is not ink on paper, please try to find another name to define that new medium, because in my book if it is not printed it is not a magazine.”

From my perspective these words and thoughts couldn’t be more wrong. I firmly believe that ink is not one of the major components necessary for a magazine. 

In working with my partners at mediaIdeas five years ago we developed a set of criteria for the definition of a magazine. We believe that a magazine must be paginated, edited, designed, date stamped, permanent, and periodic. But it does not have to use either ink or paper to be an ‘official’ magazine. Ink and paper are an unnecessary restriction in the 21st century. Of course, a magazine can be printed with ink on paper, but to demand that it be so is unrealistic and would doom an otherwise vibrant industry to the monasteries of time long past. 

The best-selling book of all times was originally written on a scroll. Then eventually printed on paper by our friend Guttenberg. The Bible is now available digitally. Does the digital delivery mean it’s not a book? I think rather that the words and thinking that are important and not the substrate. 

Of course, it may not be fair but I can’t help pointing out that Samir delivered his article “So What is a Magazine Really?” in a digital blog and not in a printed magazine.

h1

The Past, The Present, And The Future: Everything Will Change Except The Experience And Ink On Paper…

October 5, 2021

In 2009 I was asked to write an article for the German magazine GIT VERLAG in celebration of their 40th anniversary. My article focused on magazines in 2049. Here is, for the first time, the English version of the article that appeared in the German magazine… Keep in mind this article was written in 2009 and is published here with no editing or changes. Hope you enjoy this journey through memory lane.

Magazines 2049

It’s a daunting task to try and think about what the world of print will look like in 40 years. While trying to see the future of this industry I began to think back to 40 years ago and tried to imagine the changes I have seen happening all over again.

Forty years ago I was a teenager in Tripoli, Lebanon when I befriended the wholesaler for all of Tripoli. As a schoolboy I would go by his shop once a day in the morning before school. I would look at all the magazine’s being distributed to shop owners and news- agents and admire the many magazines getting ready to leave the warehouse and head to the stands. Ultimately this would make me late for school. One day he decided to take pity on me and told me to come by the night before so that I wouldn’t get in trouble at school for being late over and over again. 

I was a kid in a candy store. Each week I would be able to see the magazines before anyone else in town, and my friend the wholesaler would even let me take copies home with me. I became his newsagent who will order only one copy of each magazine. The wholesaler allowing me early access to the day’s publications was a part of the experience that those magazines created with me. The paper, the ink, the photos; all of it formed an interactive relationship with me that got me hooked and kept giving me reasons to return week after week after week. 

Fast forward 40 years, I am in the United States sitting in my house in new home country, far away from my home in Lebanon, and reading a paper from Lebanon.  Yes, reading the same paper published in Lebanon on the same day of publication.  If you told me that 40 years ago, I would have laughed at you and accused you of being crazy. I never would have believed you.  But today, with the eight-hour time difference I can sit at my computer in the evening and see the next day’s newspaper from Lebanon before it hits newsstands over there.  Once I download the paper, hit print, I know it will be sitting in the printer at my office the next morning. Whom are you calling crazy now?

Since I first picked up a copy of a Superman comic book when I was a boy and got hooked on ink on paper, I have always wanted to pick up a magazine to lose myself in its pages. No changes in technology can ever replace that. So instead of talking about technology and how it will change our industry over the next 40 years, editors and publishers need to continue to ask the question how can I provide quality content in my magazine, newsletter, newspaper or other publication for those readers who are looking for a complete experience without having to travel to another medium to get it all. We have to ask that question because each time our prospective customers pick up our product they ask themselves the exact same thing: what is in this for me?

All this is to say that while many things have changed in the last 40 years, and while many things will change over the next 40, the experience will always stay the same. Compared to when I was a teenager, printing quality is better, publications may be more specialized, magazine dimensions have greater range and marketing may be more exact and targeted, but I still go to magazines for the experience I can only have with ink on paper.  The ONLY experience that I “lose myself” through it and in it.

