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September 23, 2016

Publishing News

Amazon to Open Store in Boston, and Likely in D.C.
Boston Globe reports that Inc. appears to be opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the Boston area. Job postings on its corporate website show that Amazon is hiring for nearly 20 positions at a new bookstore at the Legacy Place mall in Dedham. Those workers, Amazon notes, “are in the unique position of being face-to-face with our customers.” The ads do not say when Amazon intends to open the Dedham store and the company did not respond to requests for comment. But the mall’s owner, WS Development, confirmed Amazon’s plans. “We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to Legacy Place in 2017,” WS Development senior vice president Mark Roberts said. Separately, reports that Amazon issued a one-line statement on Friday saying it would be required to start collecting D.C.’s sales tax starting Oct. 1. The company said it had no further comment, but "a source" told WTOP that a store is likely. Amazon has opened physical stores in Seattle and San Diego, and a third planned for Portland, Ore. It's also rumored to be eyeing New York and Chicago...Speaking of the last, MNB cites a DNA Info story reporting that 16 Chicago area bookstores have joined to issue a statement criticizing Amazon's plans to put its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in the city in Lakeview and addressing 'the benefits of independent booksellers and the impact the massive online superstore has had on community businesses.' According to the story, the shops, scattered across Chicago from Hyde Park to Lincoln Square and into the suburbs, 'pride themselves on serving customers who read voraciously and eclectically and on using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities,' the statement reads. It cites a January report co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association that accused Amazon of skirting sales taxes and costing Illinois an estimated $59.8M in revenue in 2014. Another study found the company's presence has resulted in a net loss of 7,800 retail jobs in the state, the letter says..."
Boston Globe (tiered access)
Morning News Beat 

The Story Behind Harvard Business Review's Cover
MIN interviews Harvard Business Review art director Matthew Guemple on its arresting covers, including the current one (shown), which may evoke memories of childhood model-building. Guemple on the genesis of this cover's concept: "What’s interesting about covers at HBR is that we rarely have a 'cover' story per se. Everything in the well is significant, and more often than not has as much value as everything else. It’s not like we get the exclusive Madonna shoot! I run the first round by Amy Bernstein [editor] and James DeVries [creative director]. When we have three possibilities we like, we meet with Adi Ignatius [editor-in-chief] to run through them. Usually we come out of this with three distinct directions, sometimes with two variations on two themes. We have the luxury of testing all our covers. When we have a set we like, we send them out for testing, and once the results are in, we polish the winner to as high a gloss as we can manage. In this case Amy and I met and talked about the possibilities and ended up with two different directions. Amy generated some lines for those, and I started working up concepts based on them. It’s HBR, so it all starts with the words! The original direction was quite different from the final, which came together at the last minute."

Judge: Defamation Suit Vs. Rolling Stone to Go Forward, But Actual Malice Test Applies
WSJ reports that U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad ruled that a defamation suit filed last year by Nicole Eramo, then associate dean of students at the University of Virginia, alleging that she was defamed in Rolling Stone's since-retracted story about a rape on the campus, can go forward to trial. "Rolling Stone, which apologized to readers for the story, disputes the lawsuit’s characterization of its reporting about Ms. Eramo," writes WSJ. "The magazine said in a statement Thursday that it looks forward to the jury’s decision in the case." In his decision, Conrad "set a more challenging hurdle for establishing defamation," according to the article. "He said Ms. Eramo thrust herself in the spotlight as UVA’s point-person in responding to the rape allegations, making her legally a 'limited-purpose public figure.' As such, she must prove 'actual malice,' meaning the magazine didn’t merely act negligently but made statements about her it knew to be false or published them with a 'reckless disregard for the truth.' But in allowing the case to move forward, Judge Conrad said a 'reasonable jury could infer actual malice in light' of the record established so far..."

Post Source Says Wenner Succession Already Planned
In other Wenner news, NY Post's Page Six reports that "a source" claims that Rolling Stone and Wenner Media founder Jann Wenner is planning to name his 26-year-old son, Gus, as his successor next year, for Rolling Stone's 50th anniversary. Also, that "a biography of Jann will be released the same year that Gus takes over." A rep for Jann Wenner declined to comment. The younger Wenner has been head of the company's digital operations since 2014, and recently helped create a Wenner gaming site, Glixel.

