March 2, 2012

Publishing News

Latest from NY Post: Time Inc.’s Editor-in-Chief Said to Be Staying On; Enquirer’s Houston Cover Biggest Seller in 18 Months
Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang reportedly (unconfirmed) renewing contract of John Huey, EIC since 2005. Said to confirm conservative approach to change by Lang. Separately, American Media CEO David Pecker reports sales of National Enquirer issue with controversial photo of Whitney Houston in coffin estimated at 770,000. At $3.79 cover price, revenue said to be on par with that generated by 1977 issue showing Elvis Presley in coffin, which sold 7.7M copies, but at 39-cent cover price. 

Vanity Fair Protects Newsstand Sales While Promoting Via Social Media 
Current example: To get coverage to promote newsstand sales, VF sent email to media writers, bloggers featuring April issue’s article on Washington Post company with link to PDF, but stipulated link could not be posted or shared in any coverage. Content from any given issue’s stories is “doled out in dribs and drabs” over course of the month for promotional purposes, rather than released en masse when issue debuts, to avoid obviating the need for consumers to buy the issue. There is “no formula” for the balancing act; VF tries “different things all of the time,” said a VF spokeswoman. “We want people to buy the magazine.” 
Ad Age

MSLO Sees Q4, 2011 Revenue Declines; Plans Digital Initiatives
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia reported a 15% decline in revenue in Q4, including 40% drop in broadcasting revenue and 13% decline in publishing revenue reflecting lower print and digital ad revenue. Merchandising revenue rose 13%. For full year, total revenue -4%, including -24.6% in broadcasting, -3.2% in publishing; merchandising +13.6%. President/COO Lisa Gresh says company has “focused too much on cross-brand selling.” New initiatives to include launching iPad editions of Whole Living, Martha Stewart Weddings by year-end; upping focus on digital ad sales; digitizing its 2,500 hours of videos; and testing a daily video newsletter offering demonstrations of recipes, food prep tips, cooking techniques. 
MediaDailyNews (financials)
PaidContent (digital initiatives)

Cosmo U.K. Publishes Faux Naked Photos of Princes
Photos are actually of Prince William and Harry lookalikes. Stunt part of Cosmopolitan’s 40th anniversary celebration, and will help benefit a men’s cancer charity. 

2012′s ‘Read Across America’ Program Leveraging “Lorax” Movie, Suess Momentum
This year’s National Education Association “Read Across America” program–and existing and new offerings from Dr. Suess publisher Random House–should benefit greatly from new “Lorax” movie. (Opening today, timed to mark date of Dr. Suess’s birth, which was also the origin of timing of annual “Read” program launched by NEA in 1997.) Host of NEA and other “Read” events, tie-ins underway. Separately, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is urging a boycott of some 70+ products/brands with tie-ins to movie, charging that “The Lorax”‘s messages of “reducing consumption and promoting conservation” are being exploited to push consumption messages to kids. Mazda’s CX-5 SUV Lorax-themed TV spot and sponsorship of in-school NEA “Reading Across America Tour”(generating donations for books to public schools and promoting CX-5 test-drives) have generated controversy.  
Publishers Weekly (cross-promotions summary)
Marketing Daily  (controversy)

Authors Guild Motions for Ruling on Fair Use Re Google’s Books Scans
Seeks ruling that Google’s digitization of copyrighted books for HathiTrust, university libraries is not protected by fair use. 

Kable Promotes Tourtillott
Jim Tourtillott has been promoted to VP, information technology for Kable Media Services, Inc. In addition to overseeing all IT functions for Kable Distribution Services, Kable Product Services and Palm Coast Data, Tourtillott is charged with strategically leveraging technology across these functions and developing collaborative opportunities of benefit to clients. (item on news ticker) 

Retail News

Retailers Developing Own Mobile-Payments System
Wal-Mart, Target reportedly among some two dozen retailers working together to develop a mobile-payments system to compete with similar systems from Google and major cellphone companies. While banks, credit-card networks, telecomms and tech companies will have to work together to make mobile payments systems work and drive adoption, retailers believe they are positioned to develop more secure, consumer-friendly system. Mobile payments market expected to exceed $600B by 2016.

Kroger, Publix Report Financials
Kroger’s FY Q4 saw 4.9% same-store sales gain (excluding fuel), 7.7% total sales gain (5% excluding fuel). Kroger lost $306.9M, but excluding previously announced pension consolidation, net earnings of 50 cents per share exceeded analysts’ 49 cents expectation. For full fiscal year, adjusted (excluding one-time items) net income was $1.2B (+9.1%) or $2 per share, beating analysts’ $1.77 per share expectations. Full-year sales +10.2%; comp sales excluding fuel +4.9%. Projects 2012 net earnings of $2.28 to $2.38. Separately, Publix’s Q4 2011 net income rose 16.8%, comp-store sales up 5.3%, total sales up 13.4% (1 extra week in Q4 2011 period). For full fiscal year, sales +7.3%, earnings +11.5%.
Supermarket News (Kroger)
WSJ                      (Kroger) 
Supermarket News (Publix)

Nash Finch Reports Financials; Predicts Inflation to Slow Significantly in 2012
Including one-time charges, Q4 net income fell 51% in Q4; sales declined 0.9%. For full year, net income -29.7%; sales -3.7%. Adjusted, consolidated EBITDA +0.6% in Q4, +2.6% for year. President/CEO Alex Covington predicted that consumers’ growing resistance to price increases will force a sharp decline in food inflation in 2012. Also, Nash Finch to invest this year in improving private-label offering, consolidating and upgrading some distribution facilities.

Wal-Mart Raises Dividend; Sam’s Club Launching Magazine
Wal-Mart Stores is raising its dividend by 9%, smallest percentage since FY 2009–suggesting pressure from “everyday low pricing” strategy, competition and slow economy, said some analysts. Separately, W-M’s Sam’s Club is launching branded bimonthly magazine Healthy Living Made Simple, dedicated to health and wellness topics, including personal, child and pet health. Content to include profiles of chain’s pharmacists, optometrists and associates, club members’ stories. 7.4M copies to be sent to members’ homes; 700K copies to be available in-store. 

  (W-M dividend) 
Drugstore News  (Sam’s magazine)

B&N Driving Store Traffic, Nook Sales with “Hunger Games” Incentives
Those who buy a Nook in any of 26 Barnes & Noble stores on March 10 will receive two free tickets to advance screenings of “Hunger Games,” new movie based on Suzanne Collins’s best-selling novel trilogy. Also, those buying Nook in those stores between March 10-20 will get invitation to in-store B&N Hunger Games parties on March 21, and those buying Nook in any B&N store between now and April 15 get a free Hunger Games Nook book. This is latest of several B&N traffic-driving promotions run in recent times. Separately, for second consecutive month, the HG trilogy took the top three spots on both Amazon’s physical top 10 and Kindle top 10 for February; bundled trilogy package also made February top 10 lists.
PaidContent  (B&N promotions)
Publishers Weekly (Amazon sales)

Northern California Union Eliciting Consumer Support
UFCW Local 5 grocery workers asking consumers to sign pledge cards showing support for regional unions’ efforts to maintain medical benefits, working conditions during their negotiations with employers.   

Meat Nutrition Labeling Now Mandatory
Following years of planning and several extensions, nutrition labels are now required on ground meat and poultry packages, and on or near major cuts sold in supermarkets, effective March 1. 

United Invests $1M in Health and Wellness Programs
In addition to adding four registered dietitians to lead corporate, store programs and a new results-based screenings/tracking program for employees, United Supermarkets is implementing store tours led by dietitians, seasonal healthy recipes. 

Developments Re Efforts to Stem Prescription Drug Abuse 
Yesterday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores testified before House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to stress chain pharmacies’ “zero tolerance” of prescription drug diversion. Separately, a federal judge ruled this week that drug agents can halt shipments of addictive painkiller oxycodone and other controlled medications from distributor Cardinal Health, upholding suspension of controlled-substance license of Cardinal’s Lakeland, Fla. facility, for allegedly failing to act on unusually large shipments of oxycodone to two Florida CVS pharmacies. Ruling gives DEA greater latitude to intercede and sanction companies in efforts to stem prescription drug abuse.
Drugstore News  (House hearings)
WSJ  (court ruling)

2,300+ Brands Used Mobile 2D Codes in Ads in 2011; Retailer Ads Dominate
96% of all ads with QR and other mobile codes were in print media. In Q4, 6% of ads tracked across six media carried such codes, up from 1% in January 2011. Retailer ads accounted for 21.9% of print ads using codes in Q4, followed by technology (13.6%), financial services (6.7%), cosmetics and personal care (6.3%). 

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