MagNet Releases Q1 Results
Q1 U.S., Canadian single-copy sales — in part reflecting fewer issues of key weeklies in 2013 vs. Q1 2013 (12 issues instead of 13), as well as about 975 fewer issues of non-weeklies (6% fewer) published in the period vs. Q1 2012 – declined 11% in dollars and 14.5% in units, reports MagNet. When weeklies’ sales are averaged on a per-issue basis to reflect the smaller number of issues, their dollars were -11.7%, units -14%, or 8.6 and 7.5 percentage points higher than when number of issues is not factored in. (MagNet did not provide an overall/all-titles’ adjusted comparison for Q1 2013 factoring in the weeklies’ issue gap or the reduced # of issues for other titles vs. Q1 2013.) MagNet reports that the top 50 titles and those titles that fall below the top 1,000 accounted for 97% of dollar sales losses in the quarter; ”the rest of the business was actually pretty resilient.” Dollar sales for titles ranked 51-100 rose 4.1%. Several titles in top 100 that had same number of issues in Q1 2013 and 2012 saw significant unit gains: People StyleWatch +46.3%, Woman’s Day +29.9%, Food Network Magazine +21.8%, GQ +14.9%, Shape +12.4%, and Men’s Fitness +10.6%. Categories seeing dollar gains in the period were science (+11.5%), outdoors (+11%), recreation (+7.3%), aviation (+6.3%), health/fitness (+0.6%) and “other” (+27.4%).
Esquire Launches Weekly Tablet Edition
Esquire Weekly–a first-of-a-kind weekly tablet edition of a monthly magazine launched end of last week. Editor-in-chief David Granger provides specifics: The weekly will publish on Thursdays. Free to the magazine’s digital subscribers, or can be purchased a la carte for 99 cents at the App Store once the free Esquire app there is downloaded. Each edition to feature “original stories by Esquire’s best writers…Esquire magazine’s writers and editors will opine on and celebrate the things we get enthusiastic about. There’ll be some funny stuff. And we’ll toss a piece of ambitious writing into the mix each issue.”
Why Elle Got a Google Glass App
Commenting on Hearst’s Elle being first magazine to have a Google Glass app, chief technical officer Phil Wiser said: “It’s early and it’s experimentation, but it’s in line with the overall approach to what Hearst is taking in mobile.” Working with Google, Elle/Hearst developed the concept around Elle’s standing in the fashion community. The app pulls together Elle content (its most-read articles, fashion insights of the day, horoscopes) and users can share content, but also create reading or shopping lists that can later be pulled up from a mobile or desktop device. Hearst has been active in mobile for several years, starting with more than 100 mobile apps spanning its TV, newspaper and magazine groups. Many of its major properties see more than 50% of their traffic come in via mobile devices. So far, responsive designs rolled out for Town and Country, Road and Track, but by year-end, all outlets will have such designs. Hearst is exploring “native” advertising opportunities in mobile, but Wiser thinks typical sponsorship models are likely to work there. “It’s not as big a shift as some make it out to be,” he said.
B&N’s Simple Touch eReaders to Get Updates
An upcoming update will bring a Web browser, email and update store app to Barnes & Noble’s super-affordable Nook Simple Touch line of e-readers, which will begin rolling out June 1, per anonymous source. The 1.5.0 update was created in response to the positive critical and customer response to the recent Nook tablet update that brought Google Play to B&N’s Android-powered devices.
Stephen King Says No to Ebook
King says he has no plans to release a digital version of “Joyland,” to be released by paperback publisher Hard Case Crime on June 4. “Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one,” he said. It’s unclear whether any other high-profile writers will follow his example of print-only release, but some bookstore owners confirm that they hope so. This King decision represents the reverse of what he did in 2000 with “Riding the Bullet,” which Simon & Schuster released exclusively in digital format (priced at $2.50). King’s next, bigger new novel, “Doctor Sleep”–a sequel to “The Shining”–will be published by S&S’s Scribner this fall. The Anchor Books paperback arm of Bertelsmann SE & Co.’s Knopf Doubleday Group, plans to issue two new editions of “The Shining” that will each include an excerpt from “Doctor Sleep,” an unusual move given it is a rival of Scribner. The excerpt will also appear in the e-book edition of “The Shining” that goes on sale Aug. 27 with the paperbacks. Scribner said it will include a mention of “The Shining” in some of its ads for “Doctor Sleep.”
