Tag Archives: Magazine industry

Economist-mergers

The secret to the Economist’s success

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John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, spoke on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show”, along with Stephen Shepard, dean of the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and former senior editor at Newsweek and BusinessWeek.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

- The conventional thinking seems to be that in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, who needs a weekly news magazine? But why is Time successful and not Newsweek? What makes one magazine successful compared to another? “It’s that vague concept called editorial quality, by which I mean original stories that are not available elsewhere,” Shepard said. Publications that produce valuable content that readers are willing to pay for use the news for a forward-looking story that incorporates analytical thinking and is relevant not necessarily to what happened yesterday but to what the impact of yesterday’s news is.

- What’s the secret to The Economist‘s success? Micklethwait suggested that while editorial quality is important, it’s always subjective based on the individual reader’s preferences. Globalization and the rise of the mass intelligence, however, are two key macro-level factors that have made The Economist more relevant now than ever. “There’s a much bigger group of people at the top who want to get ideas as part of their diet.”

To listen to the complete interview, please click here.

Newsweek

What the end of Newsweek’s print edition means

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It’s another sad day for lovers of print publications with Newsweek announcing it would cease printing its weekly magazine at the end of the year and move to online only content.

It’s yet another sign of the times for journalism as one of the media’s best-known brands ceases to land in subscribers’ mailboxes each week. It’s hard to compete in a world where breaking news and analysis is measured in seconds and the cost to print and mail magazines keeps going up.

From the Wall Street Journal story:

Ms. Brown and Baba Shetty, who is Newsweek Daily Beast Co.’s chief executive, said the company will call the new online publication Newsweek Global and will continue to support it through subscription fees, with some content available on the Daily Beast.

The new publication will be “a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context,” the statement said.

The move comes three months after the family of the late Sidney Harman, the billionaire who two years ago bought the ailing newsweekly and later merged it with IAC’s the Beast, pulled its financial support. The result left IAC with majority ownership.

And from the New York Times piece:

Founded in 1933, Newsweek established a venerable place in the American media landscape, competing ferociously with Time magazine week in and week out to bring news to several million readers. In the pre-Internet era, before a constant stream of real-time information was available, the two magazines were viewed as among the best sources of news and analysis — an attractive product on the newsstand and a highly anticipated arrival in the mailboxes of subscribers.

But as the weekly publication cycle became outdated, both magazines struggled to adapt to the Internet age and establish a digital presence, while facing a decline in advertising and circulation.

In 2001, Newsweek had a total paid circulation of 3,158,480, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. But as of June of this year, circulation had fallen by more than half, to 1,527,157.

According to the Times story, Newsweek was losing about $40 million a year, and IAC Chairman Barry Diller, who owns it, said he wouldn’t keep supporting that forever. As a business decision, it’s the only one to be made, but it is hard to think about more veteran journalists hitting the street looking for work.

Obviously the production costs were just too much to make it feasible to continue printing, but what will be interesting is to see if those more than 1.5 million people will pay for Newsweek content online. They’re planning to have a subscription model, which we’ve seen to be effective for sites such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. But the Daily Beast is free now.

So presumably Newsweek’s 1.5 million print subscribers got the magazine not just for the content, but the presentation and package. Obviously, online is a much different way to interact with content. That’s why I still receive National Geographic in print. I love the photos.

Since that same content is now available online or elsewhere, likely for free, it will be interesting to see how Newsweek can differentiate itself. They may have the best table reader application out there – that’s one way to do it.

Mostly, I think Newsweek needs to focus on the analysis piece. Most people reading a weekly magazine these days are probably looking for the smart, concise, wrap-up piece that tells them everything they need to know in a short amount of time, sort of like one stop shopping.

But they have a lot of competition for this in the general news space. There are the print papers – the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, LA Times – and then the other magazines – US News & World Report (online only), Businessweek, and of course, Time.

I hope that the move will help save a few journalism jobs. Shutting down the print magazine is the only move. I just hope that Newsweek can keep some of those 1.5 million readers when they go online only. But it’s going to take superior and fast content to capture the eyes they need to succeed.

bloomberg pursuits magazine - fall 2012 cover

Bloomberg ups frequency of Pursuits to quarterly

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Nick Batten of MediaWeek reports that Bloomberg is increasing the publishing frequency of its Pursuits magazine from once every six months to quarterly.

Batten writes, “The title was launched in March as a biannual magazine, distributed as an extra with its monthly Bloomberg Markets magazine, which is sent out to around 380,000 subscribers to the company’s Bloomberg Professional Service.

“According to Bloomberg, Pursuits has been ‘so successful’ that the decision has been taken to make it quarterly from early 2013.

“For the coming November issue, Bloomberg Pursuits hired former Condé Nast editor John Birmingham as the fashion editorial consultant, as there will be twice as much fashion editorial, including a tuxedo package shot in the UK with one of the stars of ‘Downton Abbey’.

