B&N Opens Prototype Store in Maryland
PW: "On Wednesday, Barnes & Noble opened one of its prototype bookstores in Columbia, Md. The store, which is latest in a series of prototype locations, is 17,000 sq.-ft., down from a typical footprint of 26,000 sq.-ft. It will stock 35,000 titles and features contemporary design touches, including warm-hued oak book shelves, and USB and electricity ports at tables in the café area. At the center of the store are two large “book theaters” which offer customers a 360-degree, in-the-round browsing experience. Booksellers at the store will be equipped with tablet computers to facilitate immediate customer service. The store will also offer self-service kiosks that will allow customers to search for books. Non-book items for sale include vinyl records and turntables, games and gift items. 'We’ve learned a great deal from each new store we’ve opened over the past few years,' said Carl Hauch, VP of stores for B&N. He went on, noting that the Columbia store "represents a culmination of what we’ve learned so far.' In a meeting with PW, representatives from B&N said the company plans to open five prototype stores in the fiscal year that ends next April, and will settle on a final concept in 12-18 months."
Hearst Combines Print, Digital Staffs on Popular Mechanics
NY Post: "Hearst, which has long kept its digital and print staffs separate, is now moving to combine the staffs of Popular Mechanics under the print editor-in-chief, Ryan D’Agostino. He is the first print editor in Hearst Tower to have control of a brand’s website. Andrew Moseman, who is heading the Web operations of Popular Mechanics, will now report to D’Agostino. 'While Ryan will be overseeing Popular Mechanics with Andrew reporting into him, we really view this as the brand working together as one big content team,' said Kate Lewis, the newly anointed chief content officer, who also came from the digital side. Lack of web control by print editors was long a sore point with the print side. It was said to be a source of friction between Joanna Coles, Hearst’s now-ex-chief content officer who headed the print editors, and Troy Young, the former head of the digital operations who in July succeeded David Carey as president of magazines. Coles resigned days after Young’s elevation. The PM move is a one-off, and it will not solve overnight the uneasiness of many print side people=--but it could be a small step in the right direction. 'If the editors who started Popular Mechanics in 1902 had all of these tools, platforms and digital resources in addition to paper, they would have been pumped. They were trying to keep up with a changing world and explain how it worked--which is what we’re trying to do, too,' D’Agostino said."
Warriors Co-Owner Part of Group in Talks to Buy SI, Fortune, Money
NY Post: "Hollywood producer Peter Guber is part of the group that includes billionaire Dan Gilbert, best-selling author Tony Robbins and Josh Pollack, all now in final negotiations to buy Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money from Meredith.DuJour Media’s Jason Binn and Raine Capital are also said to be advising the group.Pollack, who heads Velocity Global Group in L.A., is heading up this disparate group. He did not return calls seeking comment... Meredith is said to be hoping to snag at least $310M for the remaining three, giving it a half a billion dollar pay day for the four titles that it picked up as part of its $2.8B acquisition of Time Inc. in January. The titles have been on the market since March.The new owners obviously know SI’s drawing power. On Monday night, Bucky Dent and Red Sox pitcher Mike Torrez showed up for an SI TV preview of “14 Back,” a documentary about the 1978 Yankees’ amazing comeback, highlighted by Dent’s oh-so-memorable home run.Guber, whose Hollywood credits including producer of such hits such as “Batman” and “The Witches of Eastwick,” is co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Soccer team Los Angeles FC. On the entertainment front, Guber is chairman and a co-owner of Dick Clark Productions, which produces TV award shows, including the “Billboard Music Awards,” the “Golden Globes” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” and is also chairman of Mandalay Sports Media, which partnered to buy the eSports company, Team Liquid, with partners that included Ted Leonsis and Magic Johnson. Gilbert, who made his money as chairman of Quicken Loans, is owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Quicken Loans Arena where the team plays."
New York Mag Expanding Daily Intelligencer as a Main Vertical
WWD: "New York Magazine is molding another of its coverage areas into a stand-alone brand.Next month, the privately held media company is launching Intelligencer, an expanded version of its current Daily Intelligencer section that mainly covers politics and business news and sends a related daily newsletter. A spokeswoman said the new Intelligencer will be along the same lines of Vulture and The Cut, now sites under the New York umbrella, covering entertainment and fashion, respectively, that started off as simple verticals or blogs on the homepage and are now tentpoles of coverage.While there are “for now” no plans to give Intelligencer its own URL, it will get its own tab, start to incorporate tech vertical Select All, along with coverage of politics, business, media and innovation, and get a new somewhat “experimental” homepage come October, according to New York’s digital director Ben Williams"...