And this is why I have created the Magazine Innovation Center. The sole purpose of this organization is to AMLIFY the future of print. We are not a dead medium with nothing to offer and we should stop bemoaning our own demise. We have become stagnant in an economy that calls for movement and change. It just takes the right thinking to get there. Because there will be changes. There is no way around it. Change is the only constant in our lives. 

Progress will be made, but progress for the sake of progress moves us no closer to a better future. We are already seeing progress in the forms of smaller printers, more advanced office printers, virtual publications, immediate and instant delivery of printed products to your desktop and personal printer and even a drastic decline in waste in the printing and distribution world. With all of this our industry can stay current with technology and the like, but it still doesn’t change the fact that we are based off of experiences our customers have with us, and when we lose sight of that we can’t regain ground with gimmicks on the internet or special inks on our covers. 

One of the biggest changes will be a change in our mentality about everything. We will change the way we think about how we do publications and how we conduct business. I have been saying for quite some time now that the way we do business is outdated and acting as an anchor for our industry. We cannot continue to give content away for a devalued price or for free while advertising reigns as the make or break factor in our publications. If we create good content, people will want to read it and also want to pay for it. 

For the last 60 years  in the United States of  America we have relied on a publishing model that devalued subscribers and focused heavily on the customers supplying the advertising, but not the customers we were actually supposed to reach: the readers themselves. 

I know it may be disappointing to some of you that my forecast for the next 40 years is based on the last 40 years, but would I have believed when I was walking to the wholesaler in Tripoli that 40 years later I would be reading magazines and newspapers from thousands of miles away in the exact same way today?  

There are three things that the future will benefit from if we constantly consider. First, we must make sure we focus on the present. For all the talk about tomorrow and next year, there is no point planning for the future if we can’t survive today. 

Second, we must create the complete experience. As everything changes around us, our publications must provide a total package. We don’t need to create something that relies on another medium to finish our job. Readers shouldn’t have to go to another outlet or source to get the rest of our stories. Henry Luce recognized this 80 some years ago when he started Time magazine. With over 20 newspapers in New York City at the time, he saw that readers wanted a one-stop alternative to get their news in less time and less space.

Third, there will be more need to know our readers. With increased technology, it is becoming easier and easier to know more and more information about out readers. We have to start treating them like customers: know what they want, who they are, what the like to read and what they like to buy. The more we let technology help us learn about our readers, the better we can serve them as customers. 

I know you expected me to write about the future and create a vision of the next 40 years, but as I have said before, there are only two people who can tell the future: God and a fool. I know I am not God, but if you want to read it, here is a future scenario of a fool. Everything I have written to this point I can guarantee, but feel free to read the rest at your own risk.

In 2049 I will receive a box in the mail. I place the box on my desk, open it and find a magazine called Samir’s, the magazine about my lifestyle. The cover has a striking image of exactly what I am wearing except in a different color. It is trendy, hip and relevant. In big type below the title is a tagline that screams “The magazine you can read, listen to and watch.” I open the cover and turn to the first of the 90 high quality glossy pages. As I open it I am greeted by a screen in the middle of the pages, a disposable screen with a menu that allows me to interact with the magazine in different ways unique to the articles I have flipped through. After I have read a great review about the latest Britney Spears Golden Oldies music collection, I have the option of bringing up the interactive screen to view videos from her years gone by. The paper provides me with the experience I have always loves and cherished. I am able to touch and feel the pages while the disposable, interactive screen hooks me with its multimedia experience. With all the benefits of this publication it still remains under 15 dollars ensuring that I won’t feel guilty leaving the magazine behind somewhere after I have enjoyed it, exactly like a chocolate bar I am able to eat and leave the wrapper when I’m done. Inside the magazine are subscription offers for Samir’s sister publication Elliott, the magazine for grandchildren

Time to wake up.  Forty years from now I will be still reading the magazines the same way I read them today and the same way I read them 40 years ago.  Others maybe engaged in other types of new media, but as for me the past, the present and the future are all summed in that wonderful “lose myself” experience while reading the printed magazine. You don’t have to take my word for it, just see me 40 years from now and we will see if my present is still my future.  

%d bloggers like this: