Note to Readers: MBR Daily will be off for the holiday until Monday, Nov. 27. Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all.
Time Inc., Paramount to Launch SI, EW Branded TV Series
Folio: "Launching in January of next year, Time Inc. Productions and Paramount Network are teaming up for a multi-project deal that includes a set of non-scripted TV series currently in pilot production... The one-hour “Sports Illustrated: True Crime” series, launched by the brand and Jerry Bruckheimer TV, will investigate athletes involved in criminal activity and misdeeds, and is based on the title’s “SI True Crime” franchise. Each episode will be accompanied by an article on the brand’s website and in its print magazine. A half-hour “Entertainment Weekly: The Bullseye” series will run as a late-night comedy panel/talk show based on the magazine’s “The Bullseye” column, and will feature celebrity guests." Bruce Gersh, SVP, strategy and business development at Time Inc., says Time Inc. Productions has a team working on developing TV programming across the company's brands. Both series were developed with Time Inc. Productions’ partners, then pitched as a team to Paramount. Gersh says that extending the brands into TV is a priority... 'By the end of 2017, we will have produced over 50 hours of TV programming, more than doubling versus 2016,'" he says.
Food & Wine Changes Its Name for Cover Wrap Milk Ad
MediaPost: Time Inc.'s Food & Wine magazine altered its name to Food & Milk on the cover of copies sent to some subscribers, for a geo-targeted promotion from the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). The altered cover will be sent to 92,000 out of the magazine's 925,000 subscribers. Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) convinced the magazine and publisher Time Inc. that this placement will reconnect milk to modern foods.“Our approach to planning media is not to place an ad, but to hack the media so you can’t separate the creative idea from its context,” says Christine Chen, partner and director of communication strategy, GS&P. 'Naturally, they had the right concerns about their brand and whether we would uphold their quality but they were surprisingly open and incredibly supportive.' The campaign features a cover wrap that is identical to the national Food & Wine cover, but with shot-glass-size servings of milk instead of wine placed in a holiday-party setting. The cover wrap will have additional executions on the inside front cover and inside back cover of those copies of the magazine exclusively designated for California Food & Wine subscribers. The creative concept is part of CMPB's 'Food Loves Milk' campaign, launched in September 2015, to highlight milk’s ability to complement a range of flavors, from savory to spicy to sweet."
Businessweek Issue to Feature New 'Bloomberg 50' Awards
WWD: Bloomberg has unveiled The Bloomberg 50, a multiplatform franchise that celebrates 50 influential names who have had an impact on the business world in the past year. 'What sets The Bloomberg 50 apart from other lists is that each person chosen has demonstrated measurable change over the past year,' asserts Bloomberg Businessweek editor Megan Murphy. 'Readers will find many names they recognize, but will also discover new visionaries--people who are impacting the world in significant ways, and are rapidly gaining the attention they deserve.' The Bloomberg 50 kicks off with a special issue of Bloomberg Businessweek showcasing the 50 honorees, described as 'thought leaders' in business, finance, technology and science, politics and entertainment. The special issue will hit newsstands Nov. 30, when the list will be released. There will be coordinated programming across the company’s digital, social, television and radio channels. On Dec. 4, Michael Bloomberg will host an awards dinner at Gotham Hall in New York’s Herald Square. The event, produced by Bloomberg Live, the company’s events arm, will be emceed by actor Keegan-Michael Key, with a performance by Mandy Gonzalez of "Hamilton"...
Seventeen Launches Community for LGBTQ Teens
Fashionista: Hearst's Seventeen has launched Here, a new community by and for LGBTQ-identified teenagers and allies. In its online announcement, Seventeen said that, one year after the election of Donald Trump, its readers need a sense of both community and visibility: 'a community we wish had existed when we were growing up'"... Late last month, Condé Nast launched Them, a stand-alone LGBTQ-focused platform.
The Economist Debuts 'World in 2018' Issue
MediaPost: The Economist has published "The World in 2018"--the 32nd annual special edition projecting important developments in the year ahead. ook ahead to the World Cup in Russia, midterm elections in the U.S, tourists taken around the moon, and a number of anniversaries, from 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy to 10 years of Apple’s App Store. The issue predicts that 2018 'will be a nerve-jangling year, as people across the world attempt to escape the tensions of politics and the frenzies of technology. But the world can also look forward to an economy growing at a respectable pace and the distraction of global events, including the Winter Olympics and the World Cup,' according to The Economist. Daniel Franklin, who edited the issue, says he thinks that readers will especially enjoy the special section on happiness 'at a time of heightened uncertainty.... It will be a critical year on many fronts, including North Korea's nuclear challenge, the Brexit negotiations, China's economic reforms and America's midterm elections, as well as the presidential polls in Brazil and Mexico.' He predicts 'intriguing battles for influence, ideas and leadership,” Franklin stated.The print edition of “The World in 2018” will have a global circulation of 1M plus, with a readership of 2M in the English print edition.Advertisers in the issue include Hyundai, Google, Thomson Reuters, Samsung, UBS, Rolex, CFA Institute and BMW.The Economist also holds a number of events in Asia, Europe and the States that revolve around “The World In” franchise, Beard added.Mark Beard, publisher of "The World In" and SVP of global digital media and content strategy at The Economist, said the “longer shelf-life” of the issue “provides an alternative environment within which brands are able to reach a globally curious audience.' He added the issue is "particularly popular with publishers that syndicate and license content from the publication to bolster their own editorial offerings. We generate revenue from second rights, with more than 30 publishers around the world choosing to print and publish foreign language editions of the publication,” Beard said.The publisher cited reader research showing the average time spent reading the publication is over five hours and 95% of readers intend to buy the next year's edition.There is a digital edition of “The World in 2018” as well. Subscribers to The Economist can access it as part of their membership. It will also live within The Economist app carousel. Nonsubscribers will have to pay to read the digital edition of 'The World In,' for the same price as the print edition, $13.95..."
Magazine Brands Credit Video for Increased Social Engagement
Folio/MIN: "The “pivot to video” cliche´ in media is starting to become self-parody. We’ve heard a number of legacy print publishers murmur that this gold rush may be dubious at best and yet another instance of chasing the social media dragon. But for the time being, it’s hard to argue with consumer attraction to sight, sound and motion. Many of the brands reporting engagement hikes across Facebook and Instagram in our October Social Media Boxscores data, for instance, credit video as the catalyst. [For example], Prevention credits its 124-percent rise in Facebook engagement to a marked increase in activity (+153 percent in posts), specifically video. In addition to the premiere of a “Walk Stronger” series, it initiated new listicle-style videos that drew from top organic search content. Additionally, some tweaking with post timings helped increase video views on Facebook by 12 percent in the month of October. And Real Simple enjoyed a 241% increase in Instagram engagement as a direct result of early holiday programing—the #RSholiday campaign..."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Ahold Revamps Small-Format Strategy; Closes 2 Bfresh Stores
SN: "Ahold on Monday confirmed reports that it plans to close two of its small-format stores as it rethinks its strategy for the fresh-focused, urban concepts.The company said it would close its Everything Fresh store in Philadelphia and its Bfresh store in Brighton, Mass., this Saturday, leaving two units of the format in the Boston market. Last year Ahold had shuttered another Bfresh store in Fairfield, Conn.“The decision to close the Everything Fresh store was a difficult one, but the location was always considered a ‘learning lab’ and we intend to use those learnings going forward,” said Christopher Brand, a spokesman for Ahold. The 3,700-sq.-ft. Everything Fresh store debuted in 2014 as a small-format experiment that gave rise to Bfresh. The news of its pending closure was first reported Monday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.Ahold said last year it had secured a second location for a Bfresh store in Philadelphia, and the Inquirer reported that Ahold had secured two additional sites for the concept in Philadelphia.Brand said the company is evaluating its options for the remaining Philadelphia sites.Ahold also said that its two Bfresh stores that remain open in Somerville and Austin, Mass., and its Eastside Market store in Providence, R.I., would be integrated into Ahold’s Stop & Shop brand, based in Quincy, Mass. The stores have been operating as part of Ahold’s Fresh Formats division. 'As part of our brand-centric strategy, Stop & Shop plans to develop new, small store format opportunities,' said Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop president. 'Fresh Formats was specifically created to develop and test format opportunities to understand what works and what doesn’t work in urban and other small store locations. We will apply key learnings from Bfresh and the Eastside Marketplace--such as innovative technology, fresh prepared meals, a health-focused assortment and exciting ways to engage customers digitally and online – to Stop & Shop stores more broadly and to future alternative and small format store opportunities.' The company plans to open a new small-format store in 2018 at a site in Newton, Mass., that had been slated for a new Bfresh location."
Whole Foods Shows Incremental Growth in Q4
SN: "In what could be one of its last filings reflecting operations as a stand-alone company, Whole Foods Market on Friday said its Q4 sales rose 4.4%, to $3.65B, vs. last Q4. The company reported the results for its full fiscal year, which ended Sept. 24, in its annual 10-K report with the SEC on Friday. The Q4 sales growth, which included about one month of ownership under Amazon, represented an improvement over Q3 sales growth of 0.6% and growth of about 1.3% through the first 40 weeks of the fiscal year. Several reports had indicated that WF appeared to receive a boost in traffic from new price cuts implemented when Amazon took over at the end of August. Amazon announced another round of cuts last week, including a discount on turkeys for Amazon Prime members. WF reported a loss of $55M for Q4 after taking a charge related to the merger of $153M. The loss in Q4 compared with net income of $88M in last Q4. Amazon’s efforts to lower prices at Whole Foods might also have had an impact on the chain’s gross margins, which declined as a percent of sales in Q4. Although WF said in its 10-K filing that its gross profit (sales less cost of goods sold and occupancy costs) as a percent of sales is generally lower in Q4 due to seasonally slower sales in the summer, this year’s decline does appear to show ongoing efforts to sharpen pricing for customers. Gross profit as a percent of sales totaled 33% in Q4, vs. 34.1% in last Q4 and 34% in Q3. Through the first three quarters of fiscal 2017, WF's gross profits accounted for 33.9% of sales.For the full year, gross profit as percent of sales fell 70 basis points to 33.7% in fiscal 2017, vs. 34.4% in fiscal 2016 and 35.2% in fiscal 2015. Excluding one-time charges, gross profit as a percent of sales decreased 66 basis points in fiscal 2017 and 77 basis points in 2016, the company said in the 10-K filing, “primarily to increases in cost of goods sold, reflecting our ongoing value strategy, and occupancy costs as a percentage of sales.' The company also appeared to slow its rate of same-store sales decline in the fourth quarter. For the full year, comp-store sales were down 1.5% vs. a year ago. Through the first three quarters, comps had been down 2.4%. In fiscal 2016, comps fell 2.5%... The fiscal 2017 comp-store decline of 1.5% included a decline in traffic of 2.4% for the full year, partially offset by a 0.9% increase in basket size. Total sales for fiscal 2017 rose 2%, to $16B. Net income was down 51.7%, to $245M, reflecting the merger costs..."
Slower Growth, Competitive Pricing on Tap for Natural Groceers
SN: "Expect Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to get more competitive in the coming year. Even as co-president Kemper Isely called Whole Foods Market’s price cuts 'a bunch of smoke,' he said price competition is getting more severe because Amazon’s ownership of WF has created a 'whole new [pricing] dynamic.' He spoke Nov. 16 during the Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Q4 earnings call. Price investments, leaders said, are a primary part of the company’s conservative earnings guidance. For fiscal 2018 started Oct. 1, Natural Grocers expects: To open eight to 10 stores (vs. 14 and 16 in fiscals 2017 and 2016); relocate three to four stores; daily average comp-store sales growth of 0.5% to 2.5%; net income as a percentage of sales of 0.6% to 0.9%; diluted EPS of 21-31 cents; capital expenditures in the range of $25M-$30M. The company has 11 signed leases for stores that are planned to open in fiscal 2018 and beyond in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon and Texas. A private label line launch is on tap for Q2. The company met its yearly guidance, with net sales up 9% to $769M. Grocery grew, but both supplements and body care fell slightly YOY..."
Whole Foods Ups Christina Minardi to EVP Ops
PG: "Whole Foods Market has promoted Christina Minardi to EVP of operations from Northeast regional president, effective immediately.Minardi, who previously oversaw 40 stores in three states, now leads four regions while co-leading the integration with Amazon, reimaging the customer experience and driving ecommerce initiatives, among other key store and regional programs. She joins Ken Meyer and David Lannon as the third EVP of operations..."
How Wal-Mart Views Retail's Future
USA Today: "Walmart has embraced the idea that it does not matter where a customer makes a purchase as long as it captures the sale. That may seem obvious, but most retailers still view digital sales as secondary while they fight to preserve their brick-and-mortar business. Walmart has instead accepted that its stores are simply part of the fulfillment chain--an asset to be sure, but also a tool. 'We think the future is a combination of digital and physical retail," said CEO Doug McMillon during the chain's October call with analysts and investors. 'Customers are shopping in-store, online, with apps and mobile, a little with their voice and in time, with AR and VR and whatever comes after that. And they'll do so seamlessly.' Basically, McMillon acknowledged that it's his company's job to facilitate shopping in whatever way customers want. That's a hard admission for someone who helped build a retail empire based on brick-and-mortar stores. It's also not a strategy or thought process the company came up with on its own. Instead, it used data and then actually followed what it learned from the numbers. 'U.S. customers that shop us in-store and online spend nearly twice as much, almost two times, as customers that only shop with us in stores,' he said. 'And when customers that only shop in our stores become walmart.com customers, they spend more in stores. Their loyalty to Walmart strengthens overall. And for customers that shop in-store only and begin to use Online Grocery, they spend more with us in total after becoming an Online Grocery customer. It's a sweet spot for us, but it's also a sweet spot for our customers..."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: