Time Warner has named Joseph A. (“Joe”) Ripp CEO of Time Inc., effective in September. Ripp, currently CEO of OneSource Information Services, a digital marketing and information services business, previously held senior posts at Time Warner and Time Inc. [between 1985 and 2004], including SVP, CFO and treasurer of Time Inc.; EVP and CFO at Time Warner; and vice chairman of America Online. TW chairman/CEO Jeff Bewkes said: “Joe is a seasoned executive who has been immersed in the intersection of digital, advertising and publishing for the past decade. He is respected as a strategic leader who has delivered financial results throughout his career, and he also happens to have a thorough understanding of Time Inc.’s business. We have great confidence that Joe will maximize Time Inc.’s iconic brands, scale and industry-leading position to create value for its stockholders.” Ripp said: “Knowing Time Inc. as I have, I’m confident that it has all the elements for success as it enters a new chapter as an independent public company–Industry leadership, strong executives, powerful brands, great journalistic talent, and a track record of innovation.” Unnamed sources told WSJ that TW first offered the Time Inc. CEO job to Star Tribune Media Co. CEO Michael Klingensmith (also a former Time Inc. CFO), but Klingensmith declined. (While not saying he’d been offered the job, Klingensmith stated in an interview that he was “very honored to have been considered,” but had “unfinished work to do” at the Star Tribune.) Bewkes thanked outgoing Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang for her contributions; Lang will stay on as an advisor through Time Inc.’s split-off from TW. Just prior to the announcement about Ripp, TW also issued a release announcing that Howard Averill (currently CFO of Time Inc., who was rumored to be a leading internal candidate for Time Inc. CEO) has been named CFO of Time Warner, starting next year.
Royal Baby Should Be Boon for Celebrity Weeklies
Across titles, the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child is expected to be a boon for newsstand sales. Their wedding, for instance, drew more than $13M in retail sales for U.S. magazines, according to MagNet. With the royal baby due any minute now [the duchess has gone into labor, according to this morning's press reports], celebrity weeklies in the U.S. have their European reporters and editors poised to offer reports from outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital, where the duchess will give birth. Already, magazines are capitalizing at the newsstand. Wenner Media’s US Weekly saw newsstand sales in the low six figures for a newsstand special ($10 cover price) focused on the royal baby that it published earlier this year, reports editor-in-chief Michael Steele. And US is planning another newsstand SIP on the baby due out in the next month or so. ”Obviously, the interest in the royal family remains strong–perhaps as strong as it was in 1982 when Prince William was born, if not more,” says Larry Hackett, managing editor of People. “People’s royal-wedding issue in 2011 sold more than 2 million copies on the newsstand. Our readers can’t get enough of William and Kate and are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child.” People’s issues on the births of Prince William and Prince Harry, in 1982 and 1984, sold 2.6M and 1.9M copies, respectively.
More Opinions on Rolling Stone’s ‘Bomber’ Cover
In this week’s issue of The New Single Copy, John Harrington offers an in-depth commentary on the controversy generated by Rolling Stone’s Aug. 1 cover story featuring a self-taken photo of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Harrington notes that the controversy once again demonstrates “the power of tactile print publications and the role of real newsstand display,” adding: “However, there is still something unsettling and threatening, not just to newsstand, but to journalism in all forms, by the controversy generated by what critics said was a glamorizing portrait of the accused.” He points out that the photo had previously been shown in The New York Times and other publications, and argues that RS’s treatment “does not glamorize” Tsarnaev: Its cover lines call Tsarnaev a “monster,” and “the article is a chilling and honest portrait of how a young man became that monster,” he writes. “The article is in Rolling Stone’s tradition of publishing noteworthy, even exceptional, long form journalism, a fact that in a less contentious social and political atmosphere would have provided the publisher with a less hostile environment,” he adds. The commentary notes that some retail chains’ decision not to display the RS issue was not particularly surprising in historical context (although most such instances have related to covers deemed too overtly sexual); and that the chains’ public announcements of their RS non-display decisions (rather than just quietly not displaying the issue) seem to indicate that they are hoping for some positive publicity. However, this time, the “real” surprise was “the chiming in by an eager group of media bloviators on radio, television and in the digital realm,” says Harrington. He also notes the irony that “assuming that the copies of [RS's] Aug. 1 issue normally allotted to the boycotting chains find their way into more friendly retail venues, the issue will almost certainly have higher than usual sales.” Separately, in MediaPost Marketing Daily, Thom Forbes rounds up/summarizes (with links) numerous other opinion pieces with pro and con takes on the RS cover–including critical remarks in New York magazine from former Esquire art director George Lois (who asserts that his own use in the 60′s of a cover showing convicted My Lai massacre leader Lieut. William Calley was quite different); and a USA Today piece in which former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson states that “Americans need that [RS-used] picture and [its] story…because [Tsarnaev] is what bombers look like” and asserts that censoring magazines ignores “the informative role of journalism in a democracy.” Separately, NYT’s David Carr weighs in with piece that opines that, while he understands the sensitivities of the bombing victims and their families, “There is civic and journalistic value in finding out more about who [Tsarnaev] is, and if the cover created in-bound interest, that would seem to be to the good.” Also separately, HuffPo has published results of a poll it conducted with YouGov, showing that among those just shown the cover [no indication of how many poll respondents actually read the article--although "only a small number" of respondents were regular RS readers or subscribers], 65% said they deem it inappropriate. But fewer than half (47%) said that they would support a boycott of the issue, 32% said they would not support a boycott, and 20% said they weren’t sure.
Huffington Post (poll)
The 33-year-old popular science magazine from Kalmbach Publishing debuts a complete redesign with its September issue, on newsstands Aug. 6. (New cover shown.) The overhaul aims to streamline the magazine’s style to match its content, with an “elegant, eye-catching and easy to navigate” design. The revamped publication will also include a new tagline—“Science for the Curious”—and an understated new logo that nixes the magazine’s trademark all-caps for a subtler mix of upper and lower case letters for “a more serious yet approachable tone,” says new design director Dan Bishop. The print redesign follows a Web site redesign–all accomplished by a mostly-new staff (including new editor-in-chief Stephen C. George), as it last year moved its offices from New York to Wisconsin.
Possible Revival of Domino Brand Rumored
Curbed, noting the excitement generated by Conde Nast’s newsstand-only Domino special last year, reports that there are signs that CN might be planning to revive the shelter brand (folded in 2009) on an ongoing basis, perhaps in an online-only format. A former Domino editor, Michelle Adams, is back at work on the title, and the magazine is reportedly doing a shoot in Paris.
Opinion: How Amazon Self-Destructs
Author Evan Hughes argues that Amazon could end up being a victim of its own success, by contributing to the demise of the bookstores where most consumers still “discover” books, as well as by undermining the financial models of the publishers that create and supply the books that it sells. “Of course consumers want to pay less, but it’s probably healthier for readers in the long run if Amazon stops making prices so low that publishers and bookstores are endangered,” Hughes writes. “In a world where Amazon discounts a popular new book by 10 or 15 percent instead of 35 percent, brick and mortar stores would be able to compete. That would be better for everyone.”
Opinion: Embracing the Physical in the Digital Age
Communications professor Susan Currie Sivek shares examples of two mainly publications (Quarterly, Container) that combine digital and unusual physical offerings for readers, suggesting that magazine publishers might pick up some ideas for enhancing subscriber offerings.
Zinczenko Acquires Tennis Star’s Book
David Zinczenko has purchased his first book for his new imprint at Ballantine Bantam Dell, Zinc Ink. The former Men’s Health editor has acquired tennis star Novak Djokovic’s “Serve to Win,” described as a “nutrition-based performance guide.” The book is scheduled to be released, in all formats, on Aug. 20, to coincide with the U.S. Open.
Apple Tests Larger Screens for iPhones, iPads
In recent months, Apple has asked Asian suppliers for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4″, and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly under 13″ diagonally. Not yet clear whether the designs will make their way to the market.
Jack Griffin Sues Former Partner
Former Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin–part of a group of investors among those currently seeking to buy The Boston Globe–has sued Orange County Register publisher Aaron Kushner for up to $10M. Griffin asserts that Kushner reneged on agreements related to Griffin’s role as a senior advisor in Kushner’s company’s unsuccessful bid in 2011 to buy The Boston Globe, followed by the company’s acquisition of the OC Register and six other newspapers. Kushner’s lawyer asserts the suit is “without merit.”
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Bantam Sets Pub Date for Stephen Hawking Memoir
Spartan, Nash Finch to Merge
Today, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores and Minneapolis-based Nash Finch Co. announced they’ve agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at $1.3B. Together, Spartan and NF will have 22 distribution centers serving 37 states, will operate 177 retail stores and will be the leading distributor of military commissaries and exchanges in the U.S. They will have combined pro forma annual sales of about $7.5B. NF, which had revenues of about $4.8B last year, will become a subsidiary of Spartan, which had revenues of $2.6B. Under the transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, NF shareholders will receive a fixed ratio of 1.2 shares of Spartan common stock for each share of NF common stock they own. Upon closing, expected by the end of calendar 2013, Spartan shareholders will own approximately 57.7% of the equity of the combined company, and NF shareholders will own approximately 42.3%. Dennis Eidson, president/CEO of Spartan, will retain those positions in the combined company. Alec Covington, president/CEO of NF, will remain in an advisory capacity. The combined company, which will retain a presence in both Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, will include members of each company’s management teams and employee bases. NF’s military business will remain based in Norfolk, Va., led by Edward Brunot, president of that division. Craig Sturken, chairman of Spartan’s board, will be chairman of the board of the combined company.
Kroger Preps for $1B Bond Issuance
Kroger Co. plans to raise $1B in a two-part bond offering. Kroger announced Friday it will sell $600M of 10-year securities at 3.85% and $400M of 30-year debt at 5.15%. Proceeds from the offering will be used to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes. Kroger, which is buying Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. for $2.5B, last sold debt in April 2012, raising $850M in a two-part sale, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The $500M portion of 3.4% 10-year notes traded Thursday at 98.3 cents on the dollar to yield 3.63%, according to Trace.
Demoulas CEO Survives Challenge
Arthur T. Demoulas remained CEO of Demoulas Supermarkets after its board on Thursday made no motion to remove him over the course of a 13-hour, court-ordered meeting. The CEO of Demoulas, parent of the 72-store Market Basket chain, was believed to be in jeopardy after his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, gained control of its board last month and moved to fire the CEO. The move reactivated a longstanding feud between the cousins. The dispute resulted in the court-ordered board meeting during which the issue of voting out the CEO was to be on the table. Thousands of Market Basket shoppers and employees rallied to support Arthur T. Demoulas.
C&S Could Close Birmingham Facility
The combination of Belle Foods’ bankruptcy and Rouses Supermarkets’ switch to another wholesaler (Associated Wholesaler Grocers) is leading to layoffs and possible closure of C&S Wholesale Grocers’ warehouse/distribution facility in Birmingham, Ala.
Compare Foods Tests Mobile App
Test of app enabling shoppers to scan groceries with smartphone or tablet starts today. The Swift Shopper app, created by ezCommerce Solutions, is free for both retailers and customers, who have the option to upgrade for $1.99. Customers scan products as they place them in their cart, and then hand their mobile device to the cashier upon checkout. The technology works with checkouts that use dual-line handheld scanners. Compare, which focuses on perishables and ethnic products at competitive prices, operates 21 stores in New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and North and South Carolina. The first test of the app is scheduled to last three months at the company’s Arrowood Road location in Charlotte.
Driving Impulse Sales
During a CSP Driving Impulse Sales meeting last week, suppliers and analysts shared best approaches. Casey McKenzie, senior principal consultant at Impact 21 Group, cited Markus Stahlberg’s point that 68% of buying decisions are unplanned, and 70% of brand decisions are made at the store, and said that combining retailers’ own scan data and industry and supplier research “exponentially” increases the chances of success in driving impulse sales.
Opinion: Getting Smart About Raising Prices
A marketing professor and a business professor offer practical strategies for raising the prices of consumer goods without losing customers.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
July 22, 2013
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