More on People's Brangelina Split-Up Issue
A Time Inc. spokesperson tells NY Post's Keith Kelly that the newsstand copy print run for the issue that People rushed out to cover the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt--the first time People has published two regular issues in the same week--was increased by nearly 40% to meet expected consumer demand. There are also pockets set up in stores to accommodate the two issues simultaneously. She also reports that's video streams on Sept. 20 broke the site's single-day record. "People editorial director Jess Cagle, working from L.A., where he attended the Emmys, led a staff that took about 36 hours to get the Brangelina issue to press," writes Kelly. People's Brangelina issue "should have retail shelves to itself for four days — and could post strong sales. Time Inc. could use a boost, as the first [issue with] its lower $4.99 cover price--$1 off the previous price--with Renée Zellweger on the cover was said to be a disappointment."

Forbes, S.I. Newhouse, IPG MediaLab Release Branded Content Study
AdweeK: Branded content bests other online advertising in multiple ways, per a new joint study from IPG MediaLab, Forbes and Syracuse University's Newhouse School. Highlights: Brand recall is 59% higher for branded content than display and native ads; consumers are 14% more likely to look for additional content from a company after a single impression of branded content; and branded content is getting better, showing a 17% improvement in brand recall vs. a similar study in 2013 by the same three players. "Forbes chief revenue officer Mark Howard wasn't about to diss traditional display ads, though, stating that his publication's clients see a 9% lift when display is combined with branded content," writes Adweek.

InStyle to Honor Tom Ford, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley
WWD: "Laura Brown will perform her first official duties as ofInStyle when she hosts the second annual InStyle Awards at the Getty Center in L.A. on Oct. 24. The event, which will take the form of an intimate dinner, honors the industry’s top image-makers from fashion designers and style icons to makeup artists and hairstylists. This year, InStyle’s honorees are Nicole Kidman (Style Icon), Tom Ford (Designer), Shailene Woodley (Advocate), Priyanka Chopra (Breakthrough Style Star), Leon Bridges (Man of Style), Leslie Fremar (Stylist), Sir John (Makeup Artist) and Danilo (Hairstylist)..."

Miscalculations From Facebook, Dentsu Could Force Ad Industry Change
Yesterday, the Wall St. Journal reported that Facebook has been overestimating a key video metric for two years. In addition, Dentsu admitted to overcharging clients at least 111 clients for digital media services by placing fewer ads than promised. As a result of the Facebook problem, some companies may actually have to restate their earnings, and both instances are likely to hasten monthly audits of ad buys becoming the new normal, writes MediaPost.
WSJ (Facebook video metrics, paid sub req.)
WSJ (Dentsu overcharging, paid sub req.)

Schumer, Lively Join Call-Outs of Girls' Vs. Boys' Life Mags
Mashable reports that Amy Schumer and Blake Lively have now joined the thousands of people who have commented on a post earlier this month by a Facebook user who asserted that sexism is evident in the "divergent messages" conveyed by the covers of Girls' Life versus Boys' Life magazines (shown).


Retail News

Discounters Lead List of Fastest-Growing Retailers
Chicago Tribune: " Dollar stores and off-price chains, taking advantage of solid sales and bargain-hunting shoppers, are on an expansion kick, claiming half the spots on a list of 10 retailers that have announced plans to add the most new store square footage as of Q2 2016, according to commercial real estate and analytics firm CoStar. Dollar General, second overall, led a trio of dollar stores in CoStar's top 10. Dollar General, which started the year with nearly 12,500 stores, has announced plans to open 900 more this year and another 1,000 in 2017...Family Dollar will add about 4.3M square feet of retail space, and Dollar Tree--which acquired Family Dollar last yearis adding about 3.2M, according to CoStar..." The list is led by Wal-Mart, with 15M+ new square feet planned, followed by Dollar General (6.5M square feet), Forever 21 (5.7M), Family Dollar (4.27M), Dollar Tree (3.2M), Marshalls (3M), T.J. Maxx (2.87M), Dick's Sporting Goods (2.65M), Tractor Supply Co. (1.86M) and Ulta Beauty (1.17M).

Analyst: Kroger Responding to Wal-Mart in Atlanta
SN: "Led by more aggressive positioning at Kroger, supermarket prices in the Atlanta market are down by 3.8% since July, according to a basket study by Wolfe Research released Friday. 'Our trip to Atlanta this week suggested that the competitive climate in the market just got more aggressive and, for the first time, was led by Kroger,' analyst Scott Mushkin said in a research note to clients..."
Supermarket News (paid sub req.)

Wal-Mart, Combo Could 'Own' Online Pricing
SN: "The marriage of Wal-Mart Stores and represents an opportunity to establish the biggest--and arguably the first--truly price-focused brand in the virtual shopping world, observers said. “If they can properly integrate, I think they have the ability to own a low-price position online that’s currently owned by no one,” Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, a Barrington, Ill.-based consultant, told SN in an interview Thursday. While e-tailing giant is considered an online price leader today, “the reality is they’re a little bit all over the place in pricing,” Bishop said. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart completed its $3.3B acquisition of Jet earlier this week. As previously reported, the deal brings together fast-growing and well-funded in just over a year zoomed to an estimated $1B in annual sales on a hot brand and “dynamic pricing” model--with Walmart, which has a considerably less sexy url, but one with ambitions to build an e-commerce brand as mighty as its store fleet. What both have in common is a reputation for price central to their brands in a way that most other competitors in the e-commerce field do not, Bishop explained. This, he said, holds the promise of distinguishing its offering, particularly in areas like grocery where shoppers can be particularly price-sensitive..."

Albertsons Exec Talks 'Return to Glory' for Acquired Banners
Idaho Statesman did a Q&A with Andrew Scoggin, EVP of HR and public and government relations for Albertsons. which in the past four years has transformed, through acquisitions, from a mid-sized company to the second-largest traditional grocer in the U.S. “The growth, from an employee standpoint, has been the smoothest that I’ve experienced doing this kind of work for 27 years,” Scoggin says. “These two very large transactions [acquiring stores from Supervalu in 2012 and merging with Safeway last year] have been remarkably smooth.” On how the company manages: " As we’ve done an acquisition and come in and laid out our way of operating to a new group of managers and even hourly employees, you have seen a light come in in their eyes when they think, “You’re going to let us do what we know how to do.” We back way off, and we’re here to support, to help them be successful, to give guidance and direction. It takes a leap of faith for companies to be willing to give that much control and discretion. We have very strong rules about following the law, moral and ethical considerations. What we’ve found is that that’s the best way to integrate a workforce. It’s a great paradigm. We owe a lot of that to our CEO’s vision of how we should run the company. There’s a strong sense of ownership...We’ve been able to come back in [after acquiring successful banners that have declined] and work with them to restore the glory to their banner. ... Their neighbors start to say, “Wow, your store is back.” None of them had given up on their brands but were skeptical. The realization that it is different has been incredibly rewarding to us..."

IGA to Launch Online Shopping
SN: " IGA on Thursday announced the launch of an online sales site it described as "on par with the national chains." The service which will be marketed to shoppers as IGA GO, provides what the company called an e-commerce solution that meets shoppers' need for a convenient online ordering platform for pickup or delivery from local IGA stores. 'Online shopping has become an essential element to shopper service in today's grocery marketplace. But that doesn't mean there's no room for traditional stores. Quite the contrary, in fact,' Jim Walz, VP of brand development for IGA, said in a note to IGA's U.S. store owners. 'We also know that online shoppers migrate towards a trusted brick and mortar store, which means that IGA retailers are in a unique position to leverage their well-established in-store relationships in the e-commerce space. With the right program and the right partners, the attentive service and personalized offerings that are signature to a Hometown Proud IGA store transfer easily to an online world where shoppers make grocery purchases whenever and wherever it's most convenient for them.' E-commerce technology providers Digital Foodie and Freshop are partnering with IGA on the project..."


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