EIC Edward Felsenthal on Time's Future
Excerpts from a CJR interview with Time magazine editor-in-chief Felsenthal: "The nice thing about Time is that it’s strongly profitable. In a corporate environment [as in Meredith or Time, Inc.], we weren’t able to reinvest those profits. This was understandable, it’s just the reality of how public companies work that profits go towards paying dividends or paying off corporate debt. So our plan, which we presented to all of the bidders, is to reinvest profits in our key growth areas, including digital and video, including long-form video production.We’ve also got a lot of hiring to do in the coming months, as Time becomes again a standalone company. Time will be, as it was in its beginning, an entrepreneurial stand-alone, owned by the Benioffs… We’re going to be hiring for advertising, sales, digital operations, and marketing. As a stand-alone company, we will not be drawing on central services from a parent company. That’s our focus in the next 90 days... We have a great magazine, and a lot of what we’re doing is building on the foundation. Our cover is phenomenal real-estate in journalism, and we’re building exciting new projects on that foundation.For example, we have a phenomenally successful new franchise called “Firsts” that we launched last fall. [Editor’s note: “Firsts” is a Time special project highlighting, in the magazine’s words, “Women who are changing the world.” Covers and videos have been dedicated to dozens of women from around the globe, in diverse career fields.] We had great sponsorship opportunities and a great audience response to the print launch but also in multimedia.Our A Year in Space documentary, which won an Emmy last fall, began with Scott Kelly on the cover of the magazine. That grew into an 11-part digital series on Time.com and two one-hour specials for PBS. We are not just a weekly magazine anymore, we are one of the biggest media platforms in our business. Creating premium, premier journalism. That’s what we’re going to be doing in 2040"...
'Fear' Is Best-Selling Book in S&S History
PW: "In a statement, Simon & Schuster said Bob Woodward's Fear: Trump In the White House sold more than 1.1M copies through its first week on sale in all formats, including 'orders from consumers that are as yet unfulfilled due to extraordinary demand.' The publisher cited the the sales as marking the largest figure for any title in company history. It also revised its on-sale date figures to 900,000.As of this morning, NPD BookScan indicated that the book has sold more than 339,000 copies at outlets the report to the service, which tracks roughly 80% of U.S. book sales. The publisher has ordered a tenth printing. 'There is only one word to describe the sales of Fear—and that word is huge,' said Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of S&S. 'What’s especially gratifying is the appreciation readers and reviewers have for the integrity and importance of Bob Woodward’s reporting.'"
Hearst Reimagines Runner's World, Bicycling for Today's Audiences
FIPP: "How Hearst re-imagines Runner's World and Bicycling for modern audienceJessica Patterson @jesspatterson 17th Sep 2018Features Since its acquisition of Rodale's portfolio of magazine titles in January, Hearst has been experimenting at Pennsylvania-based Runner's World and Bicycling, with new business models, new talent, new paper stock and bigger sizes, as well as proposed redesigns for both titles later this autumn. Based in the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania, Bicycling and Runner's World have become an incubator for experimentation for Hearst. Change has occurred rapidly in less than a year: the Bicycling and Runner's World migrated to Hearst CMS, the teams were fully staffed, among other changes. “Lightning fast is a bit of an understatement,” according to Michael Mraz, general manager of the Enthusiast Group.After the completion of the sale, executives including Troy Young, David Carey, Brian Madden, SVP of development, Mraz, and Bill Strickland, editorial director of Hearst Magazines' Enthusiast Group, sat down with the teams to discuss what was happening next. “One of the first meetings we had, Bill and I, with the teams, David Carey gave some incisive remarks, and noted the similarity that he felt when he took over New Yorker magazine as publisher, that, it was one of those rare moments in your career to rethink the business model,” Mraz recalled. Before Hearst's acquisition of the brands, Bicycling and Runner's World were primarily led by print and ad sales. Beginning in March, “We completely re-thought the business model,” Mraz explained. “It's what we call the thirds model. Instead of being 90 per cent led by direct ad sales, we're striving for a third of the revenue coming from both print and digital ad sales, a third coming from affiliate revenue and partner revenue, and a third coming from membership and consumer revenue.”Falling ad revenues and migration of digital ad dollars to Google and Facebook have led publishers to find new, diverse revenue streams. As outlined in the Innovation In Magazine Media World Report 2018, magazine media publishers are finding great success with affiliate revenue, ecommerce, events, memberships, product licensing, programmatic, video and voice. "The last 12 months have demonstrated that readers will pay for unique, high-quality content presented on the platforms and in the media that readers prefer," wrote report author John Wilpers.Affiliate links are a natural step for Runner's World and Bicycling brands that offer 15 million enthusiasts thousands of product reviews each month. “Commerce is endemic to who we are as runners and cyclists,” Strickland said. “In some ways, it's all about the stuff. One of the most valuable things we do is help people figure out what they should buy.” So, as part of the re-imagining about what Runner's World and Bicycling could be, Strickland and Mraz created a test team: a group that exists within the Enthusiast Group who are experts on how to test products, and giving the best-in-world advice on shoes and bikes and gear. “That, as a resource and a valuable piece of our business builds on incredible access that we have, and we're expanding that all of the time,” Strickland said. Since the commerce part of Runner's World and Bicycling's strategy was introduced earlier this year, Mraz notes that the increased focus on gear reviews have performed really well. “Affiliate revenue – is the second third of our thirds model – is up over 300 per cent year over year across both sites. Traffic to gear and reviews – the site sections on Runner's World and Bicycling – is up over 250 per cent year over year, and repeat visitors is up 2x what is was last year. It's one thing to have a hunch, it's one thing to make a change and find the right people to do it in the best possible way, and for it to work, that's awesome.”In addition, Runner's World and Bicycling have also invested in memberships. Memberships offer additional benefits for audiences - like experiences or exclusive access to content - but they're also profitable for magazine media. The benefit of being an enthusiast title like Runner's World or Bicycling is that they have a close relationship with the community they serve and, as staff are also enthusiasts, an intimate knowledge of the community"...
Qatar Airways to Show GQ, Vogue Videos; How Condé Nast Creates Premium Video Content
Gulf Times: "Qatar Airways passengers can now enjoy exclusive access to videos from global fashion brands GQ and Vogue, it was announced.
The airline has become the first in the world to feature the premium celebrity, style and lifestyle content of these two iconic brands through its on-board entertainment platform, Oryx One. The TV section of the multiple award-winning airline’s Oryx One in-flight entertainment system is the first airline to feature episodes from a selection of short-form content from GQ and Vogue. It is also available on the digital platforms of the two popular Conde Nast brands. Vogue videos feature the glamour of the red carpet at the annual ‘Met Gala’, celebrity style and make-up tips in ‘Beauty Icons’, star-studded creative films in ‘Vogue Original Shorts’ and, filmed in a single shot, some of the world’s favourite personalities being challenged to a rapid-fire interview in ‘73 Questions.' The GQ channel offers style tips with ‘How to Do it Better’, exclusive interviews with Hollywood’s A-list in ‘GQ Men of the Year’, and the opportunity to watch celebrities go undercover on social media to answer real-life questions about themselves in the comedy series ‘Actually Me'"... ThinkWithGoogle: Condé Nast began investing heavily in digital video in 2013--and thanks to insight-rich content, it’s reaping huge rewards. Across 20 YouTube channels, the media company currently has more than 17M subscribers, and it’s gaining new ones at a rate of over 1M per month. Excerpts from a Q&A with Ian Edgar, Condé's senior director, creative strategy and video programming: "We focus on packing our video content with what we call insights. Insights are moments people find notably interesting, beautiful, shocking, or inspiring, and, therefore, things people naturally want to share. Examples could be when a celebrity tells you their favorite albums or an expert goes into incredible depth about a particular cheese. When we’re deciding whether or not something makes the cut, we use a simple test: If someone told you about it at a dinner party, would you share it with a friend? If not, it’s probably not worthy of being called an insight... Every time someone watches a video, they’re making a decision on how to spend their time. If it’s not immediately clear what your video is about — if it’s about more than one thing or nothing in particular — you’re making it harder for people to make that decision. Since potential viewers spend very little time making that call — I often think of it in fractions of a second — it’s critical that you make it an easy one. And you do that by focusing on clarity. The video’s concept should be clear and straightforward. Then its packaging, which includes the title and the thumbnail, should make it obvious to a viewer what the video is about, what they will learn, and why it’s worth their valuable time. For every one video you see on one of our YouTube channels, there were probably 100 ideas that we didn’t even consider and 20 that we explored but then didn’t produce"...
High Times IPO Backed By 6,000 Investors
MediaPost: "After making initial moves to launch its IPO in June, High Times has announced that investors are backing the cannabis-focused content company. High Times has cleared escrow for $5M from the SEC Regulation A+ filing. 'We have only recently started the process of offering our shares to the public, but to date, we have received support and purchases from over 6,000 investors in our community,' stated Adam Levin, High Times CEO. The company says it received backing from a large number of retail investors the brand was looking to engage in June. High Times took its first major steps to go public earlier this summer with an “equity crowdfunding campaign” that allows investors to buy shares of the company at a discounted rate before it lists on the Nasdaq. High Times shares are set at a value of $11, a 10% discount from the anticipated opening price on the Nasdaq. The Reg. A+ filing has a $50 million cap. 'Given the fan base we created, it is important we allow our loyal brand followers the opportunity to become equity owners of the company,' Levin said at the time. The campaign gives investors an early opportunity to participate in what will be one of the first cannabis-related stocks on the Nasdaq, and allows dedicated readers to own common stock in High Times' business. (Shares are available for purchase at hightimes.com/invest.) 'It was important to me that this offering be open to anyone who wants to join this historic moment, not just those with big brokerage accounts,' Levin added. The 40-year-old company distinguishes itself as a business focused on media and events tied to legal cannabis culture--it does not distribute cannabis or cannabis-infused products. High Times, which has published a monthly print magazine since 1974, plans to use the capital from the IPO to expand its publishing, events and licensing businesses, as well as invest in video and audio content and add product lines and brands. It makes most of its revenue from its events, such as its popular Cannabis Cup, one of the world’s biggest marijuana-focused trade shows. There will now be an “Investor’s Village” at the Cup, Levin said. The company also closed two acquisitions this year: It bought Green Rush Dailyin April, and acquired Culture magazine from Southland Publishing, Inc. High Times is extending its Reg. A+ deadline for investing in the IPO until Oct. 31."
StartUp Health Launches Print Magazine
MediaPost: "StartUp Health is launching a new print magazine covering the people and technology dedicated to the future of health and its startup community. A health-tech accelerator organization, StartUp Health introduced its first issue of the eponymous magazine at the beginning of the year and distributed it at the StartUp Health Festival in San Francisco. 'There is great power in words--and to see them shared in print is a meaningful way to communicate something that in digital form goes by quickly,' said StartUp Health executive chairman Jerry Levin... StartUp Health features profiles, features and stories on new health solutions, with contributor articles from big names like former Vice President Joe Biden, Wellville executive founder Esther Dyson and the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Aneesh Chopra. “Our team has created a magazine that explores health innovation in a way that is relatable to patients, caregivers, consumers and industry execs alike,” stated Logan Plaster, StartUp Health's editor-in-chief... StartUp Health magazine is available online and in print, through a combination of direct and online subscriptions, partnerships with health retail outlets, like pharmacy chains, health clinics and grocery stores, and at health conferences and events. (These partnerships will be announced at later date, per the company).The next issue will be released ahead of the 2019 StartUp Health Festival in January, then published quarterly. StartUp Health is a part of the StartUp Health Network, which also includes the Health Transformer blog and StartUp Health TV."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Deloitte: Holiday Sales Could Top $1.1 Trillion
CNBC: "Retail sales are expected to grow between 5 and 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to Deloitte's annual retail sales forecast for the holiday season. Sales between November of last year and January 2018 climbed 5 percent, totaling $1.05 trillion, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This year, Deloitte says holiday retail sales could top $1.10 trillion."
New Tariffs Will Up Consumers Prices After Holidays
Chicago Tribune: "The Trump administration is preparing to impose tariffs on another $200B worth of goods imported from China, and for consumers... David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation, said retailers are making adjustments to avoid a significant impact on prices ahead of the holidays. 'But it will be felt in the start of 2019,” French said. The new tariffs President Donald Trump announced this week are on top of tariffs imposed on $50B worth of products earlier this year. The administration says the tariffs are meant to put pressure on China to change its trade practices. The latest round, expected to go into effect Monday, will start at 10% before climbing to 25% on Jan. 1. Many retailers have already imported merchandise they expect to sell during the holiday season or signed contracts locking in pre-tariff prices, French said. But those steps only postpone the point when extra costs kick in. It can take months or years for retailers to move supply chains to avoid tariffs, he said"...
Amazon Now 3rd-Largest Digital Ad Platform in U.S.
Fast Company: "That’s according to the latest market research report from eMarketer. The firm says that Amazon’s ad sales will double this year, vaulting the company to the third-ranked spot among all ad platforms in the U.S. eMarketer says U.S. advertisers will spend a whopping $4.61B on Amazon’s platform this year–that’s 4.1% of the total spend across all ad platforms. To put that in context, Google is still by far the largest ad platform, taking 37.1% of market share, while Facebook comes in second place, taking 20.6% of market share.However, by 2020 Google and Facebook will see their market shares decline by a few points each as Amazon continues to grow its ad share. By 2020 eMarketer expects Amazon’s share of the U.S. ad market to reach 7%."
Retailers: Proposed Swipe Fee Settlement Falls Short
PG: "A proposed new class-action settlement aiming to resolve claims that Visa and MasterCard set credit card swipe fees in a multibillion-dollar price-fixing scheme has left retailers unimpressed, with many noting that the deal bears a strong resemblance to part of a previous agreement already rejected by both a federal appellate court and the retail industry."The monetary settlement doesn’t solve the problem," said Stephanie Martz, SVP and general counsel at the Washington-based National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association. 'Swipe fees cost retailers and their customers tens of billions of dollars a year and have been skyrocketing for nearly two decades. Ending the practices that lead to these anticompetitive fees is the only way to give merchants and consumers full relief once and for all."Emphasizing that it wasn’t only merchants that were affected by the issue, Martz continued: 'Swipe fees are not just a business-to-business issue. By driving up prices, they cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year – nearly as much as the average family spends on Christmas gifts or back-to-school supplies.' Deborah White, senior EVP and Retail Litigation Center president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, described the settlement as 'just another symptom of our nation’s broken payment ecosystem. It still offers merchants only pennies on the dollar for the harms that they suffered as a result of the anticompetitive rules backed by the card networks and big banks. More importantly, the proposal does not provide for any changes in those rules--and would limit the ability to pursue meaningful change of the rules that the payments card cartel will install to govern the payment ecosystem in the future'"...
Shoppers Want Coupons for Groceries More Than Any Other Category
PG: "Groceries are the top category for deal- and coupon-finding, with the vast majority of shoppers interested in coupons, coupons codes and deals when purchasing groceries, according to new research from shopper marketing company Valassis. The 2018 Purse String Survey reveals that 93% of respondents show interest in coupons and deals. Some 82% typically use coupons for their routine, weekly grocery shopping trips, and nearly half (47%) do so for fill-in trips, assaying they are buying more groceries online for delivery compared to last year, and 12% saying the same for click-and-collect. Delivery numbers rise even higher for dads and Hispanics, while click-and-collect numbers rise for Millennials and Millennial parents. Nearly half (48%) of respondents and seven in 10 Millennial parents agreed that they'd more likely grocery shop online if they could use more coupons. 'Consumers have more options than ever before when it comes to how they purchase groceries,' said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer at Livonia, Mich.-based Valassis. "Whether they shop online, in-store, use a delivery or pick-up service or prepare meal kits at home, it’s critical for grocery retailers well. But there's also a major opportunity for online grocers, according to the research. Grocery ecommerce adoption is on the rise, with 13% of respondents to consider shopper preferences. Consumers want deals, convenience and a personalized experience. Grocers who can deliver on these increasing customer demands will win them over and gain their loyalty.' Othr findings: 57% said grocery item availability makes them more likely to choose brick-and-mortar over online, perhaps due to selection and the ability to satisfy an immediate need More than a third (36%) of all respondents and half (52%) of Millennial parents would be interested in trying a grocer's meal kit if the product was offered in a nearby store. 82% said they'd be more interested in trying a meal kit from a grocer if a coupon was offered. 83% said they'd be more likely to buy from a grocer that offers personalized offers or discounts in its loyalty program. 58% said they'd shop a grocer that safeguards their privacy and personal information. 54% said they'd shop a grocer if it offers a consistent experience no matter where or how they interact with it."
Consumers Interested in Amazon Offering Banking
BI: "Amazon is considering offering banking services to customers, according to published reports. Many consumers would be interested in a free checking account from the company, Bain found in a new survey. Although interest is highest among Amazon Prime subscribers, even customers who don't shop at Amazon would be interested in such an account, the consulting company found.Amazon's potential in financial services could be particularly threatening to traditional banks, because consumers are far more loyal to the e-commerce giant, Bain found"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: