Time Inc.’s 10-Member Board Announced
Time Warner unveiled Time Inc.’s board members. In addition to chairman and CEO Joe Ripp, they include Howard Stringer, former CEO of Sony Corp.; USA Networks founder Kay Koplovitz; John Fahey, non-executive chairman of the National Geographic Society (where he was previously CEO); Dennis FitzSimons, former CEO of Tribune Co.; David Bell, CEO of marketing services company Slipstream Communications LLC and a former senior adviser to Google Inc.; Manuel Fernandez, former chairman, president and CEO of IT advisory firm Gartner Inc.; Betsy Holden, a McKinsey & Co. senior advisor and former CEO of Kraft Foods; J. Randall MacDonald, CEO and managing partner at Windham Mountain Partners and retired HR SVP at IBM; and Ronald S. Rolfe, former partner, litigation at law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. “I am confident this board will provide sound independent judgment and guidance to the management team as it works to build and grow the business,” said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. TW is scheduled to report Q1 2014 results on April 30.
People Picks Nyong’o as 2014′s ‘Most Beautiful’
This morning on the “Today” show, People magazine revealed its cover subject choice for 2014′s “Most Beautiful” issue (on newsstands now): Lupita Nyong’o, the actress who won Best Supporting Actress and many other awards for her role in “12 Years a Slave.” Others among this year’s 50 “Most Beautiful” include Keri Russell, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Mindy Kaling, Kerry Washington, Pink and Amber Heard. This marks the issue’s 25th anniversary. Michelle Pfeiffer was on the first issue, in 1990. Julia Roberts has the most cover appearances (1991, 2000, 2005, 2010), and Halle Berry has the most total appearances (16 of the issues). Three men have been chosen for the cover: Mel Gibson (1996); Tom Cruise (1997); and Leonardo DiCaprio (1998).
Opinion: ‘The Newsstand’s Not All Doom and Gloom’
Newsstand consultant Linda Ruth reports that since her last column, which asked what “Plan B” is for the newsstand industry, colleagues have been calling to ask why she was “depressing the heck out of them” and repeating others’ “doom and gloom” assessments of the newsstand industry. She quotes industry veteran Irwin Krimke at some length, starting with his observation that ”Retailers read this stuff and take away our space. Now do we need that?” Krimke (still an active newsstand consultant at 85), reports that a client, The Backwoodsman Magazine, has upped its distribution from 38,000 to 209,000 since he “took them” to Kable News Company, with copies selling near 50%. (“If I could take away the prematures, I could sell in the 60′s,” he says.) His formula for growth comes down to a lot of hard work and a little luck, he says. His advice: ”I have always had three little words for this industry: simple, practical and complicated. And everyone’s forgotten the first two. But let me tell you this, with all this talk about our industry dying. If this title, this client of mine, is able to grow 600%, don’t tell me there aren’t other titles out there that can do it. You find those titles and you work the heck out of them.”
Creative Chief Changes at Businessweek, Cosmo
Bloomberg BusinessWeek art director Richard Turley announced that he’s leaving the magazine for MTV. Turley was hired by Josh Tyrangiel when Tyrangiel became BB’s editor in 2009. The magazine, entirely redesigned under Turley’s leadership, has been winning praise since for its innovative covers, layout and aesthetic. No successor has been chosen as yet…Separately, Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles has hired Theresa Griggs, from Rodale’s Women’s Health, as Cosmo’s new creative director. Griggs replaces Tracy Everding, who was a carryover from the Kate White era, the editor who had run Cosmo for 14 years before stepping down 18 months ago. “The hardest part is the visual, and now we have that piece of the puzzle in place,” said Coles, adding that she believes in exponential change rather than major redesigns.
NY Post (Cosmo)
Popular Mechanics Gets New Editorial Leadership
David Granger, who’s been editor-in-chief of Esquire since 1997, has also been named editorial director of sibling Hearst title Popular Mechanics. Granger will work with Ryan D’Agostino, former articles editor of Esquire, who will take the reins as editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics on May 1. D’Agostino succeeds James Meigs, who left to pursue a book project.
Muscle & Fitness Hires Publisher Ahead of Revamp
American Media Inc. EVP, group publishing director has hired Christopher Dolan as publisher of Muscle & Fitness. Dolan was digital director/group publisher of Scout, a sports brand serving college and professional teams. Scardino reports that he, M&F editor-in-chief Shawn Perine and AMI consulting editorial director David Zinczenko will reveal a “full redesign” of M&F with its July/August issue.
House Beautiful Launches ‘Shop America’
HB’s April issue provides guides to eight neighborhoods in seven cities with “amazing shopping opportunities for home décor.” The guides/maps in the print magazine include Digimarc tech so readers can use mobile-friendly versions. There’s also an accompanying mobile app accessible through the HB connect app, which enables mobile shopping from any of the featured stores that offer e-commerce. HB’s already planning a Shop America program for next year.
Latest Speculation Re Forbes Media Sale
Speculation is rampant that the auction of Forbes Media has hit a bump and that the one-time front runner, China’s Fosun International, has dropped out, reports Keith Kelly. The sale process began in mid-November. If Fosun (which did not reply to a request for comment) has dropped out of the bidding, it’s unclear who’s in the lead for Forbes. One source said it could be Spice Global, the Singapore-based investment vehicle run by wealthy India-born businessman Bhupendra Kumar “B.K.” Modi. Another speculated that Axel Springer Group, the German media giant that has a licensing deal for the Russian edition of Forbes, could be in the hunt. Both Spice and Axel Springer were identified as early suitors, along with Fosun and an internal management group.
More on Slate’s New Paid Content Service
Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg says he hasn’t set a specific goal, but hopes to attract “thousands” of subscribers for the new, optional paid content subscription service Slate Plus ($5 per month or $50 per year for access to exclusive content). “We face one major impediment to future success; we’re too dependent on advertising,” he wrote in an email to readers. “Don’t get me wrong–we love our sponsors. But we’ve long recognized that we’d be healthier and more secure if–like many of our favorite ancestors in the print world–we got a meaningful share of our revenue from readers as well as advertisers.” Slate’s revenue last year was believed to be in the range of $20M. Its financials are not broken out by Graham Holdings, which is the name of the successor company after Donald Graham sold the flagship Washington Post to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
Random House Adds Bookstore to Cooking Blog
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Supervalu Swings to Profit
Supervalu Inc. swung to a profit in its fiscal Q4 as expenses dropped and revenue edged up slightly. It reported a profit of $26M, or 10 cents a share, vs. a year-earlier loss of $1.41B, or $6.65 a share. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were 18 cents a share. Sales rose 1.4% to $3.95B. Analysts had forecast earnings of 15 cents a share on revenue of $3.9B. Retail food sales were flat at $1.09B. Save-A-Lot sales +3.1% to $999M. Independent business sales -0.6% to $1.82B. Selling and administration expenses -38% to $471M. Last year, Supervalu tried to limit costs and cut up to 1,100 positions from its corporate and store-support-center offices after it sold five grocery chains. “Fiscal 2014 was an important transition year for Supervalu as we stabilized the organization and set the foundation for our future,” said CEO Sam Duncan.
Wegmans to Expand to Richmond, Va. Market
Wegmans’ Richmond expansion plan includes stores in suburban Short Pump and Midlothian. The stores will be similar in size and design to Wegmans’ current northern Virginia locations, which range from 120K to 140K square feet. A construction timeline and projected opening date for each store won’t be determined until all necessary approvals are in place. The two sites are approx. 11 miles apart. Richmond has seen upheaval in its grocery market in recent years, including the sale of the Ukrop’s chain to Ahold, and new investment by Kroger and Food Lion. Wegmans currently operates several Virginia stores, including one in Fredricksburg, approx. 45 miles north of Short Pump. It is also building a store in Charlottesville, Va., around 55 miles to the northeast.
Survey: Kroger Dominant in Fragmented Field
In an environment where “one-stop shopping” for groceries has increasingly become a fallacy, Kroger is still a dominant grocer, according to new consumer research from Wells Fargo Securities. The report, based on a survey of 1,000+ shoppers in eight markets, showed 34.1% of all consumers citing Kroger (and its associated banners) as their primary place to shop for groceries, well ahead of next-highest finishers Walmart (13.6%); Safeway and its associated banners (10.9%); Trader Joe’s (6.8%); and “other” (5.8%). Kroger was also cited as the top choice (43.6%) when consumers were asked where else they shop for groceries–although responses to this question revealed a high degree of cross-shopping choices, with warehouse clubs Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale (38.7%); Walmart (36.5%); Trader Joe’s (35.8%); Target (34.4%); Safeway (31%); Sprouts Farmers Market (30.7%); and Whole Foods Market (27.2%) also mentioned. “Only 2% said they do not shop anywhere else for groceries, suggesting that most consumers are willing to shop multiple grocery stores to get what they want,” wrote Wells Fargo senior analyst Kate Wendt. SN provides more specifics.
Albertsons Rolls Out Space Analysis Platform
AB Acquisition LLC, which operates Albertson’s LLC and New Albertson’s Inc., has hired Digitalrep LLC for space analysis and reporting services for all divisions, the Portland, Ore.-based service provider said. The Albertson’s LLC legacy stores have been using Digitalrep since the chain’s inception in 2006. Going forward, Digitalrep will host schematic diagrams for the entire chain to enable the stores to analyze shelf space to assist in inventory control; to understand changes over time and how those changes relate to sales performance; and to provide tools that automate repetitive tasks so planogrammers and category managers can focus on strategy.
Wal-Mart Set to Reveal How Compliance Moved Executives’ Pay
W-M will report as soon as Wednesday how well its executives did on their goals to overhaul compliance operations and how that affected their pay. Last year, in the wake of a federal investigation into bribery allegations in Mexico, the company took the rare step of publicly announcing it would tie executive compensation to the company’s compliance goals. “The results are in, the board has voted on how last year’s compliance objectives went, and they said this has done so well that this will be part of our regular corporate governance,” Jay Jorgensen, global chief compliance officer at Wal-Mart said at a symposium Tuesday. W-M expects to issue a securities filing in the coming days that will detail how well executives performed on the company’s compliance goals, such as enhancing its global anti-corruption program.
P&G Profit Edges Up on Lower Costs
Procter & Gamble’s Q3 profit rose 1.7% as expenses fell, though sales declined slightly to $20.56B. Organic sales rose 3% (those sales grew in all segments except healthcare, which was flat). Overall unit volume improved 3%, with fabric care and home care seeing the biggest increase (6%). Sales for that unit grew 2%, due in part to market expansion. Volumes for grooming and health care each rose 2%, while volumes for beauty and baby, feminine and family care were flat, and each of those segments had sales declines in the period. Gross margin narrowed to 48.4% from 49.8% as input costs rose 2.5%. P&G, which is focusing more on higher-priced and core household and personal care products, recently agreed to sell much of its pet products business to Mars, and said it plans to sell the rest of that business in a separate transaction. One new product in the works is a Gillette ProGlide FlexBall razor, with a ball hinge that allows the blade to pivot.
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