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February 25, 2021

Publishing News

Spin, Guccione Jr., Are Back Yet Again (And A Print Return Could Be Down the Road)
The Drum: While he sold and left Spin in 1997, Bob Guccione Jr. was invited to reunite with his brainchild last spring by its new owner, Next Management Partners, in a highly participatory advisory role, to help the 35-year-old brand position itself for a new decade... before it was acquired in 2020 by Next Management Partners, Spin appeared to be stalled. Now, there's an ambitious plan in place for reworking what Spin means to old-school fans and advertisers while introducing the brand to more millennial and Gen Z music lovers. The multi-year endeavor centers on paid subscriptions, merchandising, and a free TV channel that will span continents. While Guccione has been the brand’s hands-on guru in recent months, Spin CEO Jimmy Hutcheson, creative director Danny Klein and managing editor Daniel Kohn have been spearheading Spin’s next chapter. Hutcheson tells The Drum that, in late March, Spin will launch a $100 annual membership program. Customers will get exclusive access to online concerts and – down the road when offline events become safe to attend — private parties the brand sponsors at music festivals. They’ll get to log onto Spin’s live video, AMA-styled ’Fans Ask’ series and throw questions at emerging music stars. Every month, stars like Run the Jewels, Foo Fighters or Machine Gun Kelly appear on Spin’s digital covers. The covers link back to the title’s history in print and generate behind-the-scenes photo shoots and video content. With that in mind, only members will get exclusive access to limited-edition merchandise like clothing and bean bags that the publication develops with its cover artists. Spin-branded collectibles such as T-shirts, beach blankets and coffee cups will also be complimentary for members. A quarterly print magazine could be added in the years to come, Hutcheson says. The membership club will be promoted via ads on Facebook, Instagram and other digital media platforms after its early spring launch"...

Nat Geo Offers AR Show from Mars
MediaPost: "National Geographic, combining traditional publishing with an immersive online experience, has teamed up with NASA to allow readers to view the Martian panorama from NASA’s Perseverance rover. The Perseverance landed on Feb. 17 and is already sending back images of the barren landscape. The arrangement lets Instagram users observe the landscape as Perseverance searches for ancient signs of life on the red planet, via @natgeo Instagram. The Mars AR activation provides an 360 degree look at the panorama and allows viewers to take a selfie with the rover. National Geographic consulted scientists and engineers who worked on the rover, including Roger Weins (SUPERCAM), Christina Diaz (PIXL) and Jim Bell (Mastcam-Z).In another multichannel effort, National Geographic is providing rover content through a pinned Mars Perseverance Mission Twitter thread. Plus, the magazine’s March issue explores humans’ fascination with Mars by including an immersive experience at the National Geographic space hub, This is National Geographic’s fourth Spark AR project — the others have included Spinosaurus, Climb Everest and the World in 2070"...

Vogue China Names New Editor
Vogue: "Australian-born Chinese fashion multihyphenate" Margaret Zhang has been named editor-in-chief of Vogue China. "At 27, she’s the youngest EIC at Vogue. Her international experience, exceptional multiplatform digital expertise, and wide-ranging interests are the perfect combination to lead Vogue China into the future," said Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast global chief content officer"..

Self's Editor Leaves for Google
BoF: "The editor of Condé Nast’s health and fitness title is stepping down, according to a statement on her Instagram, and will join Google's editorial team as head of special projects and digital platforms. Kylstra came to Self five years ago as executive digital director and was promoted to the top editorial job the following year, when Condé Nast shuttered the print part of the title. The publication was nominated for six National Magazine Awards during her tenure. “Thank you to Anna Wintour for your support and guidance, and to Condé Nast for entrusting me with this incredible brand,” Kylstra said on Instagram. Kylstra is one of several editors to jump to tech in recent years, joining former Marie Claire editor Aya Kanai, now at Pinterest, and former Elle Canada editor Vanessa Craft, now at TikTok. Condé Nast has seen several other editor exits in recent months"...

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Hearst Donating $1.2M to Texas Storm Relief (Houston Chronicle, paywall)

Retail News

NRF: Vaccine Will Drive 6-8% Jump in Retail Sales in 2021
CNBC: "Retail sales are expected to grow this year between 6.5% and 8.2%, amounting to more than $4.33 trillion in sales, as the U.S. economy begins to reopen and more and more individuals receive the COVID vaccine, the National Retail Federation said Wednesday. A preliminary reading shows that retail sales grew 6.7% to $4.06 trillion last year, the industry’s leading trade group said, despite the health and economic challenges sparked by the pandemic. That was largely boosted by nearly 22% growth online... NRF is forecasting e-commerce sales will grow between 18% and 23%, to between $1.14 trillion and $1.19 trillion in sales. This growth is included in NRF’s total retail sales projection. “The trajectory of the economy is predicated on the effectiveness of the vaccine and its distribution,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “Our principal assumption is that... the vaccination will be effective and permits accelerated growth during the mid-year,” he said. “The economy is expected to see its fastest growth in over two decades.” Kleinhenz added that this year is already shaping up to see continued savings by consumers, record-high stock valuations, escalating home prices and record-low interest rates, all of which are contributing factors toward NRF’s projections for a robust economic rebound. The trade group further expects that as Americans become more comfortable traveling again and attending social gatherings, more money will be spent on services, which normally account for 70% of consumer spending"...

Costco Raises Minimum Hourly Wage to $16
PG: "Costco Wholesale will increase its minimum wage by $1 to $16 starting next week. CEO Craig Jelinek made the announcement during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on pay at large retail and fast-food employers. Jelinek added that Costco's hourly workers in the U.S. are paid on average above $25.Costco employs about 180,000 U.S. workers. “This isn’t altruism,” Jelinek said. “It helps in the long run by minimizing turnover, maximizing employee productivity, commitment and loyalty.” In the U.S., employees average more than 9 years with the company, he said. Jelinek also said the company offers regular raises, bonuses and health care benefits. About 89% of workers are currently eligible for health care coverage, he said"...

Amazon Opens 10th Fresh Store
Grocery Dive: "Amazon Fresh opened its 10th location on Thursday in Fullerton, California, according to a press release. The 45,000-sq.-ft. store, located at 1100 S. Harbor Blvd., opens with an assortment of mainstream, local and private label grocery items along with prepared foods. Deals include 15-cent bananas, pizza slices for $1.79 and rotisserie chickens for $4.97. This marks Amazon Fresh’s seventh store in California following recent openings in Whittier and North Hollywood. The brand also has three locations in the Chicago area"...

IRI: Product Innovation Emphases Changed by Pandemic
Grocery Dive: "While food and beverage innovation continued at a level pace in 2020, the number of line extensions fell 29% compared to the previous three-year average, according to a new analysis by IRI. Grocery brands are now focused on new products that elevate self and societal care, indulgence and convenience. Small brands and private label also found opportunity to grab consumers' attention and win their loyalty during the last year by demonstrating innovative thinking. With annual CPG sales up 10% in February, IRI sees continued opportunity for large brands and private labels to innovate — particularly with plant-based, premium and health and wellness products. At the same time, they will be shaped by the "new normal" of consumer behavior, including more at-home cooking, the elevation of on-the-go convenience and frictionless shopping... The pandemic has established new consumer behaviors that will sustain in 2021 and shape product innovation for years to come. According to IRI, 53% of consumers said they would continue to create meals from scratch more often than they did before the pandemic... The wave of out-of-stocks at the pandemic's beginning last spring also left an indelible imprint. Even though IRI found the assortment of products in stores has returned to pre-pandemic norms, the period of name-brand scarcity introduced shoppers to smaller brands and private label. Small brands, with store sales of less than $100M, saw an 18.3% jump in multi-outlet retail and convenience store sales in 2020... private label gained nearly 12%. This compares to a 7.5% sales increase for large brands... In a January survey, IRI found 30% of shoppers aim to spend as little time in stores as possible when looking for new products — up 5 points from May 2020. The potential is so great that online sales of packaged food and beverages could reach up to $109B this year, according to research from FMI/NielsenIQ. Consumers' interest in health and wellness attributes also rose during the pandemic... IRI also sees greater opportunity for products that address societal care in the year ahead — in particular, items that use sustainable, renewable and refillable packaging"...

Walmart Adds BigCommerce Customers to Its Marketplace
TechCrunch: "BigCommerce has partnered with Walmart to allow its customers to sell on the retailer’s ecommerce marketplace... BigCommerce has reported strong growth in recent quarters, supported in part by partnerships... The ecommerce SaaS provider rolled out an integration with Wish last year, for example... BigCommerce CEO Brent Bellm told TechCrunch that his company had been impressed with customer uptake of the Wish integration. Regarding the Walmart partnership, Bellm [said] it was overdue on the BigCommerce side; given the historical success of the Wish deal, it will be curious to dig into how many of the ecommerce platform’s customers opt to sell on Walmart, and how quickly they do so. TechCrunch also spoke with Walmart exec Jeff Clementz about the arrangement. He stressed Walmart’s online customer monthly-actives — 120 million, per his company — and the breadth of their demand; BigCommerce customers selling on Walmart could expand its product diversity, helping the traditionally physical retailer possible continue its rapid growth"...


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