“Bloomberg claims that so far there has been advertising interest from Ralph Lauren, Bergdorf Goodman, Ritz Carlton, Audemars Piguet and Brooks Brothers.

“Laurie Benson, EMEA director at Bloomberg, told Media Week that the new magazine gave advertisers access to an otherwise elusive audience across all platforms.”

Read more here.

Financial Post

Canadian biz magazine sees readership rise

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The Financial Post Magazine in Canada has seen significant growth in readership, bringing it almost on par with rival Report on Business Magazine, according to Print Measurement Bureau Fall 2012 figures released Thursday.

A National Post story states, “FP Magazine readership was up 9% to 945,000 from the PMB Spring 2012 survey of people 18 years of age and older.

“That compares to a 3% increase to 983,000 for Report on Business Magazine, a 4% drop to 786,000 for Canadian Business and a 14% increase to 818,000 for MoneySense.

“Distributed nine times a year with the National Post and into select office towers across the country, Financial Post Magazine also saw a 4% readership jump compared to PMB Fall 2011.

“With an audited circulation of 166,000, the magazine’s readers per copy now stands at six, up from 5.5 in the last survey.”

Read more here.

WSJ. magazine

WSJ. frequency is increased

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The Wall Street Journal announced Thursday that WSJ. Magazine, the Journal’s luxury lifestyle magazine, will increase its frequency for the fourth time since launch and will publish 11 issues in 2013, up from 10 issues in 2012.

The frequency will increase again the next year to 12 issues in 2014.

WSJ. Magazine launched as a quarterly publication in September 2008. It currently has a global circulation of more than 1.6 million and is distributed to all subscribers and on newsstands in the U.S. as part of WSJ Weekend, as well as outside the U.S., where it is distributed in copies of The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Wall Street Journal Asia.

“WSJ. Magazine has become the benchmark by which all glossy magazines are judged,” said Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Co. and managing editor of The Journal, in a statement. “Our team’s successful formula of gloss without dross, of style with substance, has recast the character of luxury magazines and broadened the Journal’s already growing global audience.”

Since launch, WSJ. Magazine has attracted 143 new advertisers to the Journal franchise, across categories including fashion, retail, jewelry, real estate, financial, technology and others. In 2012, the magazine has already seen a 45 percent year-over-year growth in ad pages, following a 76 percent (2010 vs. 2011) year-over-year growth the previous year.

Read more here.

Minnesota Business

Minnesota biz magazine names new editor

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Steve Mollman, who has worked at The Wall Street Journal and Wired magazine, has been hired as editor of Minnesota Business magazine.

He’s reported on business, technology and other topics for the likes of Time, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and many other print and online publications, traveling the world along the way with stints in San Francisco, Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong.

“Excited to get started is the only way to describe my enthusiasm for this opportunity,” Mollman said in a statement. “To lead a publication with such rich history in a state with such a diverse business culture is sure to be a challenge and an honor.”

Tiger Oak Media, publisher of more than 20 magazines in a dozen markets, has seen some great growth in Minnesota Business since acquiring the publication almost four years ago from previous publisher Metropolitan Media/Great Water Media Group.

Minnesota Business magazine launched in 1994, focusing on Minnesota-based entrepreneurial endeavors and business networking.

Read more here.

Inside the new Bloomberg Insider

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Erik Maza of Women’s Wear Daily takes a look Tuesday at the new Bloomberg Insider magazine being produced for the political conventions.

Maza writes, “It is meant to ‘elevate the visibility of Bloomberg and showcase all the various resources we have,’ said Insider editor Tim Franklin.

“Franklin pointed out BGov is relatively new — it launched last January — and needs the exposure.

“‘It’s one thing to have a Web site or an app; it’s another to put a printed copy under someone’s nose,’ he said.

“Bloomberg has printed 15,000 copies, with 10,000 of them distributed free of charge at each convention, and the rest in Washington.

“While some publications lay off staff and cut budgets and frequency, Bloomberg, Reuters and Politico have expanded hiring to supply these lucrative subscription services. Bloomberg alone has 1,600 staffers in Washington.

“BNA and BGov, as it’s dubbed internally, both provide specialized data and analysis to lobbyists, policy wonks and other Beltway geeks, and View is an opinion site that counts Michael Kinsley and Jeffrey Goldberg as columnists, similar to Reuters’ Breakingviews. Politico Pro offers tradelike coverage of the military and the energy sectors.”

Read more here.

Bloomber Pursuits

Bloomberg Pursuits looking to increase its frequency

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Erik Maza of Women’s Wear Daily reports that Bloomberg Pursuits magazine is looking to increase its frequency.

Maza writes, “The move is surprising. When the title was launched in January, it did not seem clear who would read Pursuits that Bloomberg hadn’t already reached with its other magazines, including Pursuits’ sister monthly title Bloomberg Markets and Businessweek.

“Dukmejian clarified its niche: ‘This magazine’s audience doesn’t overlap with anyone’s. Businessweek is read more by the business community. Markets is read more by the financial elite.’
Pursuits was created to cater to Markets’ readers while they’re at play.

“‘We have had this remarkable audience. We wanted to give them more lifestyle edits. We are reaching among the richest, wealthiest people in the world, who are relatively young. And we’re doing it with a luxury lifestyle magazine,’ said Dukmejian.

“The magazine is sent only to subscribers of Bloomberg’s famed terminals, who pay some $20,000 for the so-called Professional Service. That’s an audience of 375,000 readers who have an average age of 44 and whose average annual household income is $490,000. An additional demographic note: 90 percent of them are men, Dukmejian said.”

Read more here.

Big three biz magazines outperforming industry

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

The three largest business magazine titles — Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Fortune — outperformed the overall glossy industry during the first six months of the year, according to data released by the Publisher’s Information Bureau.

Forbes reported as 16.4 percent increase in ad revenue and a 13 percent rise in ad pages for the first six months, while Fortune magazine reported a 10.5 percent increase in ad revenue and a 4 percent rise in ad pages. Bloomberg Businessweek posted a 7.8 percent increase in ad revenue and a 6.4 percent increase in ad pages during the same time period.

In comparison, the overall industry posted a 3.6 percent drop in ad revenue and an 8.8 percent drop in ad pages, according to the data that can be found here.

The best performing business magazine during the first six months of the year was Fast Company, which posted a 24.8 percent increase in ad revenue to $26.5 million and a 19.5 percent increase in ad pages to 294.76.

The worst performing business title during the first half of the year was Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, which recorded a 25.2 percent drop in ad revenue to $8.7 million and a 27.9 percent decline in ad pages to 127.12.

SmartMoney, which Dow Jones & Co. announced last month would be closed, posted a 4.7 percent decline in ad revenue to $16.6 million during the first six months of the year and an 8.6 percent decline in ad pages to 164.03.

In comparison, rival Money magazine posted a 2.1 percent increase in ad revenue to $52 million and a 3.3 percent decline in ad pages to 228.69

Behind a winning regional business magazine is great writing

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Business North Carolina was named the best regional business magazine in the country last week at the Alliance of Area Business Publications meeting in Milwaukee.

It is the first time that the magazine, based in Charlotte, has won the national award. Runners-up for best magazine were D CEO in Dallas and Twin Cities Business in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Talking Biz News asked David Kinney, the editor for the past 25 years and majority owner since 1998, about winning the award.

Here is what he had to say:

Since the magazine was founded in 1981, Business North Carolina has won more than 100 national awards for its writing, reporting and design, but this one was the biggest by far.

We had won the silver and bronze awards for best magazine a few times, but — considering some of the competition we were up against and the relative sizes of our staffs and budgets — winning the gold took me by surprise.

I really liked what the judges, members of the University of Missouri journalism faculty, had to say about the magazine in their comments: “Great writing is its hallmark, the output of skilled reporting and impeccable editing. The stories are interesting to read even for people who aren’t interested in business reporting.”

We’ve always put a premium on writing at BNC. As a monthly magazine, we can’t be as timely as daily or weekly newspapers, not to mention broadcasting outlets or Web publishers and social media. People might not have to read us, so we’ve got to do everything in our power to make them want to read us.

And if you can do that, there’s still a demand — and appreciation — for the kind of journalism we produce. But to deliver that product, you’ve got to attract a strong staff, abetted by a talented stable of freelancers.

People work for BNC because they’re drawn to long-form journalism. They get to do the kind of stories you’ll find only in magazines, mostly magazines published in much larger markets. Take Ed Martin, for instance. He started writing for us as a freelancer after nearly 30 years of working for dailies, then spent more than a decade on our staff. Now retired, he’s our senior contributing editor and still doing great work. Not only was he a big reason we won best magazine, but he got the gold prize for best body of work by a magazine writer, the sixth time he’s taken the top honor in that category.

He also won gold prizes this year for best magazine feature, best magazine personality profile and best local spin on a national business/economics story in the open category, open to both newspapers and magazines.

“Martin,” the judges wrote, “excels as a business magazine writer because of his story choice and story execution — fueled by in-depth reporting, elegant writing and first-person observations. Whether he is writing about the biggest farm east of the Mississippi River or an aging speedboat mogul, Martin captures the flavor of his subjects with the use of telling, specific details and a compelling narrative arc.”

And it’s not just the veterans who make this happen. We won the silver prize for best headlines, one of which was written by Spencer Campbell, a young editor who came to work for us just last year from a magazine in Florida — with the stated purpose of becoming the next Ed Martin.

DISCLOSURE: I was a contributing editor to Business North Carolina from June 2004 to September 2007, writing a monthly sports business column and other stories.