March 1, 2012

Publishing News

ESPN The Magazine Going to ‘All-Themed’ Format
Building its 24 issues per year around themes is designed to provide a more time-sensitive approach. First issue featuring new theme, sports analytics, now on newsstands. Other themed issues to come to include “history of women in sports,” expected to generate some controversy, particularly given its timing to coincide with 40th anniversary of still-divisive Title IX.  

New York Magazine to Launch Stand-Alone Design Magazine
New York Design Hunting to launch in May with circ of 75K and cover price of $6.99. Issue is a trial run, but publisher expects continuation, with more than one issue per year. Company already publishes twice-yearly New York Weddings. 

Daily-Deal Sites Helping to Boost Magazine Print Subs
Groupon, LivingSocial, said to be rivaling tablets as sources of new paid subscribers, attracting promising demographics. Users include Wired, The Economist, Esquire, US Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, Lucky, allure, Men’s Health, Washingtonian, Bazaar, New York magazine. 

Scene Magazine Debuts This Week
Scene, bankrolled by real estate scion Jared Kushner and being managed by socialite Peter Davis, aims to be a magazine for–and by–the young New York rich. 

Fortune Cover Story Available Only to Print Subscribers, Digital Buyers 
Having apparently seen success with making an Apple cover story available only to paid print subscribers and through paid iPad app and Amazon e-book (not on its site), Fortune is repeating the tactic with a new story, a profile of Facebook (“Inside Facebook”). 

Forbes Media Promotes Two Executives
Meredith Kopit Levien has been promoted to chief revenue officer, and Mark Howard has been promoted to new position of SVP digital advertising strategy. Levien was SVP/group publisher; Howard was SVP, digital sales. 

The Economist Teams with Penguin Shorts on E-Singles
Partner to publish series of reports in e-book format, as Economist looks to attract new buyers and provide existing subscribers with an alternative way to consumer content.  

Opinion: Pattison, Comag Merger Revisited
Newsstand consultant Linda Ruth, who recently wrote column expressing concerns, skepticism about industry ramifications of Jim Pattison Group’s acquisition of Comag Marketing Group, has written a follow-up in which she notes that the enhanced coordination could potentially enable streamlining an RDA pass-through system, improving efficiencies/reducing returns, facilitating scan-based trading.  
Audience Development (follow-up)
Audience Development (first column) 

E-Book Readers Buying More Digital and Print Books, But Not from Bookstores
Book Industry Study Group survey, conducted by Bowker Market Research, shows e-book readers buying more print as well as digital titles, but through apps and online. About one-third decreasing spending at national and local book chains. E-readers still dominant reading platform, but multi-function tablets, smartphones gaining popularity. 
Publishers Weekly

Apple’s iBookstore Gets Comics, Graphic Novels Category
New category makes it easier to find, market and promote comic in iBookstore. Marvel Comics helping to launch new section with 80+ graphic novels featuring its superheroes. 

James Murdoch Relinquishes Role at News Corp.’s U.K. Newspapers Unit
Stepping down as executive chairman of the beleaguered News International business, but retaining role as deputy chief operating officer of the New York-based media conglomerate. Deputy leader of the U.K.’s opposition Labour Party said Murdoch had “no option but to go” after “shocking evidence” of alleged bribery by the Sun, revealed this week at a public inquiry.


Retail News

Economy: Mixed Indicators
In January, personal income rose 0.3% vs. December (December income rose 0.5%). January consumer spending rose 0.2%. While economists had projected 0.4% growth for both in January, government revised its Q4 2011 annualized growth rate projection to 3%, from previous 2.8%. Also, initial jobless claims declined again last week, and the unemployment rate in January fell to 8.3% (from 8.5% in December), the lowest since February 2009. Separately, the 21 retailers tracked by Thompson Reuters are expected to show fairly strong average February same-store sales growth of 3.4%. However, analysts warn gas prices could shoot up to as high as $5.50 per gallon in summer, depending on Iran, Middle East developments.
WSJ  (economy)
WSJ  (February sales)
NY Times  (gas prices) 

Martin to Stay On as A&P’s CEO
Sam Martin has accepted an offer to remain A&P’s CEO after its emergence from Chapter 11. To receive annual salary of $1.2M, plus $720K sign-on bonus to be paid by new owners. Most other senior execs also to stay on, although CFO/chief restructuring officer Jake Brace still negotiating. 

WinCo Expands to Vegas, Phoenix; itle
WinCo will open first two southern Nevada stores this Sunday and first two Arizona stores on April 1. Separately, Brooklyn officials have approved Whole Foods’ construction of its first (52K-sq.-ft.) store in that borough, to open early next year.
Supermarket News  (Whole Foods)

GMA Appoints EVP, Government Affairs
Louis A. Finkel has 19 years’ experience on Capitol Hill, including as chief of staff for the U.S House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology. He is currently VP at McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, representing corporate, trade association and nonprofit clients before Congress and executive-branch agencies and specializing in food, hunger, agriculture and energy issues, among others. 
Progressive Grocer

New Data Confirms Wealthier Households Use More Coupons reports $100K and over households more than twice as likely to coupon as those with $35K and under incomes. College-degree holders twice as likely to coupon as non-high-school graduates. Online coupon use up 360% since before recession; one in five smartphone users used mobile coupons in 2011. 

Supervalu Launches Integrated Apps
Shoppers at all 1,100 stores under Supervalu’s nine banners can now use Android/iOS-compatible apps to view current week’s circular, update shopping list in real time via sync with banners’ sites (so other family members can add to list while the shopper is in-store).

General Mills Buying Natural Snack Food Company Food Should Taste Good
Terms not disclosed. General Mills will add Needham Heights, Mass.-based Food Should Taste Good (maker of natural tortilla chips, sweet potato chips and other snacks sold at retailers across North America) to its natural/organic business, which includes brands such as Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and LÄRABAR. 

Court Blocks Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs
The federal judge who in November temporarily blocked the FDA’s plan to require graphic images (such as diseased lungs) on cigarette packs has now issued a summary ruling against the FDA, agreeing with tobacco companies’ argument that the warnings would violate constitutional free-speech rights. FDA could appeal ruling, possibly up to Supreme Court, but highly unlikely it would be able to implement the requirements by this September, as originally planned.  

Trade Orgs to Present Food Expo
The American Meat Institute (AMI), Food Marketing Institute (FMI), United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture are gearing up for the largest food industry exposition of its kind. The four shows will be co-located in Dallas this April and May for a combined event featuring food tech/trends from 1,200 exhibitors over 1M sq. feet.

USDA Unveils Web-Based “Compass”
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is online document, map highlighting USDA’s support efforts for local, regional food projects, including coordination across its 17 agencies, additional offices.  

Why CPG Coupon Expiration Windows Continue to Shrink
Average redemption period has shortened from three months in 2007 to 2.4 months in 2011, according to Inmar Promotion Network. Marketer reasons cited include minimizing promotion liability, faster redemption and greater redemption by new buyers as opposed to existing users, security (fraud prevention), as well as brand- and product-specific purchasing cycles, marketing strategies. 

How Consumers Rate Digital Shopper Marketing Tools
Latest Catapult Action-Biased Marketing study shows than three-quarters of the 34 tools surveyed topped 50% awareness among shoppers; 58% who are using DSM technology experience “positive satisfaction;” digital tools as a whole are driving behavioral change. But also shows that QR codes, location-based check-ins and social media, specifically, are thus far having little impact on shopping behavior. 

PepsiCo Urges Collaboration to Speed Processes, Address Digital/In-Store Convergence
Speaking at FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, PepsiCo Americas Foods and Global Snacks Group CEO John Compton said food industry needs to collaborate to speed up the ways it collects data, develops products, reduces days of inventory, and generally addresses the convergence of online and in-store shopping.

Retailers Increasingly ‘Scouting’ New Whole-Health Brands, Sources

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