April 2, 2012

Publishing News

Hudson Division Becomes Partner in Comag Marketing Group
Hudson Media division National Publication Services, LLC (NPS) has become a partner with the Jim Pattison Group (JPG) in Comag Marketing Group (CMG). Folio: reports NPS has a minority stake. Hudson Media chairman James Cohen, chairman of Hudson Media (whose businesses include Hudson News, the Northeast’s largest wholesaler and operator of the nation’s largest terminal retail chain) will be CMG’s vice chairman and a board member. Cohen told The New Single Copy newsletter (nscopy.com) that Pattison had reached out to him, and said that the partnership offers opportunities to further reduce operational redundancies between wholesalers and national distributors, which in turn should help relieve financial pressures on wholesalers. JPG, owner of The News Group (with about 45% of the magazine wholesaler market, according to NSC), acquired CMG from Hearst and Conde Nast at the end of January. Separately, CMG has recently announced extending its ND agreements with Harvard Business School Publishing and Bloomberg Businessweek, and has signed new client IDG (including PCWorld and Macworld).
Folio:  (Hudson/CMG)
CMG release (new/re-upped clients)

Industry Moves to Standardize Tablet Metrics
Publishing executives on an MPA task force, consulting with advertising agencies, have developed a common set of definitions, a consistent position on timing for data release, and voluntary magazine tablet edition metrics for the advertising community. Five initial recommended metrics include total consumer paid digital issues, total number of tablet readers per issue, total number of sessions per issue, total time spent per reader per issue, and average number of sessions per reader per issue. 

NY Times
MPA release 

Magazine Editors Redefined as ‘Brand Officers’
At major magazine publishers, editing and design are an increasingly smaller part of the chief editor’s job; entrepreneurial chops and supporting revenue growth are the keys to success. Hearst Magazines chief David Carey and editorial execs express enthusiasm about the transformed roles. 

Publishers: Apple’s Newsstand Has Made All the Difference
Rodale, Bonnier, Wired among those confirming that Newsstand’s discoverability and other advantages are significantly enhancing the tablet business model. MIN provides list of magazine apps on Newsstand. 

Elle U.K. Boosts Subs Via Twitter
Reportedly doubled subs through live digital streaming of a cover shoot via Twitter. 

Bloomberg, Reuters Snapping Up Talent, Eyeing Newspaper Buys
The companies, “awash” in subscriber-driven revenue garnered from digital platforms, are hiring top-level journalists away from competitors. Bloomberg’s been rumored to be interested in buying the New York Times; Reuters in buying The Financial Times.

PBAA Hosts Russian American Forum in NYC
The Periodical and Book Association of America is hosting more than 40 press owners and senior executives from Russia for a forum being held in New York today and tomorrow (April 2-3).  
PBAA.net (agenda, sign-up contact)

Consumer Reports: New iPad Isn’t Too Hot to Handle
CR has concluded that the new iPad does run hotter than its predecessor, but that the temperatures are not cause for concern.

The Face Behind Random House Publishing Group’s Success
Under Gina Centrello, the group has gone from a “laggard” to being the single largest contributor to global Random House Inc. in both 2010 and 2011. WSJ credits Centrello’s focus on aggressive marketing and choosing execs with an eye for the next hot authors. 

E-Books: Justice Dept./Publisher Settlement Said to Be Advancing
Sources say Justice Dept. could reach settlement regarding pricing practices with Apple, some book publishers, within next few weeks. Settlement expected to eliminate Apple’s most-favored status, and could at least temporarily shift pricing control from publishers to retailers.

How Book Publishers’ Digital Revenues Stack Up
Summary of most recent earnings reports for major publishers, including digital revenues, where reported.  

Google Tablet to Take on Apple, Amazon
Google expected to begin marketing co-branded tablets (from a variety of manufacturers) directly to consumers through an online store, later this year. 

Retail News

AMI: Don’t Call It ‘Pink Slime’
American Meat Institute is urging the media to stop using the derogatory term for lean finely textured beef; referring media, consumers to information site with facts and an accurate photo of what the additive looks like.

Tops Friendly Markets Swings Into Profit in Q4
Reports Q4 $1.2M profit, vs. $13.8M loss year-ago. Net sales +1.7%, comp sales +1.4% including gas. Full-year earnings $5.M vs. $27M loss in previous fiscal. Sale up 4.3%. Cost reductions contributed to the improved performance.

L.A. Groups File Wal-Mart Appeal
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy are appealing Wal-Mart’s permit to open a 33,000-square-foot store in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Josefowicz Joins Roundy’s Board
Grogory P. Josefowicz, a veteran executive of retailers including Jewel-Osco, Spartan and Winn-Dixie, has been elected to the board of Roundy’s Inc.

Whole Foods to Eliminate Red-Rated Seafood
Starting on Earth Day, April 22, chain will no longer carry seafood red-rated by research organizations such as Blue Ocean Institute. Rating indicates supply is of concern due to overfishing, etc. 

Report: Understanding Social Media ‘Personas’ is Key
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council identifies four social media types with differing consumer habits, offers advice for retailers, brands. 

Express Scripts Closes Medco Health Solutions Acquisition
After FTC vote ruled that the combining of the U.S.’s two largest pharmacy-benefits management companies would not stunt competition or change PBM market’s dynamics. (FTC commissioner, however, dissented, calling the merger a “game changer.”) Separately, CVS Caremark announced that Jon Roberts, now EVP/COO of its PBM business, will become president effective Sept. 1, with day-to-day oversight. Per Lofberg will effectively become chairman of the business, focusing on strategic matters.
WSJ (ES/Medco merger)
CVS PBM release  

Retail Stocks Strong in Q1
Retailers whose stocks hit multi-year highs included Target, Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, several leading department stores. 

Restaurants Should See Faster Growth in 2012 
Higher menu prices, more business from those with discretionary income, driving revenue gains despite flat traffic. Mintel projects overall 2012 sales will be up 2.8%, to $416.4B, including 1.5% gain for full-service, 4.1% gain for QSRs and other limited-service. Technomic projects 3% industry gain. Gas prices are a wild card. 

Canadian Indie Bookstore Closings Raise Concerns 
Latest signs of trouble: Vancouver is losing its remaining four Book Warehouse locations; Nicholas Hoare is closing his Montreal and Ottawa stores; and Toronto’s Book City minichain has closed one of its five stores. 

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