Book Publishers Discuss Digital-Only Vs. Print+Digital Decisions
During BISG’s Making Information Pay conference, Dan Weiss, publisher at large for Macmillan’s St. Martin’s Press, said the publisher thinks mass-market paperbacks “gradually being replaced by digital-first” releases. “We’ve done serials, we’ve done e-first, e-only, we’ve scooped up online writers like [Amanda] Hocking. We’ve done prequels, sequels, interstitials,” Weiss said. The company hasn’t done a print-only deal (like bestselling self-published author Hugh Howey’s print-only deal with Simon and Schuster for ”Wool”)yet. “We feel it’s important as a full-service publisher to have all rights,” Weiss said. “That may change.” While Weiss said that St. Martin’s doesn’t like to give away content for free, he has occasionally had difficulty convincing others at the company of the need to price digital content cheaply (a challenge that he said is not limited to Macmillan). “As the serial format continues to grow, getting publishers and getting my colleagues to understand that pricing is crucial has been really challenging,” he said. “We have to argue that this is the minor leagues, and we’re trying to build sluggers for the major leagues, that we can take into print.”
Yahoo Buys Tumblr for $1.1B
Yahoo board approved the deal; released official announcement this morning. Tumblr CEO David Karp (who will get a windfall of cash from the acquisition) will stay at Yahoo for four years at least and retain a lot of control over the service, while Yahoo will undergird Tumblr’s nascent advertising business with its large and established infrastructure. For Yahoo, Tumblr considered critical in its strategy to attract younger audiences with user-generated content. In its release, Yahoo wrote: “Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.” WSJ says deal indicative of “shifting balance of power” in the tech business.
AllThingsD (deal specifics)
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
In May 17′s IPDA News, the summary of a Boston Globe item regarding Wegmans’ decision to delay opening a Newton, Mass. should have stated that the chain was opening a new store in its headquarters city of Rochester, N.Y. on May 19, not a new headquarters building. We apologize for the error.
Sprouts Seeks Fuel for Growth in IPO
Sprouts Farmers Market is touting rapid sales growth and the potential to add more than 1,000 new stores in a prospectus detailing plans for an initial public offering of stock. Filed for IPO late last week. Sprouts, which operated 157 stores as of May 1, said it plans to grow its store count by at least 12% annually over the next five years, with the potential to operate as many as 1,200 nationwide. Sprouts posted comparable sales growth of 9.7% in 2012, according to the filing, and has marked positive comps for 23 consecutive quarters. Sales for 2012, including Sunflower assets added during the year, totaled $2B. The company posted $20M in net earnings for the year. Sprouts, which is controlled by the private investor Apollo Capital Management, did not indicate how much it intended to raise in the IPO, but said it intended to use proceeds to service debt from its recent refinancing and for general corporate purposes.
Publix Wins Black Pearl Award for Food Safety
The International Association for Food Protection has named Publix Super Markets the winner of the 2013 Black Pearl Award, which recognizes outstanding commitment to, and achievement in, corporate excellence in food safety and quality.
Wal-Mart Reports Costs for Bribery Probe; 2 China Execs Resign
W-M’s quarterly earnings report included report that it spent $73M in fiscal Q1 on the foreign bribery probe expenses, exceeding its earlier forecast for such expenses ($40M-$45M). Those costs were $157M in last fiscal. Separately, W-M China’s SVP Stephanie Wong and VP hypermarket merchandising, grocery and consumable Carol Fung have left. W-M said Wong is pursuing other opportunities; Fung has “personal reasons.”
WSJ (foreign bribery probe)
WSJ (China execs)
Campbell U.S. Soup Sales +14%
Fiscal Q3 (ended April 28) soup sales gain is largest in nearly five years. Reflects weather, but also “steady improvement in Campbell’s core business under Chief Executive Denise Morrison, now with four straight quarters of positive soup sales after a multiyear decline.” Each part of Campbell’s soup business—condensed, ready-to-eat and broths—notched double-digit gains, with the entire business posting a volume gain of 11%. The soup business has turned a corner and started to stabilize with the introduction of more new products, including new packages such as pouches to try to attract younger consumers. The company has also had an increasing focus on improving the taste of many of Campbell’s soups after a period where the company diverted attention to rolling out more low-sodium products. The latest wins in Campbell’s soup business included scoring higher prices on condensed soups without damping demand and a significant sales rise for its “Chunky” soup line after bringing back advertising tied to the NFL and coming up with new varieties. U.S. simple meals sales (soups and sauces) +11%; U.S. beverages -5%. Q3 profit $181M, or 57 cents a share, compared with year-earlier profit of $177M, or 55 cents a share.