April 4, 2012

Publishing News

Q1 Saw 52 Magazine Launches, 12 Closures
Closures way down vs. Q1 2011′s 24. Niche magazines replaced regionals as the most fertile launch category, with new restaurant, hunting and fishing and lifestyle titles hitting newsstands. Launches included five new DiningOut guides from Pearl Publishing, four hunting/fishing launches from J.F. Griffin, plus luxury lifestyle titles including Bloomberg Pursuits and relaunch of Time’s Style & Design. Total launches included eight new B-to-B’s.

NIM Releasing Full Version 
After two years of development, the Next Issue Media consortium (Conde Nast, Meredith, Time Inc., News Corp.) is launching a tablet app version to include 32 leading magazines. App downloaders can opt to pay $9.99 for an unlimited subscription to all of the monthly magazines in the app, or $14.99 for access to both the monthlies and weeklies; easier for consumers than downloading individual apps for each title. Single copies will cost $2.49 to $5.99 per issue and subscriptions to individual titles will cost $1.99 to $9.99 a month. iPad platform not available in this release of app, but NIM will submit it to Apple for approval soon. Also, for now, advertisers not able to make combined buys across the NIM publications. 

ASME Announces National Magazine Award Finalists
With six each, New York and The New Yorker tie for most nominations among 52 titles across 20 categories, including General Excellence. Conde Nast leads among multiply-nominated group publishers (24 nominations), followed by Hearst (10) and Time Inc. (seven).

Men’s Health Goes on the Road
Rodale title launching Electric Car Challenge, to establish the record for fastest coast-to-coast drive in an electric car. Involving consumers at stops along the way; team will post updates on brand’s site, Twitter and check in on FourSquare at each stop. Fans encouraged to come meet them, work out with them, get T-shirts.

Hearst Launching iPad Metrics
Hearst, which charges separately for its magazines’ digital editions instead of bundling them with print subscriptions, will immediately begin disclosing to advertisers the total number of paid iPad editions sold each month (other platform metrics not being released currently). Conde Nast already offers advertisers metrics for iPad, Kindle and Nook editions.

National Geographic CEO Envisions Digital Future
NG Society currently has 181,000 subscribers across digital platforms; digital accounts for 3% of total revenues. But CEO John Fahey predicts digital revenue to comprise 50% in “not-too-distant future.” Says print could become obsolete sometime in future, though hard to imagine that happening over next decade.

USPS Expects Senate Action 
Deputy PMG expects comprehensive bill on postal restructuring to reach Senate floor within next two weeks. House action also has “good shot”; from there, bill would go to conference to hammer out differences. Separately, PMG explained how technology fits into USPS’s focus on four key business challenges. 
DM News  (bill)
DM News (technology)

Time Warner’s CEO Paid $25.94M in 2011
Jeff Bewkes’s total compensation was down slightly from 2010′s $26.3M. Pay included a $2 million salary, $13.5 million in non-equity incentive compensation and more than $10 million in stock and options awards. TW’s 2011 profits were $2.9B, up nearly 12%. In February, TW announced plans for new $4B share-repurchase program, and increased quarterly dividend by 11%.

National Digital Library Moving Forward 
Harvard librarian Robert Darnton vows that nonprofit, nationwide Digital Public Library of America, to offer access to millions of free digitized books, will launch by April 2013. Acknowledges that copyright issues are the biggest challenges, and explains history of copyright issues in the book trade. 
Publishers Weekly

Hachette U.K.: Digital to Double in 2012; ‘Revolutionary’ Sites Planned
Group CEO says 2011′s 10%-12% digital share to more than double in 2012 (running at 30% of fiction sales and 20% overall so far this year). To roll out state-of-the art sites that enable marketing to readers, markets in “revolutionary” ways. 

Look at Emerging Book App Approaches
Forbes surveys the widely varying types of offerings and talks with publishers, authors about the evolving app scenario.

Retail News

Economy: Confidence Up in March
Discover Financial Services’ U.S. Spending Monitor shows consumer confidence up 1.7%, to 96.5, the highest level since October 2007, prior to the recession.  34.5% believe economy improving (up 3 percentage points vs. February); 44% view as worsening (down 2 percentage points); 17.2% as staying same (up 0.4 point). Just under half still view economy as poor, but 48.2% view as fair or better. 24.6% said their finances were improving, up 0.6 point, 44.8% saw their finances worsening, up 1.5 points. Rest said finances stayed the same or weren’t sure. 42.1% said spent more in March, up 5.3 points, and 33.8% expect to spend more in April, up 6.1 points. 52% plan to spend more on household expenses, including gas, groceries-up 8% vs. February and highest level since May 2011. 

Safeway, Giant OK New Contracts
Baltimore/D.C.-area UFCW workers voted to approve new contracts. 19-month pact includes hourly wage increases; full funding of health benefits with no increase in members’ out-of-pocket costs; and continued retirement security with all current pension benefits maintained and new steps to resolve funding issues for at least the next 10 years. Union said it defeated concessions including new wage tier and elimination of Sunday pay scales. 23K+ workers covered by the contracts.

Best Yet Markets Launches New Banner
First neighborhood-focused Best Market store opened in Holmdel, N.J. in February; two more to open this month in Huntington and Patchogue, N.Y. New look, banner eventually to be extended to company’s 13 existing stores in Long Island, NYC. Stores feature retro iconography, tailored product assortments. 

More on E-Book Pricing Suit
Plaintiffs in the class-action suit claim that direct evidence of alleged anti-competitive pricing conspiracy (such as a physical meeting among defendants Apple and major publishers) not required; indirect evidence like price jumps and common motive enough. Cite 1939 Supreme Court case. Plaintiffs appear to have changed their stance on Barnes & Noble (not named in suit). If Justice Department reaches settlement with publishers, it could strengthen class-action suit plaintiffs’ hand a force a civil settlement, says PaidContent. Also provides link to document from plaintiffs opposing denfendants’ motions to dismiss the suit.
PaidContent  (developments summary)
PaidContent (opposition to dismissal doc) 

House Bill Would Require Labeling of Beef with LFTB 
Bill introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree from Maine’s 1st District, dubbed the “Requiring Easy and Accurate Labeling of Beef Act” (REAL Beef Act) is co-sponsored by 10 House members. Would require labeling of all beef products containing lean finely textured beef.  

Amazon Ups Focus on CPG Advertising
Exec says CPG advertising is “huge opportunity” for Amazon. Amazon’s massive customer data enables precise targeting, says analyst.
Amazon Tests In-App Purchase Service to Challenge Apple, Google
Service being tested allows both subscriptions and purchases of individual items within apps. 

Walgreen’s March Sales Down
Walgreens posted March sales of $6 billion, down 4.3% vs. March 2011. Expects Easter to boost April results. Comp-store prescriptions down 11.4%. Negative impact on comp-store prescriptions filled due to no longer being part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network was 10.7 percentage points. Total front-end sales -2.5% but comp sales up 1.2%.

More on Consumer Reports Customer Service Rankings
More specifics on which supermarket chains rated best and worst on specific service aspects. 

Why Retailers Fear Millennials
Those 25 and younger earn lower incomes, are less likely to own a home or car, and spend less on food, gifts, health care and retirement plans. Average member of Gen Y carries $45K in debt, with student debt being the most common form. 

Kraft Reveals Numbers for N.A. Grocery Business
First look at broken-out numbers for the grocery business to be called Kraft Foods Group (Kraft Cheese, Oscar Mayer, Maxwell House etc.), one of the two companies to be created later this year when Kraft splits, shows it has increased revenue for two consecutive years, with 2011 sales of $18.7 billion. But due to commodities costs, earnings from operations (excluding divestitures) fell 2.5% to $1.8B last year, and operating margin fell to 15.7% vs. 16.6% in 2010, 17.2% in 2009. Also, Kraft chairman/CEO Irene Rosenfeld received $21.9M in total compensation in 2011, up 13.5% due to bonus for exceeding organic revenue growth expectations.


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