InPickleball Magazine: Celebrating & Enforcing The Joy Of the Game. A Q&A With, The Man Behind The Magazine, Richard Porter.

December 7, 2021

From the CEO of a media company who launched a new magazine with a 9.2 million circulation to president of media sales at a national media group of the largest magazine media company in the world, to the launch of an ultra-niche new magazine,  Richard Porter has done it all and he is not done yet.

From the CEO of the Publishing Group of America (PGA) to the President of media sales for the Meredith Corp., Mr. Porter’s new venture is In Pickleball, a lifestyle publication that reinforces the joy of the game.  A game that is seeing both an uptake in its practitioners and devotees.

I had the chance to ask him a few questions about this latest launch and he was gracious enough to answer them.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni:  In a nutshell, tell me what is In Pickleball ?  When was it started and how often it is going to be published? Why now and why it is necessary, sufficient and relevant in today’s marketplace?

Richard Porter:  InPickleball launched this summer.   Our third issue will be in market next week.  This is a “media brand” launch that includes a magazine, a website, social media, video, and ultimately ecommerce.  The magazine will be published 10x a year.  Subscription prices are being tested from $24.99 per year to $39.99 per year.  We are testing a variety of sources for circulation — we will be on newsstands in Barnes & Nobel, will test FSIs and Direct Mail, also Facebook ads and other sources/locations where active pickleball players congregate (local clubs, resorts, tournaments, etc).    InPickleball is designed as a lifestyle publication — it reinforces the joy of the game — attributes of pickleball include:

* Social —  usually four people play together.

* Accessible —  The game is easy for all generations to learn — and be pretty good! — quickly compared to other sports.  

* Inclusive not Exclusive — unlike tennis or golf, pickleball really allows all kinds of people from all socioecomic strata, to play together.

* High Engagement/High Passion — but NOT divisive.  Pickleball players are typically on a spectrum from AVID to OBSESSED….people love it! So engagement is high, but content is not divisive (so much of our media/social content today is “hot takes” or “left vs. right” stuff, we feel GREAT about how pickleball is happy for all! — if I was a preacher, I would say this game is good for America and the world!  Social, healthy, fun, accessible, inexpensive…. nice attributes to bring us all together.

Richard Porter

S.H.:  Your background is in big magazine media companies and launches in the millions, how is this launch different from your previous ventures?  

R.P.: I have led a media company with only 50 employees, and worked in executive positions in companies of thousands.  One difference in today’s market, sadly, is the amount of great magazine talent that can’t find a place in the diminished staffing of larger magazine companies.   That has been a wonderful opportunity for InPickleball to hire freelancers, contract workers…the gig economy.  So we were able to launch a beautiful products with a team of top-credentialed people — backgrounds from Entertainment Weekly, The NY Times, The New Yorker, and many other top brands are represented in our ranks.    My very first job was at Ziff-Davis Publishing — at special interest sports magazines like Fly Fisherman, Backpacker, Sport Diver, Adventure Travel, Ski X-C…..I also spent some time at Rodale (Runner’s World, Bicycling).   So while I am known in many quarters for working at some of the largest magazine brands — Reader’s Digest, TV Guide, Meredith Corp — my training was in titles that share some characteristics with InPickleballvertical, how-to, passionate, active participants for example.

S.H.:  Who is the audience of In Pickleball and how do you plan to reach them?

R.P.: The audience for InPickleball magazine is active pickleball enthusiasts.  It’s the fastest growing sport in the country, so finding pickleball players to become readers will get easier for us every day!  There are “hot beds” of pickleball — California, Texas, Utah, Florida, Minnesota to name a few states….and within those states, there are certain cities/towns that really over-index.  Resorts like Marriott is ripping out tennis courts that are not being used by their guests, and replacing them with pickleball.  Retirement communities are now often built with pickleball courts.  There are many local clubs of players who have organized themselves (in Connecticut, one group built courts on the train station parking lot, as the lot was empty due to the pandemic!   Today — about half of all pickleball players are over 50 years old, typically affluent, high HHI.   But the sport is growing fast with younger people —  at least 28 colleges have club teams; it’s becoming a varsity sport at high schools.  The game was originated by three dads in 1965 for their kids to play, the whole family can play.

S.H.:  What are some of the obstacles, if any,  facing you with this venture and how do you plan to overcome them?

R.P.: Obstacles are plenty for any start-up business.  And maybe more so for media businesses.  And even more so for a magazine in 2021.   It isn’t for the faint of heart.  In the case of our magazine, the approach is to rely on the reader, not so much the advertiser, for revenue — as you know “secular decline” has found its way to magazines.  The pickleball market today is fragmented when it comes to media voices, many small ones — nobody has yet become the “megaphone” for the marketThat’s our objective.  To earn robust subscription revenue, which is critical, from readers — we have bet on quality.  I mentioned the great credentials already.  Look at a copy and you will also see and feel the quality — 60 lb paper stock, very white (not gray or yellow) that really holds saturated inks to make the graphics and photos pop!  Cover stock is 100 lb matte UV — we think of the sport as a tactile experience, and an aspirational one (people want to improve of course) so the magazine resonates that too — it’s a great tactile experience.  

S.H.:  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?

R.P.: I think we do have a print problem, not just a business model problem.  The business model can be really attractive actually — recurring revenue, first party data, quality content, subscriptions….streaming services have this model, and it’s  a good one.   But lowering quality to lower price and hope you sell enough ad pages to cover it, well, that’s just not a good idea.  Part of the print problem is simple:  Today, many ad agencies have great expertise in digital, video, social, data, etc. — ten years ago the leaders at those agencies had great print experience and passion for the medium.  Finding those knowledgeable advocates …. well, there are fewer of them, so the advertising decline can be a spiral….fewer resources evaluating/recommending the medium will lead to fewer magazines, leading to fewer resources, and around we go….

S.H.:  Anything else you’d like to add before my typical last question?

R.P.:  Well … sure!   I am very proud to have led two teams that won Launch of the Year honors from you!  Relish and Spry.  My goal?  I want to win a third time, Samir!!   InPickleball has a chance to be a really magical ride….I liken myself to an old rocker who was sitting around with his acoustic guitar, quietly writing his own songs, not recording or performing….and then, got together with some other really strong players….put together a band…and…whoosh!  Maybe we have some great new tunes that people will love, and we do an album, hit the road supporting it.     It’s a fun vision!

S.H.:  What keeps Richard up at night?

R.P.: What keeps me up at night?  I am pretty reliant on “to do” lists …. I try to write my list before I hit the pillow, so I can rest at ease knowing my path is charted for the next day.   If I have a day where I forget to make that list, or just don’t do it, I often wake in the middle of the night thinking about something I need to do.   I often then text or email myself that reminder, and go back to sleep…or try to…..I am an advocate of the podcast — one earbud in, the other ear on the pillow.   If I really cannot sleep, I will learn about ecommerce, or sports, or history….or sometimes the droning voices will put me to sleep, so that’s great too!

Thank you so much for your interest.  Cannot wait for Issue 2 to be in your hands….as I said it’s a tactile experience that you will love.  And with a pickleball player already in your family, you have a new reader at the ready for us! Cheers…

S.H.: LOL and Thank you.


“Print Magazines, Not Money” & 27 Other Reasons For The Power Print In Bitcoin Magazine…

December 6, 2021

The relaunched Bitcoin magazine (Fall 2021) published a team letter from the publisher celebrating the necessity of print and why print is needed today more than ever. I rarely reprint someone’s else work, but in this case I am going to make an exception and reprint some of Bitcoin magazine’s the power of print reasons… Enjoy.

You can read the entire reasons for the power of print by clicking on the image below, but here are three of my favorites:

“Every revolution had a magazine.” Mike Germano

“Like proof of work, a paper magazine inextricably links a negatively digital innovation with the physical world, supporting a technology built with humanity in mine.” David Zel

“With the print magazine, all the worlds most important stories on bitcoin can be held in your hand and in your possession. Unhampered and uncensored by the internet.” Will Heckman

And what is good for Bitcoin magazine in print is good for the majority of the magazines out there. So, head to the nearest newsstand or bookstore and pick up a magazine or two and feel the power of print in your hands…


From Content Providers To Experience Makers In Seven Easy Steps… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

December 3, 2021

Almost every magazine and magazine media company today has a Chief Content Officer and Chief Revenue Officer.  I think those media companies need to have a Chief Experience Maker instead.  Don’t misunderstand me, content is important. I will venture to say revenue is even more important.  However, if you are in, and plan to stay in, the magazine media business, you will need to, without delay, appoint a Chief Experience Maker.

Magazines have always been experience makers. Take a look at some of the titles of the “mini pocket magazines” of the 1950s. Experience making at its best. From the collection of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

What role does the Chief Experience Maker play?  Here are my seven steps to change from a content provider to an experience maker:

Step 1:  Know your audience. Let me be clear: really know your audience.  We live in the digital age; that means the audience data is at your fingertips.  Study the data, make it priority number one.  Find out everything and anything about the audience your brand is going to engage with and carry on a long-lasting relationship.  Audience first means your audience is your customers. Customers always want to be heard, whether right or wrong, so study and analyze the data. Experience makers are matchmakers.

Step 2:  Humanize your magazine media brand.  Your brand needs to be much more than ink on paper or pixels on a screen.  Your brand needs to be humanized, i.e., having the magic touch that changes the brand to a living breathing human being.  If your brand is a human being, who will it be?  What type of person will it be?  Determine the voice, the values, and the vision that person has in mind.  People engage with people.  It will make the experience much easier to start, continue and last for a good amount of time.

Step 3:  Create and curate habitual addictive content that is edited, vetted, and presented in a time and energy saving manner.  This is where the editor, a good editor, is needed to combine the creation with the curation. As I always advise my clients and anyone else who is willing to listen, “If your audience can find the information on Google, that piece of information does not belong in your magazine media.”

Step 4:  Focus on what I call the MVP of the magazine media business:  meet and exceed the audience expectation, validate all the information, and preview the near future to them.  Achieving that expectation through the creating and curating will help you take a step in the right direction of becoming an experience maker.

Step 5:  Make sure that your content is relevant to the audience, necessary to the audience, and on top of it all, sufficient to the audience.  Your audience should not need another brand or platform to finish, fulfill, or lose themselves in that experience.  No one would enjoy a movie if you keep asking them every few minutes to change from theater 1 to theater 3 and then back to 1 or 4.

Step 6:  Once the aforementioned steps are secured, you can start with step 6:  Dating your audience.  No relationship or experience exists in vacuum, and in order to start an experience or a relationship, you need to think about it as if you are dating.  Start with one date, then another, and once the relationship develops, you are ready now for your engagement, and long-lasting partnership.  The experience making is just starting.

Step 7:  What is an experience without a dash of luck?  Well, you always need that dash of luck in any relationship and in any experience.  So, here’s some good luck wishes to you and yours. We look forward to a great magazine media experience making business that only the Chief Experience Maker can deliver.  Are you ready?  

So, what are you waiting for?  Go for it, you can easily be the Chief Experience Maker.  Good luck!

Questions or comments, feel free to reach out to Mr. Magazine™ at samir.husni@gmail.com


Music & Entertainment 1953 Style. The Magazines And I Book. Chapter 12, Part 3.

November 28, 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 three.  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?


Movie Pix was a bimonthly magazine that was published by Astro Distributing Corporation and offered up great photographs of all the Hollywood legends and stars. From Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner to Rory Calhoun, this entertainment magazine had the pictures you must see and the stories you must read if you were a Hollywood fan.

The February/March 1953 issue had Betty Grable and her notorious legs on the cover, taking a bubble bath in an old-fashioned ornate bathtub. The stories inside featured Ava Gardner, Donald O’Connor, Gregory Peck and a host of others. Celebrity entertainment at its best.


This magazine had the inimitable F. Orlin Tremaine as its editor in chief. Tremaine had been the editor for the influential Astounding Stories for many years. Movie Play was yet another celebrity title that offered film reviews, information on television, fashion and gossip that couldn’t be missed. 

The March 1953 issue had Piper Laurie and her “Lucky Bunny” on the cover and proclaimed that it was open season on Hollywood Bachelors. And of course ten years with Elizabeth Taylor was a given. One just had to read the magazine cover to cover. 


Ideal Publishing and William Cotton couldn’t be outdone when it came to the Hollywood celebrity magazines as Movie Stars Parade was another of their titles. With the tagline: the magazine for smart young moviegoers, the magazine’s mission was to be savvy and upbeat, interviewing and photographing everyone who was anyone in Hollywood.

The March 1953 edition had Ann Blyth on the cover and declared they had the man who knew her best inside the covers. Another star confesses her angst over why men jilt her. It’s a bit of a repeat performance here with some of the other celeb titles, but there seemed to be room for one more. 


Another bimonthly magazine devoted to the world of movies and movie stars, Movie World was published by Interstate Publishing Corp. in New York City under the editorship of Bessie Little and publisher Martin Goodman.  In her letter from the editor Ms. Little encourages the magazine readers to stay interested in films by buying the sister publications of Movie WorldScreen Stars and Filmland.

Movie World describes itself as “Hollywood’s Intimate All-Picture Magazine,” and the March 1953 features Doris Day, staring in the movie “April in Paris,” on the cover. However the big cover line, touts Marilyn Monroe’s own glamour secrets in addition to Lana’s greatest love. The magazine was divided into four sections: Hollywood Hilites, Hollywood Works, Hollywood Plays, and Hollywood at Home.


This magazine was founded by songwriter Al Vann and Choral Director Fred Waring in 1943, although only Vann was listed as publisher and advertising director. Vann had been a young Broadway actor and composed several songs throughout his lifetime: “Forever More,” “I Never Care About Tomorrow,” and “Old Man Moon.” The magazine was a look at the world of music from an educational viewpoint, in fact music educator Ennis Davis was the magazine’s editor.

The March 1953 issue was filled with articles about church festivals in Atlanta, the lowdown on orchestras, and movies and music. It had a musical crossword and a music quiz. Just a fun and informative magazine with an educational slant that couldn’t be ignored, yet didn’t make it stodgy at all. 


Joining together, many western music teachers associations, such as in Arizona, Oregon and Washington State, were featured in this educational tool used to inform and instruct on musicians of Western America. Founded in 1945, the magazine was `inspirational in connecting music teachers out west.

The March/April 1953 issue had Californian and Mezzo-Soprano Ruth Reynolds on its cover, a Coronado native who made a name for herself in the musical world during the ‘40s and ‘50s. There were letters from Europe and music and book reviews, along with all kinds of ads for music classes, pianos and other things of musical interest. The issue had a savvy look and a nice feel to only be 15 pages.

To be continued…


A Very Happy Thanksgiving From The Mighty Magazine World…

November 23, 2021

In the November 1921 issue of Good Housekeeping, Thanksgiving was celebrated with style:  a poem by Martha Haskell Clark and decoration by Franklin Booth.  What Good Housekeeping published a century ago, is as valid today as it was then…

Below are a few verses from the poem and feel free to click on the picture below to read the entire poem.

God be thanked for acred yield, and mile-wide harvest bending

Heavy for the reaping-blades, waist and shoulder-high,

Reach on reach of golden seas, shoreless, and unending,

Where the furrow-clods lay dark ‘neath an April sky.

Lord, amid our lifted prayers, let us not forget

Little, tended garden-plots in humble dooryards set.

Simple hearts and humble hands, toiling day by day,

Dreamer-souls that keep the faith on sordid paths unknown,

Those who sow, but seldom reap, bless them, Lord, we pray,

Send full store of golden grain for every threshing-stone.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.


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…


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…


When GQ Was, According to Esquire, As “Beluga Is To Caviar…” A Blast From The Past. A Mr. Magazine™ Nugget.

November 15, 2021

Here’s a blast from the past, the 1958 past.  An ad for GQ magazine in its sister publication Esquire.  GQ was published by Esquire Inc. in the late 1950s and the ad (as you can see in the pictures) touts GQ as the best magazine since sliced bread… Here is a snippet of the ad:

GQ is to magazines as…Rolls-Royce is to cars… Churchill is to shotguns… Payne is to rods… Hardy is to reels… Dunhill is to pipes… Sobranie is to tobaccos… Steinway is to pianos… Steuben is to glass… Dior is to dresses… Chinchilla is to furs… Beluga is to caviar… Dom  Perignon is to champagnes… Joy is to perfumes… Picasso is to pictures… Bardot is… but you get the idea. In every field there’s something that’s so fine and rare that people who’ve had their fill of the ordinary, and know enough to want and appreciate the best, are drawn to it like cats to catnip…

Do you know of a magazine today that the aforementioned similes can describe?  Would love to hear your views…

Until another Mr. Magazine™ Nugget, all the best…


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. 


The True Nature Of Magazines… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

November 6, 2021
Magazines are experience makers whether they were the ones published in 1938 like Ken above or the ones published in 2021. (Ken’s complete first year is part of Mr. Magazine’s™magazine collection).

The True Nature Of Magazines…

Digital delivers content; magazines deliver experiences.

In a nutshell, that’s the premise of my blog today.

Magazines are more than content provider; they are experience makers.

No experience can be developed without repetition regardless of whether that repetition is weekly, monthly or even annually. Think of it as a weekday, a month, or a holiday.

Bookazines are not magazines yet they are invading the newsstands… they are paperbacks printed on better quality paper or as one publisher says, “they are the poor-man’s hardback books.”  Bookazines do not provide repetition, and without repetition there is no habit creation, and without habit creation there is no engaging experiences and without engaging experiences readers never turn into customers, and without customers there is no marketplace.

Magazines have in them a built in expected pleasant surprise that is based on continuity and change. Readers/customers are always looking for that surprise in the midst of the familiarity of the nature of the magazine… they know there will be a diet article or a cooking feature, but the surprise is in what is the diet this time or what is the meal plan in this issue?  An expected surprise

As you know, it’s my postulate, if it is not ink on paper; it is not a magazine. Magazines are in your face, no need to search for them or Google them.  You can see them at the newsstands or you can invite them to your home.  Like a trusted friend they will visit you issue in and issue out.  There are no interruption or pop-up notifications, guaranteed. 

Even the original definition of the word magazine (from the Arabic or French word Maghzen) means a place where goods and supplies are stored:  a warehouse.  The store rarely changes its physical appearance but always changes the goods inside the store.  However, the goods are kept in areas where repeat customers can easily locate the goods they need.  The same is true with the magazine.  The readers can easily locate the regular departments, their favorite columnist, and always be surprised by the ever-changing yet constant themed content regardless of the subject matter.

In fact, some magazines are like an apartment building and others are like a mansion.  One can actually count the apartments in the building or the rooms in the mansion.  Everything is quantifiable.  The size, the width, the depth, all the dimensions are there.  You see the front door and you see the backdoor. You enter the first floor and you can move up to the top floor. It is one complete beautifully designed building or one gorgeous mansion.  You move from floor to floor or from room to room without ever leaving the building or the mansion. Everything in it is connected like a perfectly done jigsaw puzzle, some are 100 pieces and others are 1,000 pieces.  Digital is more like a maze.  You enter at your own risk and you hope to find the right exit without being caught in its web (pun intended).

The content and the ads reside in the same real estate without feeling out of place.  They complement each other to create one experience for the customer.  Unlike digital, the ads in a magazine relate to the topic and nature of the magazine.  Unlike digital, you will not find an ad about dog food in a food magazine or vice versa.  The majority of the ads in magazines are endemic to the content of the magazine, and unlike digital the ads are not foreign to the contentmatter that one is reading on the digital devices.  Ads in magazines are part of the experienceads in digital are an eyesore.  The ads on digital devices don’t add anything to the experience or to the content matter.  They are only after you and your data.

To put it bluntly, ads in magazines are like inviting friends and their friends to your house; ads in digital are like a thiefinvading your house when you least expect it.  

And lest we forget, you can actually own the magazineshow the magazine, and display the magazine since it is a physical entity.  As for digital, even if you pay for it, you own nothing, and you can show nothing, all what you’ve paid for is in a virtual world.  The magazine is private and is yours.  You can hide it or display it, you can toss it or collect it, and you can share it or recycle it.  In short, it is yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

So, what are you still waiting for?  Head to a newsstand or bookstore, pick up a magazine or two, and come back home and lose yourself in an experience any other medium can provide.  Happy experience making

Until next time…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Magazine Consulting & Research, Inc.

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