MagNet Releases Q3 Retail Results
MagNet reports that in Q3, U.S. magazine single-copy dollar sales declined by 6%, and unit sales by 13.9%. In Canada, dollar sales declined 6.6%, and units 13.8%. The N.A. averages for the first three quarters of 2016 were dollars -6.6%, units -13.9%. In Q3, as in previous 2016 quarters, titles ranking between 101 and 500 in dollar sales (mainly bookazines, SIPs, adult coloring titles and titles that increased frequency in the period) performed comparatively well, showing an average decline in units of 2.5%. The 400 titles in this group represent just over 31% of total magazine unit volume. "The decline in the industry is very concentrated in the high-volume, mass-distributed titles," MagNet reports. Average cover price per unit sold increased $0.48, or more than 9% in Q3 vs. same period 2015 (to $5.76, from $5.28). The price increases are driven by bookazines and SIPs, according to MagNet. Average N.A. sellthrough for Q3 was 25.1%, down 1.5 points vs. year ago. Notably, Time Inc.'s dollar sales were up 3% in the period, despite unit declines. In addition, by category, general interest titles (which have a 7% 2016 dollar sales market share) saw dollar sales increase by a substantial 14.5%, and units jump 8.2%; recreation titles (3.5% share) saw dollar sales jump 41.7% and units jump 37.3%; and health/fitness titles (4% share) maintained dollar sales, amid a 9% unit decline. Science titles (2.2% share) saw dollars gain 9.9%, despite a unit decline of 5.1%; and social/literary titles (1.9% share) saw dollars jump 58.9% and units jump 29.3%.
Conde Nast Folds Self's Print Edition
Folio: "After 37 years, Condé Nast is shuttering the print edition of Self and taking the brand digital-only, the company announced...Editor-in-chief Joyce Chang, who took the helm in 2014 after arriving from Hearst's Cosmopolitan, is leaving the company, a Condé Nast spokesman confirmed...[Self] actually saw a marked increase in print subscriptions during Chang's tenure, according to data from the Alliance for Audited Media, but newsstand sales [have declined] 71% [over the past three years, since December 2013]. Succeeding Chang as editor-in-chief of the now-digital brand is executive digital director Carolyn Kylstra, who was promoted after overseeing several months of record-breaking traffic, ce paulminating in a full-scale web relaunch in September... Self has experienced triple-digit growth in video viewership this year, according to Condé Nast, and has broken its own monthly traffic records four separate times. Although the February 2017 issue of Self will be its last in regular frequency, Condé Nast has left open the possibility to produce special print editions around "health and wellness-related moments throughout the year," according to a release. Last year, Self's marketing and sales teams were combined with Glamour's and reorganized under Glamour publisher Connie Anne Phillips, a move that precipitated the departure of former Self publisher Mary Murcko...“By reimagining how Self creates content and how we distribute it, we are uniquely positioned to give consumers more of what they love while creating innovative and engaging opportunities for our advertising partners," said chief business officer Jim Norton (who joined Condé Nast from AOL in October), in a prepared statement.
Time Inc. Launches Shared Digital Newsroom Division
WWD: Time Inc. is officially gearing up its new centralized digital newsroom. "According to a memo from Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray, the unit will be led by 10 leaders across the company with xpertise in core subject from entertainment and fashion to technology and news. For example, if a [celebrity] story breaks, the celebrity team leader will work with Time Inc.’s celebrity and entertainment titles to craft a story that can be distributed across various websites and social channels. “Every writer and editor who covers one of the topics above will contribute to at least one digital desk, each of which will have a dedicated Slack channel where coverage can be coordinated 24/7,” wrote Murray. “While most routine assignments will continue to be handled within the brands, it will be the role of the desk leaders to ensure that we are collaborating in real-time, quickly seizing opportunities to win in social and search and steering our collective resources where we can have the most impact. We will track our audience growth not just across brands, but also across the desks.” Desk leaders include People’s Sara Nathan (celebrity), Entertainment Weekly’s Christopher Rosen (entertainment), Cooking Light’s Stacey Rivera, Health’s Theresa Tamkins (health), Real Simple’s Laura Schocker and Coastal Living’s Steele Marcoux (home and real estate), Sports Illustrated’s Mark McClusky (sports), People’s Andrea Lavinthal (style & beauty), Fortune’s Andrew Nusca (technology) and Travel + Leisure’s Miles Stiverson (travel and luxury). Time Inc.’s group digital director Edward Felsenthal and Will Lee will run the new division. Felsenthal will oversee the news, technology, food, home and travel desk leads, while Lee will head up beauty and style, celebrity, entertainment and sports leads. Additionally, Lori Leibovich, digital editor of Real Simple, will become digital director of women’s content..."
Hearst Launching Team Tasked With Building Voice-Activated Experiences
Adweek: Hearst "has quietly launched a 10-person group called the Native and Emerging Technologies (NET group) that's responsible for keeping the mega-publisher up to speed with the newest technologies, starting with voice-activated devices including Amazon Echo and Google Home and voice-based smartphone experiences. For instance, this week, the team launched an Amazon Echo Skill for Good Housekeeping. The group was born out of Hearst's acquisition of startup BranchOut a couple of years ago. 'We're looking at this new wave of natural language interfaces as being a great source of content discovery and content interaction,' said Phil Wiser, Hearst's CTO. "We find all of that to be increasingly important as a way to engage consumers.' The GH Echo skill lets users receive a step-by-step voice guide of instructions to remove stains...While NET doesn't have any advertisers yet, Wiser said he envisions selling brands on voice experiences in the near future. For instance, the GH Echo skill could recommend a stain-removal brand that's been vetted by the magazine. Or a food-themed skill could push a particular brand's ingredient when reading a recipe out loud. Hearst also has Amazon Echo skills for Elle, which answers horoscope questions, and for its newspaper brands (which read daily news out loud through Echo's Flash Briefings feature). 'We're going to pick up the pace on these voice-activated devices,' which also extend to smartphones, noted Wiser., so "as more and more consumers use the voice interface to access their device or ask questions, we'll be well-positioned to be an answer and show up by giving out more content in this format.' Bots, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and over-the-top apps for smart TV devices like Roku are other priorities for the group... Hearst is particularly interested in how AR technology works within Snapchat since a number of its publishers are Snapchat Discover partners and chief content officer Joanna Coles sits on the mobile app's board... Hearst was also one of the first companies to build AR apps for now-defunct Google Glass... NET is leaning on Hearst's data-science team to analyze and format content for new devices...the team aggregates audience data that can then be picked apart to create bits of content and personalized ads for new devices..."
Bloomberg Media Taps a New Global CCO, Continuing Its Trend of Hiring From Agencies
Adweek: Bloomberg Media has hired Teddy Lynn, Ogilvy & Mather's North American CCO of content and social. As global CCO, Lynn will lead a team of creatives, editors, copywriters, designers and producers who will make branded campaigns and experiences to fuel Bloomberg Media's projects, the company announced... Lynn's "varied background, which includes producing award-winning films, television and advertising, as well as having worked at Morgan Stanley, illustrates his ability to use powerful storytelling to drive business results," said Jacki Kelley, Bloomberg Media's COO. Bloomberg Media's revenue was up 8% YOY through the end of September. With that growth, CEO Justin B. Smith said, it is "launching ambitious plans to expand our creative, marketing services and custom content capabilities"... Bloomberg hired Steven Feuling from Dentsu Aegis and Michelle Lynn from Carat earlier this year in an effort to build a team with agency experience and reach a premium audience across all platforms..."
New Editor-in-Chief at Texas Monthly Following Sale
Folio: Twenty years after joining Texas Monthly, including two as editor-in-chief, Brian Sweany has been replaced as EIC under new owner Genesis Park, a private equity firm. "Tim Taliaferro is now EVP and EIC, the magazine announced...[he] joins from his role as editor-in-chief of Alcalde, the University of Texas alumni magazine. He also served as SVP of communications and digital strategy for Texas Exes, the university alumni association. In October, Emmis Communications sold the magazine to Genesis Park for $25M, after owning the publication for 18 years. Genesis Park is owned by Paul Hobby, now CEO of Texas Monthly. Hobby told Folio: at the time that he loved Texas Monthly, and planned to increase its digital presence and events focus. Texas Monthly developed quite a reputation under Sweany’s leadership. The magazine claimed eight City and Regional Magazine Awards (CRMA) for writing and design in 2016, and seven in 2015. Sweany, who’s run the magazine since 2014, started at Texas Monthly in 1996. After a stint at competitor D Magazine, he rejoined the staff in 2005. Scott Brown was also named to the newly created role of chief creative officer. Brown joins from his role as president and CCO at marketing firm The Company of Others. Erin Beil was also named controller, and will run accounting operations. Previously, she was controller of HotSchedules.com." Texas Monthly's website lists the scores of National Magazine Awards for which it's been named a finalist or winner over the past several decades, including multiple wins for General Excellence in its circulation category.
Rogers Cuts 60 Staff, Folds LouLou Magazine
Folio: " Rogers Media's intent to exit both the B2B and French-language magazine businesses, revealed in September, left anxious staffers waiting for the other shoe to drop. Two weeks ago, the Toronto-based publisher's sale of its B2B titles to Chicago-based EnsembleIQ seemingly left the staffs of those magazines, including Canadian Grocer and The Medical Post, unscathed. [However,] at least 60 staff have been laid off at Châtelaine, L'actualité, and LouLou--three of the five most widely read French-language magazines in North America, according to data from the Alliance for Audited Media--several Canadian outlets reported yesterday. The sweeping cuts come alongside announcements that Rogers will in fact retain ownership of women's lifestyle magazine Châtelaine and its English-language sister title, but [will cut] the frequency of both from 12 to six issues per year. While the news and general interest-focused L'actualité remains on the block, both the English and French editions of LouLou will cease publication after their respective December issues...English-language magazines Flare, Sportsnet, MoneySense, and Canadian Business will all go digital-only in 2017, leaving Hello! Canada, the two editions of Chatelaine, scaled-back versions of Maclean's and Today's Parent, and yet-unsold B2B titles Advantages and Advisor's Edge as Rogers' only remaining magazines in print..."
Copies of 'Madam President' Version of Newsweek Selling Online
MSN: Topix Media Lab instructed retailers to wait until after the election before displaying any of the 125,000 copies of the 'Madam President' version of a special it created through a license with Newsweek. And as planned, it quickly recalled those copies, and replaced them with the also pre-prepared Trump version, after Trump was declared the winner. However, "NBC News found 387 offers for the recalled issue Wednesday evening just on eBay. Many of them offered multiple copies for sale. And that's a problem, because the edition's publisher says only 17 copies were actually sold before all the rest were recalled, calling into question the authenticity of many of those offers."
Quartz Offers Digital 'Advent Calendar' Gift Guide
MediaPost: "For a new spin on the classic holiday gift guide, Quartz has launched a feature in the format of a digital Advent calendar, with each day unlocking a story exploring the global, economic and personal aspects of holiday gift exchanges. Produced by the Quartz's special projects team, which focuses on 'high concept, ambitious journalistic features,” according to special projects editor Lauren Alix Brown, the '25 Days of Exchange' feature is sponsored by Shinola Detroit and Hugo Boss The Scent. Unlike a print gift guide, which would be 'limited to a special edition magazine,' the exchange allows the team to 'play with format and product' and 'explore new ways of doing journalism,' Brown says. Readers can sign up to receive a daily SMS text notification...to alert them that a new story has gone live on the landing page for the exchange. Quartz will also send a text to readers with an animated GIF that relates to the article of the day... When each story goes live, a square representing one of the 25 days of Christmas is filled in with the corresponding GIF. The Dec. 1 story ranked the world’s 'most aggressive' Christmas shoppers and eaters..."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Meijer Names Keyes CEO
SN: "Meijer Inc. announced Friday President Rick Keyes would also take on the role of CEO, with current CEO Hank Meijer moving to executive chairman of the Meijer board, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Keyes, who ascended to the position of president last year following the departure of J.K. Symancyk, joined the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer 27 years ago as a pharmacist. In a release, the company noted the title of president had traditionally been held by someone outside the Meijer family, while over the years Fred and Hank Meijer have served as its CEOs. Today’s changes mark a desire “to align the roles more accurately with current responsibilities,” the retailer said...Meijer operates 230 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin."
Save Mart Names Pesco CEO
SN: "The Save Mart Cos. said that Nicole Pesco would be named its CEO, filling a role last occupied by her late father, Bob Piccinini. Since 2014, Pesco has been serving as one of three co-presidents at Save Mart, along with Steve Junquiero and Greg Hill. Junquiero, who is also COO, and Hill, also serving as CFO, will continue in those roles. Pesco was serving as Save Mart’s chief strategy and branding officer in addition to her role as co-president..."
Schultz Steps Down as Starbucks' CEO, to Focus on Retail Innovation
Fast Casual: "Howard Schultz is handing over his title of CEO to COO Kevin Johnson, effective April 2017. Schultz will serve as executive chairman, shifting his focus to innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company's social impact initiatives... Schultz reminded investors on the call that three years ago he predicted that the industry would have to embrace mobile technology and create destination stores to attract customers. Since making that shift, Starbucks has been consistently outperforming the retail industry because its "stores, offerings and the experiences its employees create make the chain a destination," Schultz said. "The best evidence of the success of the core strategy driving our business is that we continue to deliver quarter after quarter of record, industry leading revenue, comp sales and profit growth, and that the newest classes of Starbucks stores continue to deliver record-breaking revenues, AUVs and ROI both in the U.S. and around the world," he said. Schultz sees his new focus on growing Starbucks Reserves and Roasteries as the next step in keeping innovation brewing at Starbucks, saying those stores will showcase new coffee brewing methods and offer customers artisanal food choices from Italian bakery Princi, founded by Rocco Princi in 1986. "We expect Starbucks Reserves to deliver twice the unit economics of standard Starbucks locations," he said..."
Wal-Mart, Target Biggest Holiday Ad Spenders
Adweek: "Holiday ad spending has jumped $105.2M in 2016, going from $764.5M last year to $869.7M, according to TV ad tracking company iSpot.tv. The company tracked holiday-related TV advertising from when those ads first began airing on Sept. 4 through to Nov. 28, Cyber Monday... Wal-Mart led the pack again, with an estimated $66.4M in holiday ad spending, although that's down slightly from $67.6M last year. Target, which almost doubled its holiday ad spending from last year, came in second with $49.7M... Coca-Cola increased holiday ad spending by 250%+, from $3M last year to $7.6M in 2016..."
Whole Foods Drops 'Points' from Loyalty Program
SN: "After testing two versions of a loyalty program in separate markets over recent months, Whole Foods Markets appears to have settled on a winner. The retailer informed customers in Philadelphia this week that its nascent Rewards program there — an affinity program where shoppers earned points redeemable for store discounts and events — would be switching to the model it had been testing recently in Dallas, which instead provides “members-only” discounts. [WF] said it made the switch based on customer response indicating shoppers preferred the simplicity of a program that didn’t require tracking and redeeming points..."
Wal-Mart Opens a Second 'Pickup' Store
Denver Post: "Wal-Mart has opened its second Pickup with Fuel store, located in Denver's Thornton suburb. The tiny format (4K square feet) serves as a collection site for online grocery orders, and also offers gas and typical C-store items. W-M has chosen the Denver area to test new efforts before, including its initial forays into online grocery pickup and testing for its grocery delivery program. The first Pickup with Fuel store opened this spring in Huntsville, Ala..."
Acme Plans 14th Philly Store
Philly Voice: Acme Markets will open its 14th store in Philadelphia in summer 2017, in a former ShopRite store on the city's south side. Target is also expanding in Philadelphia, with plans for two new stores.
SN Names Wal-Mart Retailer of the Year
Supermarket News chose Wal-Mart as its 2016 Retailer of the Year because of its dramatic, food-first turnaround "during a year that momentum was tough to come by." The award profile explores the "awakening of the sleeping giant" in detail.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: