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January 27, 2020

Publishing News

Meredith Sells FanSided to MinuteMedia
NY Post: "Meredith Corp. on Friday announced the sale of sports blogging site FanSided to Minute Media — two years after it inherited the site with its January 2018 acquisition of Time Inc.Terms were not disclosed, but sources in the industry said the sale was in the $15M range.The new owner is the same company that agreed in November to buy Derek Jeter’s website The Players’ Tribune.Minute Media, in addition to Players’ Tribune, also bought the Big Lead from Gannett to add to its home-grown sports site 12Up. “FanSided, combined with Players’ Tribune athlete-perspective, provides our readers, partners and advertisers with what we believe to be the most well-rounded and holistic sports digital offering,” said Asaf Peled, founder and CEO of Minute Media. FanSided was started as a hobby by the brothers Zach and Adam Best in 2007, but faced complaints of low wages as it grew its network of contributors — a problem that only accelerated when Time purchased the site in May 2015 to bolster web traffic at Sports Illustrated.FanSided’s network of 1,500 bloggers were cranking out material covering 300 college and pro teams. But pay was said to be as low as $15 a month for the bloggers, some of whom were said to be high school kids doing it more for the fun than the money.The sites could soon be playing catch-up, as Sports Illustrated sets about building its own network of contributors. Last month, according to Comscore, attracted 21.7M unique visitors across all platforms compared to FanSided’s 6.2M. Players’ Tribune attracted only 258,000 in September. ESPN dominates the market with 69.8 million unique visitors in December, while Bleacher Report pulled 29.3 million unique visitors. It is ahead of The Athletic, which pulled in only 1.9 million unique visitors in December, according to Comscore."

Second Edition of Whoa, Wait. to Hit Walmart Stores
Arkansas Online: The second (fall/winter) issue of Whoa, Wait. -- the magazine concept created by friends Bethany Halford and Amanda Jerkins after a huge response to their Instagram account highlighting fashion and other finds at Walmart -- will hit Walmart store racks on Feb. 2. Article profiles the origins of the magazine and Bauer's role. Excerpts: "Whoa, wait. is produced independently of Walmart Inc., though the content ties in Walmart merchandise and the ads are for products sold at Walmart. It also incorporates QR-code technology on certain items, in articles and ads, that allows readers to scan and buy the products via their smartphones. The friends' growing social media presence caught the attention of global publishing company Bauer Media, known for two best-selling magazines in the U.S. -- Women's World and First for Women... Although this was a new venture for them, and came at a time when many print publications are struggling financially, they trusted in Bauer's reputation and experience... Eric Szegda, Bauer Media USA's executive vice president of consumer revenue, said "we are ecstatic that they share our vision. "Bauer saw an opportunity to develop and provide a unique product for a passionate audience in partnership with a spectacularly creative duo who have a track record of successfully engaging that same audience," Szegda said. "As publishers of the best-selling magazine at Walmart already, once the pieces came together, Bethany & Amanda + Bauer + Walmart was really a no-brainer opportunity for all of us""...

New Yorker Launches Cross-Platform 'Democracy' Series
MediaPost: "The New Yorker is combining efforts across its print and online platforms to launch a new series called “The Future of Democracy.”The series, active through the 2020 presidential election in November, will explore the past and future of democracy in the U.S. Content appearing in the series will include articles, videos and audio broadcasts.“Our democracy is in crisis. Many institutions of our government are dysfunctional and getting worse,” New Yorker editors write in an introduction to the series. “Although President Donald Trump, with his scant regard for the values of justice and the rule of law, is undeniably a leading actor in this crisis, it precedes him and seems certain to persist after his departure, whenever that may be.”First up in the series in the print magazine, staff writer Jill Lepore examines the uncertainty of the future of democracy in the 1930s, due to the rise of anti-democratic, pro-authoritarian trends. Fellow staff writer Charles Bethea visits a town in North Carolina that has been without a local newspaper for the past three years for the New Yorker’s website"...

PRH Names New Knopf Heads
NY Post: "Penguin Random House on Thursday named two executives it recruited from outside the company to take over for Sonny Mehta, the longtime head of Alfred A. Knopf, who died last month.Reagan Arthur, an SVP and publisher at Little, Brown & Co., will join as executive VP and publisher of Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken on Feb. 11... “I’m incredibly happy to report that as his last gift to us, Sonny identified Reagan Arthur as his first choice for this role and they were able to meet and talk about the opportunity in the fall,” said PRH CEO Madeline McIntosh in a memo to staffers. Arthur will report to Maya Mavjee, who will become president and publisher of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group... Also in the lineup: Jordan Pavlin is being promoted to senior VP, editorial director at Knopf"...


Retail News

Walmart Tests Higher Minimum Wage in 500 Stores
IB Times: "Walmart will increase its starting wage from $11 to $12 in roughly 500 stores in order to test out a new workplace model and attract new employees. The company has approximately 4,700 stores across the U.S. Walmart wants its workers to develop broader retail skills as part of a “team approach.” Employees will be trained to be more independent from their managers and will be given more responsibilities, as the company hopes to improve its customer service.As a part of the new workplace model, the company will end roles such as assistant manager and customer service manager. Instead, the retailer will unveil new positions such as academy trainer and team lead. “Our associates are enjoying learning new skills and working on small teams within their store,” Drew Holler, SVP of U.S. People and Associate Experience at Walmart, said... Walmart has been frequently criticized for low wages, but political pressure has forced the company to change its tune. During an annual Walmart shareholders meeting in June, Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders attended a labor rally, where he said Walmart workers are tired of being paid “starvation wages.”In response to Sen. Sanders’ comments, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has said that the federal minimum wage is “too low"...

Hy-Vee to Open More Dollar Fresh Stores in Iowa
SN: "Hy-Vee plans to buy six former Shopko locations in Iowa and convert them to its Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh format.West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee said Monday that the onetime Shopko stores — in Hampton, Cresco, Oelwein, Waukon, Dyersville and Vinton — are slated to reopen under the Dollar Fresh banner by late summer. Financial terms of the purchase agreements weren’t disclosed. Plans call for renovations to start in the coming weeks. Designed for smaller communities, the Dollar Fresh stores serve up an assortment of fresh and new products at low prices, according to Hy-Vee. That includes a full selection of groceries, a bakery area offering fresh-baked items, a dollar section, a Wall of Value, ready-to-eat meal options and other services.The first Dollar Fresh opened in Osceola, Iowa, in the fall of 2018. Besides that location, Hy-Vee operates five other Dollar Fresh stores, including in Centerville, Creston, Emmetsburg and Toledo, Iowa, and in West Point, Neb.Overall, Hy-Vee has more than 265 stores in eight Midwestern states. The retailer also operates an array of small-store concepts ranging from under 10,000 square feet to over 30,000 square feet). Along with Dollar Fresh, they include four Fast & Fresh convenience-focused food stores, one HealthMarket healthy lifestyles store and the first urban-format Hy-Vee store, dubbed Fourth + Court (at Fourth Street and Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines).In December 2018, Hy-Vee acquired prescription files from 22 Shopko pharmacies. Now defunct, Green Bay, Wis.-based discount chain Shopko closed all of its more than 350 stores in 24 states in mid-2019."

Meijer Taps Into the Gig Economy
PG: "Meijer Inc. is deploying the Hyer platform/app across its 246-store footprint and its Serv-U-Success distribution operation to link gig workers with identified tasks on demand.Using the app, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer aims to support its workforce needs in real time, ensuring that it can meet consumer demand. The Hyer platform was designed to provide organizations and individuals with a unified, simple way to locate, engage and manage independent work. “Hyer is the first integrated, scalable ecosystem for labor on demand in the gig economy,” noted Dave Dempsey, CEO of Rye, N.Y.-based Hyer. “While there are several labor on-demand apps in today’s marketplace, Hyer’s robust app enables Meijer to manage multiple tasks in a single mobile application.”According to a recent report from Troy, Mich.-based staffing services company Kelly Services, nearly one-third of the worldwide workforce is employed by the gig economy... Since implementing the Hyer platform, Meijer said that it has been better able to manage the volatility of demand by having the right number of resources to match its needs"...

Grocery Delivery Takes Over Country's Warehouses
PG: "The food and beverage industry significantly expanded its share of the largest 100 U.S. industrial and logistics leases last year while the share claimed by ecommerce and logistics companies receded, according to a new report from Los Angeles-based commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE.Food and beverage companies claimed 13 of the top 100 industrial leases, for a cumulative 13 million square feet, up from nine leases covering 8.8 million square feet in 2018.One of the main drivers of this increased need for warehouse space in the industry is grocery delivery. “This report, which our team completes each year, often provides us a rough outline of important trends within the industrial and distribution sector -- and the growth of grocery delivery is a clear factor this year,” said John Morris, executive managing director leading CBRE’s Americas industrial and logistics business. “Ecommerce and logistics companies are the needle movers, but food and beverage quickly has established itself as a major player in industrial real estate leasing. This projects continued growth for both dry- and cold-storage warehousing this year.”Ecommerce companies and logistics companies – which include third-party logistics providers that handle distribution for other companies – still accounted for 52% of the square footage in the largest 100 industrial leases last year, although this is down from 61% in 2018"...


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