Monday, November 19, 2007

Is anybody out there?

Every time the circulation numbers come out we get to enjoy every pundits analysis of what the figures really mean. What they really mean is that print is dying a slow death, quarter by quarter, year after year. Subs are down, newsstand is down, allocation of space at retail is down, # of locations are down. Should I go on? Paper prices are up, energy is rising, pricing throughout the system is wrong. Enough already?

Where are the great minds that rise to these occassions, that find a way to cut costs, intergrate print and digital, fix the distribution channel, and market the product as alive and viable?

Friday, November 16, 2007

when will the other shoe(s) drop?

The Source is in free fall, AMI has finally been able to make a payment on time, and what are we hearing? They're going to borrow another 1.2 billion to merge. Haven't the bank regulators learned anything? Speaking of regulators, where are the anti trust guys. They had no problem hounding the wholesale community for years about trading accounts. How minor and petty does that seem now when you're talking about Source, AMI and DSI all with the same management. Publisher, National Distributor, Marketing Company, RDA company, Rack Company, Front End Management. Ah for the good old days when Hachette tried to buy a wholesaler and Hudson gave them a whoopin!! Any comments on who benefits, who's losing and who's afraid?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Could Samir Husni have finally converted to realism???

In Samir Husni's post of October 17th, The Media Changing Landscape according to Kevin McKean, VP and Editorial Director of Consumer Reports, Husni agrees with McKean 5 points for " what we must know of to succeed in the industry' of magazines:

1) There is an historic shift in media habits (towards digital delivery).
2) Advertisers chase their audience (who are migrang online).
3) As a result of this shift, traditional media are experiencing a squeeze (most dramatic in print).
4) Online media is growing.
5) We have been witnessing the rise of the citizen-journalist.

I agree with all these points and surprisingly, so does Husni. Amazing, in one felt swoop he has managed to contradict every one of the points he so confidently defends about the immutable nature of print in his blog, his presentations and his debates with Bosacks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A world without National Distributors!

I'm sure the wholesale community would love to dump the ND's. There are two problems with that scenario. First is that most of the ND's act as a bank for the publishers in one form or another. I'm not quite sure if all the wholesalers are financially sound enough to take on that responsibility. Secondly, from what I can tell the WS are not technically advanced enough to function in an e-marketplace. There has been no recent investments in upgrading technology or personnel who are savvy enough for the new world we've entered. With that said, I do agree with the concept. As evident by all large global companies, extra layers in the supply chain are constantly being eliminated.

One idea would be to fund an organization such as Magnet to act as the portal for all business dealings between publishers, WS, and retailers. There could free exchange of ideas, suggestions and problems so that everyone is on the same page, and has the same access to information.

Unfortunately there are too many "Secret Deals" going on that prevents any type of cooperation. WHERE ARE THE LEADERS OF THIS INDUSTRY AND WHY ARE THEY SO SILENT???

Friday, October 12, 2007

How about this: get rid of National Distributors!

How about this dear Diogenes: let's get rid of the national distributors. What are they doing anyway, just collecting 10% to send out invoices. I know there is a bit more, but the truth, is that the industry needs to find a solution where publishers talk and deal directly with wholesalers and/or retailers. I tried to develop such a web based system in the past, but the mountain of entrenched positions was too high to climb. Surely, in this day and age, with online markets that function efficiently for all kinds of perishable and non-perishable goods, we can find a workable solution for printed magazine distribution.

Here's my cheeky prediction: those national distributors that do not own wholesalers are going to see their livelihood threatened, and those that do not proactively try to find constructive and forward-looking solutions may not be around after 10 more years of this newsstand sales decline.

What am I missing here?

Someone needs to comment on the recent article by Baird Davis. His duality is astounding. In the opening line he admits that because of the "lack of leadership by national distributors and publishers, the wholesale community has taken matters into their own hands."

In an industry that everyone has criticized for it's passiveness, Mr. Davis has come out and said that the magazine wholesalers are improving industry services, and that the publishers and national distributors are in "real danger" because of this.

Imagine that, a group of financially troubled companies taking steps to not only improve their own business models but also help the industry as a whole emerge from the morass of the last decade.

He goes on to say that the very same national distributor's and publishers should get together to stop the wholesalers from doing this.

I must confess that I'm not an industry pundit but neither am I a fool. What the wholesalers are doing is what is needed, and for what it's worth the publisher's and national distributors should not lament the changes but rush to embrace them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What about SHRINK

In Harrington's article about SBT(read here), there were 2 sentences about SHRINK. It seems to this maven that once the inventory problem is settled (and it has to be) the BIG battle will be about who eats the SHRINK. Does anyone alive really believe it is only 2%. If so, reply to this blog because there's a bridge that I'd like to sell you.

Inside sources say that the SHRINK is more then 5% and can run as high as 8-10%. So lets do the numbers. A 4 billion dollar industry divided by 2 equals 2 billion. Five percent of 2 billion is 100 million dollars a year. Now that's a fight worth having. This will be better then the "Thrilla in Manila"

More to come...........

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 on to learn

It's about time someone TOFTT (TOOK ONE FOR THE TEAM). With all of Anderson's ranting and raving, at least one good thing emerged; SBT is out of the closet and staring directly into our faces.

The publishers and national distributors (are they the same, Gee it certainly looks that way) can no longer pretend it's not happening. So the 2 big questions remain; who eats the shrink and who foots the bill for the switchover?? Something tells me it's not the retailers. (LOL) I would love to be a fly on the wall in the conference rooms of some of the big players.

Let me throw out another idea, since the system is going to be fixed one way or another, why not throw RDA into the mix as well. Maybe if the weeklies would pay the same as their fellow magazines there would be more money in the pot for the retailers. But, what do I know??

more to come..........

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trying to shake things up in this greying industry...

As you can see, after months of not doing much with this blog, I have been joined by who is working somewhere in the magazine industry. We plan to shed some light on the underbelly of periodical publishing............... stay tuned.

The Industry's Dirty Little Secret (Part 1)

What happens to the whole distribution system when Scan Based Trading and the shrink of 5% is factored into the equation?

What happens to the wholesaler's margins then?

What no one is talking about is that all wholesalers are actually doing it UTR (under the radar) today and charging the shrink back to the publisher.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What is the STYLEPRESS

The stylepress have at their source the presentation of creativity led by the editor’s/creator’s vision. They transcend the boundaries of traditional publications in four fundamental ways: through their physicality (format, materials, and packaging), unusual design, provocative and timeless content, and dedication to particular communities. They are part coffee-table book, part photography and art show, part object and part magazine. These are not the throwaway kind of periodical, but the one you keep exposed to draw the attention of your visitors, as a symbol of status and adherence to a particular social “tribe.”

Since at least the mid-1990s, this new wave of independent magazines has arisen with explosive force because of their low conception costs, due to affordable and accessible design software and a developed communications infrastructure essential for sharing and collaborating, and their growing acceptance as a respectable medium in which to showcase artistic ideas and experiment with concepts. Self Service and I Don’t Understand from France, Another Magazine and Kilimanjaro from the UK, Addict and Volume form The Netherlands, Werk from Singapore, Made from Canada, and North Drive Press and Gum from the US are just a few of the titles that have made and are making a mark in this category.

The Last Magazine - Press Release


Published in association with the traveling exhibition, Magazines in Transition,
visiting museums and galleries throughout 2007 in ten cities worldwide.

USA—The market for printed periodicals will decrease by 15% through 2016 in North America and Europe. Author David Renard convincingly supports this provocative statistic in Last Magazine, coming this fall from Rizzoli. Renard posits that the public’s ever-increasing hunger for immediate information delivery, coupled with the laborious and archaic distribution system for printed matter, and rising awareness of the ecological impact of printed mass media will ultimately force publishers to completely rethink the concept of the “magazine”. He predicts an evolution—or more pointedly, a revolution—in the magazine industry from the paper form to a digital delivery system. A major catalyst in this evolution will be the development of e-paper, a portable, flexible (unlike a computer screen), updatable, and searchable medium that combines the immediacy and breadth of the Internet with the tactile experience still sought after by the inveterate book or magazine consumer. Within twenty-five years only 10% of the paper-based magazine industry will remain, sustained by the so-called stylepress: physically and aesthetically engaging creative chroniclers of trends. These will be the last printed magazines.

David Renard offers a visual anthology showcasing how the stylepress differs from traditional publications with uncommon design, challenging content and a cultural commentary that may very well challenge the future of magazines as we know them, but may also—for the most astute from the world of mass-market periodicals—provide a key to holding on to print a little longer.

The Last Magazine features a selection of 150 of the best independent magazines from over twenty countries including 032C, Doingbird, Kilimanjaro, Permanent Food, Purple, Uovo, and Werk, with essays from top industry thinkers such as Steven Heller (The New York Times Book Review, School of Visual Arts), Rankin (Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine), Bob Sacks (Time Inc., Ziff-Davis, Precision Media Group), and Nick Hampshire (leading technology writer and publisher). The Last Magazine is a visual call to arms for both professionals—from designers to advertisers to publishers—to magazine aficionados worldwide.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Publishers push for a life after paper

Publishers push for a life after paper - BizTech - Technology -

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The NYT and Microsoft jumping in the e-paper field

New way to get the news

Thursday, April 27, 2006

First Step Newsprint, next Magprint

One Day Soon, Straphangers May Turn Pages With a Button - New York Times

Monday, February 27, 2006

Belgian newspaper to become first 'paperless' daily

Belgian newspaper to become first 'paperless' daily

Irex and their parent, Philips, are approaching this the right way in an industry that is so fearful of a change in medium: all you newspaper men and women, this little technology will save you from paying for all that paper. Nothing like a good clear business incentive to get business leaders to take notice. Now when are magazine executives going to realize that content and relationship with readers is what is important not the ecologically unsound medium.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Circulation Management : Costco Update

Circulation Management : Costco Update

This may look like another deal. But it is really another nail in the coffin of printed magazines in the United States. Cosco, one of the largest retailers in the US will be selling magazines at a 20% discount in stores, with a full return policy. This is equal or more than the deal many retailers buy printed magazines for. Additionaly, publishers will be paying at least $24.50 per placement at each Cosco, when the already exagerated price for celebrity titles at supermarkets has recently reached $20 a pocket (placement).

What does this mean? Major chains are going to demand the same deal (discount and placement costs) that Cosco is getting. This is desastrous for national distributors and publishers. Also, retailers will be incentivised to go buy from Cosco rather than their traditional source: the wholesalers. The newsstand business in the US was built on these small suppliers, but now they will take a major hit.

In the end, the customer wins, and I see nothing wrong with that. But, it's hard not to shed a tear for a dying industry that has supported the press, including at times the independent press. These wholesalers and national distributors are slowly dying, this is only one of the recent examples of this downward spiral, and with them mass market printed periodicals are gasping for air.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More ILIAD images - IRex to use Wacom's digital pen technology - IRex to use Wacom's digital pen technology

The ability to highlight text, cut out articles, and store them for later reading. Irex's focus on software functionality for the ILIAD may give it some edge against Sony. It seems that Sony prefers to focus on content and the large amount of it that will be able to be bought, downloaded and read on their READER.