MBR Conference: New Front End Study Quantifies Magazines' Profitability
During the 2018 MBR Conference, Bill Dusek, former managing director of Dechert-Hampe & Co., presented the findings of the latest Front End Focus Study, sponsored and overseen by Meredith Corp.'s Time Inc. Retail. The study underscores the checkout’s crucial contribution to supermarkets — and, for the first time, measures not just sales, but profitability, for magazines and other leading front-end categories. Here's a link to the summary published by MBR Daily in April, for any readers who may have missed it.
Women’s Health Taps Into Wellness Trend for Redesign
WWD: "With the new issue of Women’s Health, which hits stands next week and features Danai Gurira of “The Avengers” and “Black Panther” fame on the cover, the magazine is looking to emphasize its corner on the lucrative global wellness market. The brand, which came under the Hearst umbrella at the beginning of the year when the publisher officially acquired Rodale, kicked off its redesign with a wellness-themed breakfast and presentation for advertisers in New York on Tuesday morning. 'We’re committed to the DNA of the brand, we’re just elevating what it looks like and what it sounds like,' said editor in chief Liz Plosser, who came over to lead the title in January from Well + Good, where she was SVP of content. Prior to that she was senior director of content and communications at SoulCycle and deputy editor of Self. 'I think what I’ve brought into this role is a 360 degree view of wellness and how people are interacting with that on all different platforms and spaces,' she said, of her experience outside of the magazine realm. The redesign is meant to make the magazine feel 'more elevated and more modern,' she said and 'it has an overall happy and empowered tone.' It features a new section on mental health, and the section formerly known as “food and weight loss” has been renamed "food and nutrition," to reflect that it's now more about health than calories. 'It used to be when we talked about wellness, you would think about the 10 pounds I have to lose or what medicines you might have to take when you're getting older. But wellness is now intersecting all parts of the industry,' said publishing director and chief revenue officer Donna Kalajian Lagani. 'What had been niche has really become mainstream. And it’s an incredible avenue for marketers to connect with women who are part of this wellness generation.' She reports that WH has seen an increase in ad pages since the Hearst acquisition; that ad pages are up 3.2% YoY for July/August 2018; and that new advertisers such as Unilever and Maybelline are drawing on the beauty sector. In the latest issue, advertising for the allergy drug Allergan Lo Loestrin was sold across WH and Cosmopolitan. WH has an initiative in the works with Arianna Huffington’s mindfulness brand Thrive, which will be a cross-platform feature guest-edited by Huffington, to run in November"...
Ex Newsweek President Named F+W Media CEO
NY Post: "Greg Osberg, who was president of Newsweek and also ran the Philadelphia Inquirer for two years, has been tapped to be the new CEO of F+W Media.For the past six months, he had been interim CEO following the January ouster of Tom Beusse, COO Joe Siebert and CTO Joe Romello by the controlling venture fund.The company publishes everything from craft titles such as Quilting Arts, outdoor titles including Deer & Deer Hunting and Turkey & Turkey Hunting, auto titles Old Car Price Guide and Military Vehicles and Writer’s Digest. Osberg said he recently tapped Ken Kharbanda to be the CFO keeping tabs on the company for venture backers that include Fortress, Apollo Global Management and Fremont Macanta."
Indie Mags Focus on Data, Brand Power
Folio:'s Casey Welton reports from the MPA's 2018 IMAG conference, for independent magazine publishers. Excerpts: "I had countless conversations with publishers and vendors about how they feel reinvigorated this year and see real potential for growth in the months and years ahead. he Atlantic’s CRO and publisher, Hayley Romer, stood on stage and plainly stated, “I see a bright future for magazines!”And she wasn’t talking about “magazine media,” as we have all become indoctrinated to say. She means actual magazines. You know, those things that most of us built our legacy on. The things printed on paper that feature editorial content along with advertising. Snarkiness aside, print (and “print innovation”) was perhaps uttered more than any other word over the one-and-a-half days of programming. Whereas at AMMC this year, you probably could have counted the number of times it was said without writing it down.This group of publishers still very much believe in their print magazines. That’s not to say they don’t believe in digital media. On the contrary, there were plenty of conversations about digital, and even more on data, which was easily the second most popular word at the conference. But many of these publishers still see print as the foundation of their business models, and digital along with data serving as important buttresses to support those models. Make no mistake, however. This wasn’t merely a bunch of industry folks sitting around wearing rose colored glasses while failing to see the writing on the wall. Even though they are optimistic and still believe in print, they also recognize that times have changed, and so must they. Which leads to the clearest theme at the conference, and one that has become omnipresent in media: the power of brands. Every single speaker had a different story to tell, but they all touched on how success is ultimately underpinned by the quality of their brands. It’s what allows This Old House to reach audiences on several different platforms, or Afar to launch a travel business that takes its readers on adventures from within its magazine or Yankee magazine to launch a nationally syndicated television show.In other words, there is no template for success. Instead, the key is staying true to who you are while exploring new opportunities that will service your constituents and stake holders, and also increase revenue. This could mean small incremental changes, or completely rethinking everything you do. But while you are considering [these decisions], never lose sight of the notion that there’s still hope."
Its Rosy Magazine Draws Boomer Women
MediaPost: "AARP The Magazine (ATM) announced yesterday that it’s increased its readership. Substantially. A spring survey released by market research firm GfK MRI showed that ATM has gained 479,000 readers younger than 60 over the past six months. With an audience of 38.6M in the 50+ category, ATM has the largest audience of any U.S. magazine (2.7M more than People, 8.3M more than National Geographic, 23.5M more than Southern Living, according to MRI data)... With ATM showing such numbers, it isn’t surprising that other publishers would begin to cater to this underserved but very engaged audience. Earlier this year, Livingly Media, home to motherhood site Mabel + Moxie and celebrity style trend site Stylebistro, among others, launched It’s Rosy, a publication dedicated to the lives of boomer women... As the group began to engage in market research, it found [that on] average, women ages 55-64 are making more and spending more than millennial women 25-34, yet only 5% to 10% of ad dollars are targeted to women 50+. Since launching, It’s Rosy has 'monetized relative to our other brands,' said [Livingly Media CEO Erica] Carter. This has also meant targeting its audience where it consumes its content. In the case of boomers, that meant desktop rather than mobile devices and Facebook. According to Carter, traffic has been increasing steadily, and she’s confident the publication will hit its July goal of 1M monthly visitors. The site has an interaction rate on Facebook four times that of the company’s next most active site, and its users consistently spend three to four minutes there... Less than two weeks after its launch, It’s Rosy’s ad rates hit parity with most of the companies' legacy brands. So far in June, It’s Rosy has the second-highest ad rate in Livingly’s portfolio of six sites"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
CVS Taps Postal Service For Last-Mile Rx Delivery Nationwide
MediaPost's Thom Forbes rounds up coverage, including: "With the expectation of Amazon entering the Rx business, CVS Pharmacy yesterday announced it will deliver prescriptions to customers’ homes in a day or two for $4.99. Consumers can either use the CVS Pharmacy app or phone the order in to their neighborhood pharmacy nationwide. The U.S. Postal Service will then deliver it.“CVS Health runs more than 9,800 retail locations nationwide, including pharmacies inside Target stores. The company started a curbside pick-up service a few years ago, and it was already offering deliveries from about 1,600 locations,” writes the AP’s Tom Murphy.“CVS also processes more than a billion prescriptions annually as a pharmacy benefits manager, or PBM, and it provides mail-order deliver through that business. But a company representative has said the delivery service would be a faster alternative and have a wider reach than mail-order,” Murphy continues.“CVS executives last year said they would launch the service, but didn’t say how they would handle the last-mile delivery, an expensive service that has vexed many businesses. It has chosen the Postal Service to carry out a mission that other major retailers have tasked to parcel giants like United Parcel Service Inc. or FedEx Corp. — or turned over to startups,” writes Sharon Terlep for the Wall Street Journal. “Target Corp. last year paid $550 million to acquire grocery delivery startup Shipt Inc., in an effort to quickly expand shipping services,” Terlep adds"...
Dollar General Pilots Mobile Checkout App
PG: "Dollar General is the latest food retailer and first dollar-store chain to move into mobile checkout with a new app. DG Go, according to its description on the Google Play store, is a shopping app that lets users scan and pay for products they select directly from their phone, allowing them to skip the checkout line altogether. It's available for both Android and iOS devices. To use the app, shoppers must download the app onto their device from the Google Play store or iTunes store; scan products as they add them to their physical cart; see their running total and pay directly in the app; receive and scan a corresponding QR code at the dedicated DG Go checkout tablet at the front of the store; bag the products and exit the store. Users will receive a receipt immediately via the app and email. Any digital coupons are applied automatically when customers scan items, and the app alerts users regarding any additional discounts or promotions. Currently, the app is available only in 10 Nashville-area stores, including five in the city, two in Madison and one each in Hendersonville, Goodlettsville and Old Hickory. Although multiple grocers have introduced or expanded mobile checkout within the past year, reaction from consumers has been mixed. While both Kroger and Meijer have rolled out scan-as-you-shop technology in stores, Walmart has pulled back: Following launch and expansion of its Scan & Shop tech earlier this year, it pulled the plug on the initiative last month. It did so, however, after introducing a different method of mobile checkout: Check Out with Me, where associates at the retailer’s garden centers use mobile devices to check out shoppers where they are in the store rather than at the end of a queue. This allows those shoppers to walk out with their purchases without requiring them to enter or re-enter the main store and use the traditional checkout stands there"...
