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October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

Publishing News

Sony Pictures TV to Distribute 'People' Show in National Syndication
Deadline: "People (the TV Show!) is eying an expansion. Sony Pictures Television has partnered with Meredith Corp for the nationwide distribution of the new daily half-hour newsmagazine program inspired by the People brand, which features a combination of celebrity, entertainment and human-interest stories. Following Meredith Corp.’s $2.8 billion acquisition of Time Inc., the company in 2019 announced a daily syndicated show built around one of the newly bought magazine titles, People, to launch in the fall of 2020 on the 16 local TV stations owned by Meredith, which reach 11% of the country and cover markets like Atlanta, Phoenix; St. Louis; Portland, OR; and Nashville. The plan was for the weeknight program to seek additional clearances on stations beyond Meredith’s footprint, depending on the initial performance of the show. The show debuted Sept. 14, one of only three new syndicated entries this fall... In its markets, People has performed generally better than the other two freshmen and some of the established entertainment newsmagazines. Rob Silverstein, formerly of Access Hollywood, is People’s executive producer. “We are thrilled with the early success of People (the TV Show!) in Meredith’s markets and are excited to team with SPT to offer the show to other station groups for fall 2022,” said Patrick McCreery, President, Meredith Local Media Group. Added John Weiser, President, First Run Television, SPT, “Rather than presenting a pilot, we’re strategically taking the risk out of first run television by offering stations a show that has already been on-air tested and is delivering great ratings.” People (The TV Show!) airs Monday-Friday in all 12 Meredith markets including Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, Nashville, Kansas City, Hartford-New Haven, Greenville-Spartanburg, Las Vegas, Mobile-Pensacola, Flint-Saginaw, and Springfield-Holyoke, Mass"...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Covers Vanity Fair
CNN Style: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been unveiled as Vanity Fair's latest cover star, less than a week before she concludes her bid for reelection in New York's 14th congressional district. The [December issue] cover image -- and a series of additional pictures for the magazine's December issue -- was taken by Tyler Mitchell, who famously became the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue. In an accompanying interview, Ocasio-Cortez discussed the pressures of the job and her political ambitions... [and] offered further details about her high-profile exchange with Rep. Ted Yoho, which saw the Republican politician apologize for verbally accosting her on the steps of the Capitol. According to VF contributor Michelle Ruiz, OCA recounted telling Yoho the next day: "You do that to me again, I won't be so nice next time"... The 31-year-old said that her home address had been published online and that authorities had reported death plots against her. "I used to wake up in the morning and literally get a stack of pictures that were forwarded by Capitol police or FBI," she is quoted as saying. "Like, 'These are the people who want to kill you today.' There have been many times, especially in the first six months, where I felt like I couldn't do this, like I didn't know if I was going to be able to run for reelection. There was a time where the volume of threats had gotten so high that I didn't even know if I was going to live to my next term""...

Atlantic, Radical Media Team on Conspiracy Theories Docuseries
MediaPost: "Radical Media and The Atlantic will co-produce a docuseries based on the magazine’s June cover story, “The Prophecies of Q,” which chronicles the dangerous and growing power of QAnon. The magazine’s interactive companion project, “Shadowland,” is also the title of the future docuseries. The first season will be directed by Joe Berlinger, responsible for the “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” and “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” documentaries. The six-episode series will explore the false narratives and conspiracy theories that have gripped elements of the American public — and how they destroy objective truth. Subjects will also include COVID-19 and vaccine conspiracy theories.

Survey: NYC, London to Remain Journalism Hubs
A survey conducted by Prosek Partners, a PR, financial communications and marketing firm, finds journalists saying that New York City and London will remain core journalism centers in the post-pandemic world. 86 U.S. financial and business journalists were polled this month. About two-thirds stated that both these cities will remain or grow their level of importance for financial and business journalism, even as the impact of the pandemic continues.


Retail News

Online Holiday Sales to Rise 33% YoY: Adobe Analytics
MediaPost: "Online sales will top $189B this holiday season, reflecting 33% growth YoY, Adobe Analytics predicts. Revenue could even hit $200B, or 47% more, if consumers receive stimulus checks and more stores shut down. And sales will be spread out — in effect, Cyber Week will become Cyber Month, Adobe says. It all sounds good. But this is the most volatile year in the eight-year history of this report, Adobe warns. Among the complications: The COVID pandemic; state-by-state store shutdowns and re-openings; the election; the unemployment rate; economic stimulus checks or the lack thereof. What’s more, return rates could be driven up due to postal delays caused by to an overwhelmed system. Still, signs point to strong digital sales, especially in the Northeast. Overall online sales will hit more than $2B per day in the Nov. 1 to 23 timeframe, and $3M per day from Nov. 22 to December. Black Friday sales will total $10B, a 39% hike over last year, and Cyber Monday will bring in $12.7B for a 35% increase. Growth is predicted to slow 11% on the day after the election. The entire week will contribute $16.3 in online sales. Many shoppers will be new to digital. Of all consumers, 31% rarely shopped online prior to April of this year, and 9% were totally new to online buying"...

Walmart Turns 4 Stores Into Ecommerce Labs
CNBC: "Walmart is turning four of its stores into laboratories that test ways to turn the company’s huge physical footprint into a more powerful edge for e-commerce. At the stores, employees will use digital tools, store design features and different strategies that could speed up restocking shelves and fulfilling online orders. They will test an app that uses artificial intelligence to scan multiple boxes in the back room rather than one at a time as they move them to the store floor. They will use new store signage and handheld devices to cut down the time it takes to pick an online order. And product and technology teams will be based at the stores to accelerate the pace of prototyping. The company said it will tinker with the checkout area, too, testing designs, hardware and software that make customers’ purchases faster, easier and more contact-free. Even before the pandemic fueled e-commerce growth, the big-box retailer had made moves to align its online and e-commerce strategies — such as merging separate teams of buyers"...

Sprouts' ID Sales Slow, But Chain Doubles Down on Strategy
Grocery Dive: "Sprouts Farmers Market recorded sales of $1.6 billion in the third quarter, a 9.5% increase over the same period in 2019, the natural foods grocery chain reported Wednesday. The company posted net income of $60M during the 13-week period, which concluded Sept. 27, up 138% vs. 2019's Q3. Comp-store sales for the grocery were up 4.2% in Q3 on a year-over-year basis, and the company expects comp growth to be in “the low single digits” in the fourth quarter. E-commerce sales grew 337% and represented 11% of Sprouts’ sales during Q3.Sprouts’ sales growth is not as robust as what its competitors have seen in recent months, but company executives remain optimistic that their sharp focus on health-conscious consumers will pay off in future quarters. Speaking Wednesday during Sprouts’ earnings call, CEO Jack Sinclair said he's not concerned that Sprouts’ comparable store sales growth was slower than that of other grocers'. The specialty chain, he said, is focused on bringing in the minority of customers who are intensely interested in its health-conscious assortment. “We are very set on the strategy that we've outlined, which is targeting specific customers, targeting a more narrow customer base than trying to appeal to all people all times… we're very comfortable that that strategy is working well for us, said Sinclair... Sprouts is continuing to develop and emphasize the aspects of its assortment that stand out as it looks to attract customers, according to Sinclair. The company is highlighting differentiators like the ingredients in its products, where they come from and how its suppliers treat livestock, he said. Sprouts is also focusing on plant-based and frozen foods"...

Uber Launches Grocery Delivery in NYC
Grocery Dive: "Uber has begun delivering groceries in parts of Manhattan and will expand to the rest of the New York City area in the coming weeks, the company announced Wednesday. The company known primarily for ride sharing and restaurant delivery has linked up with D’Agostino, Gristedes, Westside Market and other Big Apple grocers for scheduled or on-demand delivery through the Uber and Uber Eats apps. Orders are fulfilled by workers with Cornershop, the delivery startup Uber acquired last year. The expansion follows a global rollout of Uber Grocery and a U.S. test of the service in Dallas and Miami. Last month, Uber announced it’s providing delivery for Southeastern Grocers customers in four Florida cities"...

Giant Food Names Irfan Badibanga VP Operations
SN: Former Family Dollar and Walmart executive Irfan Badibanga will join Landover, Md.-based Giant Food as SVP operations on Nov. 1. He will oversee all operational aspects at Giant, including regional operations, store support, strategic store planning and execution, and asset protection, along with people, team and culture development.

Stop & Shop Intros 1990's Nostalgia Website
SN: "With many Americans turning to comfort foods during the coronavirus crisis, Stop & Shop has gone live with a 1990s nostalgia website selling popular foods and beverages from the decade. The “throwback” site — called “The ’90s — A Decade of Unforgettable Foods” — offers a curated assortment of hundreds of items across breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, desserts and beverages. Sporting a design inspired by Saved By the Bell, the new site lets customers shop throwbacks like Fruit Gushers and Chips Ahoy!. This year also saw the relaunch of the cookie-and-frosting combo snack Dunkaroos (General Mills) and Twix Cookies & Creme bars (Mars). General Mills relaunched Trix and other classic cereals, such as Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp and Golden Grahams"...


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