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January 23, 2017

Publishing News

Trump Makes False Boasts About His Number of Time Covers
MediaPost: In addition to his false claims about record-breaking attendance at his inauguration, Trump, in his CIA speech over the weekend, claimed: “I have been on their cover like 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine,” he said. “If Tom Brady is on the cover it’s one time because he won the Super Bowl or something. I’ve been on the cover 15 times this year. I don’t think that’s a record that can ever be broken.” According to a story in Time magazine, President Richard Nixon was on its cover 55 times." Further, a current slideshow of all Trump covers on shows 11 in total, including the current Jan. 30 cover showing him during the inauguration. Demonstrably false statements by Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer were on Sunday labeled "alternative facts" by Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. In reply, Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press" said: "Alternative facts aren't facts, they are falsehoods."
MediaPost Time covers, inauguration attendance slideshow, Trump's 11 Time covers
CNN 'alternative facts' coverage

Tronc Buys Spanfeller, The Daily Meal
Politico reports that troubled newspaper group Tronc has closed a deal to buy the Spanfeller Media Group, and its food and outdoors digital properties... [The deal] closed at the end of December, at a price undisclosed by Tronc. This deal may offer double, if small, value. Tronc gains, with its 7M monthly unique visitors and some relatively small revenue, as well as the much smaller “The number one intention here is to build up DailyMeal,” said [founder Jim] Spanfeller, well known in the digital media business as an architect of pioneering and once-high-flying In addition, expect Daily Meal content to begin appearing on Tronc’s newspaper websites from Orlando and Chicago to San Diego, as soon as those logistics are worked out. The 35-person SMG staff has moved offices within New York City, now residing with Tronc’s national sales offices in Midtown. Spanfeller has now become general manager The Daily Meal Ventures, and an SVP of the company.

How Men’s Health Monetizes Video Across Channels
In MIN, Cory Rotkel, national digital ad director for, offers capsule summaries of the site's success in monetizing several forms of video content: pre-roll and outstream; editorial video; branded/native video; social video and live video.

Magazines Canada and Canada's B2B Association Complete Merger
Magazines Canada and The Canadian Business Media Association (CBMA) officially completed their merger in mid January. From the announcement: In late November, CBMA, Canada’s national association for B2B media, "voted unanimously to dissolve the association and merge with Magazines Canada, the national trade association for all magazine media. This is a history-making move for the two associations, which will join their impressive legacies, stretching over 40 years for Magazines Canada and 95 years for CBMA. Under this agreement, all CBMA members will be incorporated into Magazines Canada’s membership. With the addition of former CBMA titles, Magazines Canada’s membership grows to nearly 400 magazines, including 125 business media titles. Magazines Canada has also created a new business media advisory committee to advise its board of directors and ensure that the association effectively serves its B2B magazine members. “Magazines Canada has been a leading supporter of the B2B industry for many years now, and this merger is a great step for our sector. It strengthens our voice on the national stage and improves our ability to coordinate on projects that will mean a brighter future for business media,” said Scott Jamieson, Vice Chair of Magazines Canada’s board of directors and Director of Content and Engagement for Annex Business Media, a CBMA member. “This move is exactly what we need to do to align our efforts to build a foundation for a stronger trade press in the future,” said John Kerr, CBMA President and CEO of Kerrwil. “In a digital age, having both the consumer and trade press under one roof just makes a ton of sense and I am personally looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to support the next efforts.” As Magazines Canada members, former CBMA titles will be eligible for exclusive member services and discounts on events..."

Sirota Leaving IBT to Be CEO of Liberal Answer to Breitbart
BuzzFeed: "True Blue Media, pitching itself as the left’s answer to Breitbart, has picked an investigative reporter critical of Republicans and Wall Street Democrats alike as its new CEO. David Sirota is leaving his role as senior investigations editor at the International Business Times [parent IBT Media also owns Newsweek] to lead True Blue, which currently operates as ShareBlue and was part of a network of liberal outlets supporting Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign. The move suggests that a shattered and divided Democratic Party establishment is looking to embrace the combative, progressive wing that backed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary. Sirota has been a loud critic of President-elect Donald Trump — but he does not come from Clinton’s wing of the Democratic Party, and indeed wrote a slew of stories up through the last month of the general election critical of Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. ShareBlue is the brainchild of David Brock, the former conservative journalist turned liberal political warrior who is building a liberal fundraising and politics machine explicitly modeled on the network established by the conservative Koch brothers. After the election, Brock also told donors that he was seeking money to finance a “Breitbart of the left,” a phrase he modified in a speech Tuesday to the left’s “answer to Breitbart.”

Profile: EW's Digital Features Editor
MIN: Last year, Entertainment Weekly's newsstand sales increased, and the brand "expanded with new initiatives [including] PopFest--a weekend-long celebration of everything entertainment--and PEN, the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, a new streaming platform with original and exclusive programming. The brand has also built out its features coverage in recent months, expanding EW’s team with a new hire and upping production by more than 70%. [Digital features editor Madeline] Boardman has seen the returns not just in page views, 'but in the breadth of content we’ve been able to cover,' she says. ' As we’ve expanded our scope, we’ve brought in new readers, tapping into nostalgia of cult favorites through stories like the That Thing You Do! oral history we published last fall and bringing in Millennial readers with regular celebrations of everything ‘90s and ‘00s.” Currently, Boardman has her hands pretty full as the brand approaches awards season: 'I’m in the midst of Oscars, Grammys, and SAGs prep.' For her team, that means posting extensive walk-up content in the days leading up to the show, all huddling together in a conference room over Shake Shack to cover the show, and spending the next day debriefing to get a full picture of the event."

Hearst Acquires Michigan Newspaper Group
Hearst announced that it has acquired the business operations of Michigan newspaper and digital marketing company The Pioneer Group from family owners Jack and John Batdorff. Per Hearst's release, The Pioneer Group publishes Michigan daily newspapers The Pioneer and Manistee News Advocate, three weekly papers and four local shopper publications, and operates a digital marketing services business. Hearst Newspapers already owns Michigan's Huron Daily Tribune and the Midland Daily News.

NY Times's Video Twitter Account Hacked
CNN Media: "The New York Times is investigating an apparent hack of one of its Twitter accounts that happened Sunday morning. The newspaper's video account, @nytvideo, tweeted around 9:40 a.m. ET a hoax about a missile attack from Russia against the United States. The message attributed news about the "missile attack" to a "leaked statement" from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Times' video account has more than 250,000 followers on the platform. That tweet was quickly deleted. But subsequent tweets soon popped up claiming to be from OurMine, a group that has hacked high-profile social media accounts, including that of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to advertise security services..."

Snapchat Takes Hard Line on Misleading and Explicit Images
NY Times: This morning, "Snapchat updated its guidelines for publishers in a way that essentially cleans up what is shown on its news service. The new rules more explicitly restrict publishers from posting questionable pictures on Discover that do not have news or editorial value. Snapchat also clarified guidelines that prevent publishers from including reports or links to outside websites that could be considered fake news, saying that all content must be fact-checked and accurate..."


Retail News

Kroger to Hire 10,000 Full-Time Employees
PG: "The Kroger Co.’s family of stores is planning to fill an estimated 10,000 permanent positions in its supermarket divisions in the coming year. The Cincinnati-based grocer’s total active workforce grew by more than 12,000 associates in 2016. Over the past eight years, Kroger has created more than 86,000 jobs, not including those created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, or increases due to mergers. Kroger and its subsidiaries today employ more than 443,000 associates...Kroger also hired more than 9,000 veterans in 2016, and has hired more than 44,000 veterans since 2009 as part of its commitment to active duty troops and the nation's 23 million veterans through its "Honoring Our Heroes" program. In addition, Kroger helped the "100,000 Jobs Mission" surpass its original goal in January 2014, seven years early...Kroger operates 2,796 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia."

Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics in Digital Shelves
WSJ: Kroger Co. is "testing sensors and analytics technology to let shelves and products interact with shoppers walking the grocery aisles. The system, which detects individual shoppers through their mobile devices, can offer tailored pricing on specific items and, through 4-inch color display screens, highlight products on the customer’s mobile shopping list. Tests began late last year and are expected to expand in the coming months... digital shelves can draw a shopper’s attention to relevant products... Kroger developers built the network of sensors and analytics software behind the experiment, which is so far deployed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati HQ. More are expected to run it this year..."
Wall St. Journal (paid sub req.)

FTC Said Holding Up Walgreens' Rite Aid Acquisition
Chicago Tribune: "Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s plan to win U.S. antitrust clearance for its acquisition of Rite Aid Corp. hasn't satisfied officials at the Federal Trade Commission, according to people familiar with the matter. With just a week left before the companies' deadline to complete the deal, FTC lawyers aren't sold on Walgreen's proposal to sell 865 drugstores to Fred's Inc. to get approval to take over Rite Aid, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential..."

Wal-Mart Begins Corporate Layoffs
Arkansas Online reports that Wal-Mart " has started laying off employees at the corporate level, following up on previously revealed plans to eliminate positions to help control costs and improve efficiency. Multiple sources confirmed a round of cuts took place Friday at the company's home office in Bentonville. Wal-Mart did not confirm the exact number of layoffs or affected departments, but the company expects to eliminate about 1,000 corporate positions nationwide before the end of the retailer's fiscal year on Jan. 31. Not all of the eliminated positions will come from the home office in Bentonville..."

Andronico’s/Safeway Transition Commences
PG: "Andronico’s Community Markets ACM), the San Francisco Bay area retailer recently purchased by Safeway, has begun its final storewide sell-down, with sale prices of up to 30 percent across the entire store. Aptly called “AndroniClose 2017,” the sale will run through Jan. 29. The transition plan calls for selling the entire inventory so that the stores can be closed and refreshed. In short order, stores will reopen as Safeway Community Markets, with the exception of the San Francisco store, which will remain an Andronico’s for the foreseeable future, and will continue to boast ACM's typical products...“The only big change will be even better value and prices,” [said Andronico’s CEO Suzy] Monford..."

Amazon Targets Lower-Income Consumers
MNB cites a Fox Business News report that Amazon's fastest-growing demographic appears to be lower-income households. According to the story, "a new survey from Baird Capital found that Amazon is quickly growing Prime membership among lower-income (less than $50,000 per year) households, which is the key to its ongoing growth in the U.S."Amazon's penetration among higher-income households already is considerable--about 50% of U.S. households already are Amazon Prime members, with 75% of households with income of more than $112,000 and 60% of households with income of more than $68,000 being Prime members. But by marketing extended Prime benefits, and even offering the ability to pay for membership by the month as opposed to an annual $99 payment, Amazon is making a play for all-important lower-income consumers.Th article continues: This "could have a meaningful impact on Wal-Mart's foot traffic...[W-M] historically appeals to lower-income households, and Amazon's incredible growth has been one of its biggest competitive threats over the years. Attracting more Prime subscribers from Wal-Mart's core shopping demographic could have a meaningful impact on how much lower-income households spend at Wal-Mart. Countless surveys show that Prime members spend significantly more than non-Prime members on Amazon."


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