BJ’s Expects IPO Price of $15 to $17 a Share
PG: "BJ’s Wholesale Club anticipates that its initial public offering will be priced between $15 and $17 per share, which would give the Westborough, Mass.-based warehouse club operator a market capitalization of as much as $2.15B, according to a published report. At the high end of the range, the offering of 37.5M shares would raise $637.5M, noted Reuters. BJ’s, which was taken private in 2011 for $2.8B, filed with the SEC to go public for the second time last month. In its filing, the company listed among its competitive strengths a differentiated shopping experience, well-positioned footprint and flexible new-club model, large and loyal membership base, and experienced management team with a proven track record, led by Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Baldwin, who took the helm in 2016. According to analysts, BJ’s debut in a competitive market was 'sensible,' given that investors’ confidence in the retail sector had grown. The retailer’s symbol on the New York Stock Exchange will be 'BJ.'"
Amazon Offers Lockers for Apartment Buildings
MNB reports that "Amazon yesterday announced the national rollout of what it is calling Hub by Amazon, described as an unmanned 'delivery solution for apartments that brings convenience and consistency to the delivery experience' at apartment houses. It is, in essence, a bank of Amazon lockers that can be placed in private facilities. According to the announcement, 'Over 500,000 residents—from NYC to San Francisco, among others—already have access to the Hub by Amazon with thousands more gaining access each month as new Hubs are installed in apartment communities across the country.' Designed for the safe storage of packages, the Hub works for deliveries from any sender, not just Amazon. Residents have their orders and shipments addressed to their apartment as they normally would, and when their package is delivered to the Hub--whether in a high-rise building or garden-style apartment--it is safely stored, waiting for pickup. Hub by Amazon also leverages Amazon’s world-class customer service to provide residents with 24/7 support... apartment residents no longer need to wait for property staff to deliver a package or adjust their schedules for limited pickup windows at front desks. Property owners and managers also benefit from the Hub by Amazon as it takes on package tasks regularly handled by property staff, decluttering lobbies and allowing onsite staff time for other priorities.'"
Retailer Stocks Soaring, Even Edging Out Amazon
WSJ: "Shares of retailers are enjoying their biggest rally in years, an unexpected turnaround fueled by strong earnings, buoyant consumer confidence and a nationwide shopping spree. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is up 11% this year, more than tripling the S&P 500’s 3.3% gain. During Tuesday’s market rout, the retail ETF fell less than the broader market. Share prices of department stores like Macy’s Inc. and Dillard’s Inc. have risen more than 50% this year, even edging out Amazon’s 48% advance"...
Grocers Among Those Urging Congress to Back DRIVE-Safe Act
PG: "42 trade associations, including Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Association, have signed on to a letter urging Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to back the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R.5358) and move it quickly through the committee.Introduced in March, the bipartisan legislation addresses the severe truck driver shortage affecting the movement of commerce in the U.S. by promoting a rigorous skill development and safety-training program for drivers under the age of 21 to engage in interstate commerce"...
3 Strategies Used by the Fastest-Growing CPG Companies
CandyUSA: "Research from The Boston Consulting Group and Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) finds differentiating offerings, targeting consumers with greater precision and complementing organic growth with inorganic growth are three tactics used by the CPG industry’s top performers to distinguish themselves from competition. Differentiated offerings: Use a data-driven approach to better understand core consumers, taking those findings to develop and market products that address specific shopper preferences. More precise targeting: Address consumer preferences by using information on shoppers from a variety of sources during R&D. Organic growth balanced with inorganic: By investing in small, but fast-moving brands, manufacturers can fill holes in a portfolio while acquiring new capabilities"...
Just-in-Time Meal Planning Impacts Food Retail Strategy
In PG, food innovation firm owner Charlie Baggs writes in part: "Food retail shopping is evolving as consumers increasingly look for meals and menus over stock-ups. Basket size gets smaller, shopping trip frequency goes up and the items in the cart increasingly come from perimeter fresh departments. It’s shopping for dinnertime.We are witnessing the emergence of just-in-time food planning, a pattern of working to solve “What’s for dinner?” at 5 p.m. with the intent to prepare and serve by 7 p.m. on the same day. Every insight study we see tends to agree that consumers generally don’t know what’s going to happen at dinner, the most important meal time of the day for most households, until they are within a few hours of sitting down to eat it. Emergence of this food culture shift is due in part to e-commerce shopping, now on an upward trajectory at food retail. Projections keep changing every six months as analysts and pundits predict a tipping point is drawing closer. With these rapidly changing forecasts the neon handwriting is flashing on the wall: omnichannel shopping will be the norm for most households.Ecommerce will continue to dis-intermediate boxed, packaged, shippable foods that don’t require hands-on, eye-on-it selection and where delivery convenience just, well, gets more convenient.As food retailers observe this condition, what are the biggest implications to merchandising and operations to meet the changing need? For one, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Imagine navigating a 50,000-square-foot store for five to nine items with the available time to manage aisle navigation already at a premium – you still need to get home and into the kitchen. Tick tock … can you sense the friction?Shopping experience couldn’t be more important as this scenario unfolds"... Baggs offers a series of steps that grocery stores can take to make shopping and cooking easy for at-home chefs.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: