Jan. 19, 2012

Publishing News

MSLO Names Dedicated Publisher for Flagship Magazine
Reversing two-year-old strategy of unified ad-sales group selling across its magazines, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has named Peter Medwid SVP, publisher of Martha Stewart Living. Medwid was VP, publisher of Time Inc.’s Sunset, Coastal Living. Last year, MSL’s ad pages fell 6.2%, Everyday Food’s fell 21.2%, Whole Living’s slipped 2.8%. 

AMI Reportedly Drops Kardashians Magazine Idea
Post says sources claim that Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner demanded approval of all stories about her family across American Media Inc. titles. AMI declined to comment, and Jenner’s rep she had never had a conversation with AMI involving such demands. 

AMI Exec: Enquirer App Intended to Draw Younger Audiences
Digital content entertainment editor offers more on National Enquirer app to launch in February. Says print edition content will be starting point but app content to be differentiated; multi-platform edition will help “reinvent” brand. 

Time Inc. Launching Online Business Vertical
Time Business, on Time.com, to bring readers “intelligence, insight” into world of big business/global markets. News, content also to cover small business, economy, finance, more. Editorial to be led by Scott Medintz, founding editor of Time’s successful Moneyland personal finance vertical. 

The Week Hires Men’s Journal Publisher
Felix Dennis’s The Week has reportedly replaced Jessica Sibley (publisher of The Week for two years) with a new publisher, Michael Wolfe, who had been publisher of Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal for two years. MJ’s ad pages up 3.5% in 2011, while The Week’s were down about 11%. MJ has not yet named successor to Wolfe, according to Post. 

FT Looks at Magazine Brands’ Expanding E-Commerce Initiatives
With e-commerce companies now describing themselves as content companies, “we have to make sure we set aside long-held orthodoxies and find ways to properly modernize content and commerce,” says Hearst Magazines president David Carey. Hearst, Conde Nast execs stress that magazine brands’ editorial integrity not being allowed to be compromised. 
Financial Times (registration required)

Bon Appetit to Launch Kitchen Collection
Branded line of cookware, appliances, cutlery, prep tools to debut on HSN on Jan. 31, with former “Top Chef” contestant Ryan Scott as its spokesperson (he will promote the line monthly on HSN). Glamour also launched jewelry line via HSN, but BA partnership is Conde Nast’s most extensive partnership with the network to date.



Hearst Corp. Hires First Digital Technology Officer
Philip Wiser was formerly CTO of Sony Corp. of America, starts at Hearst Feb. 1.

Atlantic Media Officially Announces Launch of Global Business Site
Still-unnamed site to be helmed by former WSJ.com managing editor Kevin Delaney, and deliver “high-quality content and services to business executives navigating the increasingly complex global economy,” states company. 

Supreme Court Ruling: Public Domain Works Can be Copyrighted Anew
Court upheld a federal law that restored copyright protection to works that had entered the public domain. Affected works, including books, likely number in the millions. 

HarperCollins Promoting New Elmore Leonard Novel Via TV Show Tie-Ins
FX’s “Justified” series is based on a character in a Leonard short story. Now, HC has released Leonard’s new novel “Raylan,” with cover featuring photo of show’s star, Timothy Olyphant. Promoting book with ad on third-season premiere episode of show, and on DVDs of season two. Also releasing new, renamed issue of Leonard’s original short-story collection with story featuring the Raylan character. 

Sourcebooks Has Record Year
Publisher of romances and other novel genres and nonfiction saw total revenue up 19% in 2011, including 795% growth in e-books. 
Publishers Weekly

Twitter Reportedly Considering Traditional Print, TV Ad Campaign
As part of marketing strategy. Twitter consulting with former Apple global marketing communications chief.

Ad Age 


Retail News

Economy: Wholesale Prices Decline
Producer price index down 0.1% in December vs. November, driven by lower food (especially vegetables) and gas costs. But 0.3% increase in core prices (which exclude food, energy) raise questions as to whether inflation is easing. 

Wal-Mart: Companies’ New-Product Ideas, Consumer Votes to Drive New Product Offerings
The @WalmartLabs e-commerce and social-media R&D unit is launching “Get on the Shelf” program, inviting companies small and large to submit product ideas along with supporting videos. Consumers will vote on which products they’d like to see on Walmart .com or in Walmart stores. Top three vote-getters will be sold on Walmart .com, and a grand prize winner will be featured on the home page (50 million monthly unique visitors) and select Walmart stores. Separately, Wal-Mart has filed a motion to get a reformulated gender-discrimination lawsuit dismissed by a U.S. District Court. 
Ad Age  (new-product initiative)
Supermarket News (discrimination suit)

H-E-B Launches Health, Price Campaigns
“Compare Our Prices to Anyone” campaign to promote variety of savings opportunities that lower prices on several H-E-B brand and national brand products. Also launched “Healthy at H-E-B,” a “comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare.” In addition, H-E-B has expanded its new Orchid beauty-care line, with facial products.

Supermarket News (campaigns)
Supermarket News (beauty line)

NGA Expands Executive Development Program
Partnership with Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and Unilever will enable more executives (50-plus) to participate annually.

Supermarket News

Retailers, Brands Confirm Increasing Stress on Customer Analytics, Services
Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb among those quoted. Says WF’s strategy centers on winning customers through “conscious capitalism,” including granting loans to local farmers, featuring farmers markets in store parking lots.  

Target Again Suspends Efforts to Sell Credit-Card Receivables Portfolio
Until later this year. Also outlined plans to pay J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. about $2.8 billion, along with a make-whole premium, to retire financing it received in 2008. 

GS1 U.S.: Retailers Need Apps to Reach Consumers
Increasingly–particularly to get private-label brands included in price comparisons–retailers will need to use apps to communicate directly with consumers, go beyond loyalty programs, says the organization’s chief, Bob Carpenter.

Supermarket News 

Ben & Jerry’s Among Companies to Incorporate as ‘Benefit Corporations’
Under new, untested corporate charter available in a half-dozen states, which allows corporate boards to consider social or environmental objectives ahead of profits (in theory shielding boards from investor lawsuits). 

Report: Discounting May Be Eroding Customer Loyalty
Colloquy research finds just 12% of U.S. consumers strongly agreeing that it pays to be loyal to a favorite brand; just 17% saying that loyalty programs are “very influential” in determining a purchase. Concludes loyalty programs’ copying of one another with discounts, cash-back rewards making them indistinguishable to consumers; new strategies needed to avoid losing both margins and customer engagement.

SavingStar in Grocery Giveaway
Digital coupon service will give six months of free groceries to one winner to mark its having acquired 1 million users since April launch. 

Brookshire Pilots Seamless Digital Grocery Platform
Successfully completes pilot of new platform from MyWebGrocer designed to create a seamless digital experience for shoppers when online or using a mobile device, at home or in the store. 

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