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January 20, 2017

Publishing News

ASME Names Ellie Award Finalists
MIN: "The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) revealed today via live Twitter-cast the finalists for the 2017 National Magazine Awards — otherwise known as The Ellies--to be revealed at a New York gala hosted by NBC’s Lester Holt on the eve of the annual American Magazine Media Conference. The five finalists for Magazine of the Year are The California Sunday Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Mother Jones, New York, and The New Yorker. This is the fifth straight Magazine of the Year nomination for Adam Moss-led New York magazine, which also won the top honor in 2013. It’s the second-straight nomination (and third overall) for The New Yorker, which added a pair of Pulitzer Prizes to its trophy case last year. Cosmopolitan was previously nominated in 2015; The California Sunday Magazine and Mother Jones are newcomers. A Magazine of the Year nomination for The California Sunday Magazine is particularly intriguing given the weekly newspaper insert’s youth relative to its co-finalists. Founded in 2014, the magazine won the Ellie for Photography at last year’s awards, beating out the likes of National Geographic, New York, Vanity Fair, and WSJ. Both New York and The New Yorker were also nominated for General Excellence in the News, Sports, and Entertainment category, which New York took home last year. They’re joined by Bloomberg Businessweek, GQ, and ESPN the Magazine. This is an awards program that has, in recent years, been dominated by New York magazine, which for the fourth straight year earned more nominations (nine) than any other title..." See link to MPA release below for the full finalists' list.

Forbes Intros Geo and Audience Targeting for Brand Content
MMG Global reports that Forbes Media is to begin allowing advertisers to target digital content campaigns at tailored audiences, including segmentation by geography, company and job title. The company claims to be the first international publisher to connect its content management system to an ad server, allowing BrandVoice content--made by the brand or by Forbes’ own in-house studio--to be aimed at clearly defined audiences. Brands can select the ideal target audience from factors such as employer, geography, job function and purchase behavior, and that content will only be promoted to those individuals – although it can still be discovered organically by other Forbes readers...Forbes chief revenue officer Mark Howard said marketers in Europe and Asia had increasingly expressed a preference for targeting specific countries and regions, rather than the publisher’s entire global audience. Business-to-business brands also favour an account-based marketing approach, he added..."

Hunsinger Leaving Conde After 36 Years
WWD: "Peter Hunsinger is leaving the company after 36 years of service. The news was delivered late Thursday via a memo from chief business officer and president of revenue Jim Norton, who said Hunsinger is moving on to a marketing role at a consumer goods start-up. Hunsinger served as chief revenue officer of Golf Digest since 2011, but has held various roles at Condé Nast, including vice president and publisher of GQ. He also held publisher roles at Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and Gourmet. Hunsinger also served as president of the Condé Nast Bridal Group, and prior to that role, he was executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Condé Nast. Norton offered: “To say he has contributed to Condé Nast over the years is a wild understatement--by all accounts, Pete has been a tireless and passionate advocate for our company and brands and he will be greatly missed'"...

More on Time Inc.'s Sales, Marketing Restructuring
MediaPost: "Time Inc. has reorganized its sales and marketing team again to deepen the company's commitment to sell advertising based on category instead of magazine title. The shakeup is the first big move by Chief Revenue Officer Brad Elders since he was promoted from president of digital sales, when Mark Ford stepped down in December. The restructuring will result in 30 staffers leaving the company, including six senior sales and marketing executives. Some took voluntary packages; others were let go when their positions were eliminated. Karen Kovacs and Greg Schumann have both been named group president of sales, working across brands and categories to oversee all category, digital and brand revenue. The digital sales team that Elders previously led will now be embedded in the new structure, according to a memo from Elders. Andrew Reedman and Thu Phan Rodriguez will report to Kovacs and Schumann, respectively, to drive overall digital revenue. Kovacs will oversee the beauty, entertainment and fashion/retail categories and the entertainment, style, multicultural, fashion and lifestyle brands. Schumann will oversee the automotive, financial services, home, pharmaceuticals, tech/telecommunications and travel categories and the sports, news, finance and luxury brands. Time Inc. is also adding five new categories to their oversight. Kovacs’ team will handle entertainment and fashion, while Schumann's will service government/industry, home and travel categories. These shifts are adjustments to Time Inc.’s reorganization of its business side, which began last year. The company eliminated the publisher role to have sellers in each group work across magazine brands, as well as platforms. “Change is never easy,” Elders stated, adding that the changes will allow the company "the acceleration of our digital advertising business, keep our brands at the core of everything we do, and, most importantly, collaboratively deliver the best solutions to our customers to drive business results on their behalf.” In addition, Susan Parkes, who previously oversaw brand marketing, has been named SVP of advertising and brand marketing to create one cohesive marketing team. Greg Giangrande is now chief communications and human resources officer, combining corporate communications and PR..."

NPD Buys Nielsen's Book Market Tracking, Research Services
PW: "The market research firm NPD Group has acquired Nielsen’s U.S. market information and research services for the book industry. The acquisition includes the U.S.-based BookScan, PubTrack Digital, PubTrack Higher Education, PubTrack Christian, Books & Consumers, PubEasy, and PubNet services. Nielsen will continue to own Nielsen Book outside of the U.S. in nine countries and will also continue to provide operations support for NPD BookScan and the related U.S. services during a transition period. The Nielsen properties will form the core of NPD Book, a new practice for NPD, which already offers market research and business solutions for more than 20 industries. Jonathan Stolper, senior v-p and global managing director for Nielsen Book, has been appointed president of NPD Book and all U.S.-based Nielsen Book employees have been offered the opportunity to join the NPD Book team. 'Industry expertise is a hallmark of NPD, and we are excited to add services for the book industry,' said Karyn Schoenbart, president and COO of NPD. 'Like many of our industries, publishing is experiencing rapid and dramatic change. By combining data and industry expertise, we will be able to give the industry a winning advantage in understanding and anticipating trends.'"

Chinese Investors Take Over IDG
NY Post: " International Data Group, the company founded by the late billionaire Pat McGovern, has sold the majority stake to China Oceanwide Holdings. Following McGovern’s death in 2014, the company was controlled by the McGovern estate with proceeds going to the McGovern Foundation which funded brain cancer research. IDG’s investment arm, IDG Capital, which counts Accel Partners and Breyer Capital as limited partners, is a minority stakeholder in the new ownership. China Oceanwide is headed by billionaire Lu Zhiqiang. At one point, IDG Capital and Oceanwide were both bidding against each other for the publisher. But at the suggestion of Goldman Sachs, which represented the McGovern estate, the two decided to do a combined bid. Hugo Shong, the IDG Capital boss and a longtime IDG executive and protégé of McGovern, is expected to be named chairman of the new joint venture, sources tell Media Ink. The existing management structure is expected to stay largely in place with headquarters in Boston..."

Women’s March on Washington Raises Ethical Questions for Magazines
WWD: "For media outlets, the [Women’s March in Washington on Saturday], which is expected to attract up to 200,000 people, is a big story, as much a part of the inauguration as the pomp and circumstance...Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, Vice, Glamour, GQ, The New York Times, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News are all sending teams of reporters, photographers and videographers to document the march..." Reporters from New York magazine's The Cut, Wired, W and Allure will be there to cover it, and "around 25 reporters from a number of brands" will also be there, says a Hearst Magazines spokesman. "As more and more outlets attempt to cover the new political and cultural reality, magazine websites and digital publications are now struggling with the journalistic questions that newspapers have been grappling with for generations. 'It’s not an easy thing for a fashion magazine to cover an election,' a letter from Elle explained in November. 'It’s not that we were out of practice covering rapid-fire politics; it’s that we’d never obtained the practice that is built into the metabolism of a newspaper or TV station.' The march raises the question of whether journalists who are not covering it should attend as private citizens. Among the outlets WWD reached out to, The New York Times, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed...are not allowing their reporters to attend unless they are on assignment. That policy, according to Andrew Seaman, the ethics chair for the Society of Professional Journalists, adheres to journalistic guidelines in SPJ’s Code of Ethics...'The guidance is especially important for any journalist who reports on politics and topics adjacent to politics,” says Seaman"--citing the importance of impartiality, and the appearance of impartiality as well.


Retail News

Save-A-Lot Pulling Out of West Coast
SN: "Save-A-Lot’s great Western expansion is coming to an end. The company on Friday said it would be closing all 13 of its existing stores in California and Nevada and the distribution center servicing them, saying the discounter would be better served by investing in areas where its brand equity is already well-established. Under previous owner Supervalu and its then-CEO Sam Duncan, the West Coast was seen as an area of great opportunity for Save-A-Lot. But Eric Claus, now helming the company under its new owner the private equity firm Onex, told SN in an exclusive interview Friday that the investment required to build brand equity and store density there would be better deployed on initiatives where the discounter is better established. 'I don’t want to fault any predecessor but sometimes things just don’t work out, and in assessing our portfolio of stores, between California and Nevada we have 13 stores and a DC in a very distant and difficult market to grow in, and we’ve got another 1,400 stores from Colorado to the East served by distribution centers with a lot of room to grow. Given where we are, it’s just not an investment that makes a lot of sense for us.' Going out of business sales at the affected stores--four in greater Las Vegas and nine in Southern California, began Friday. The stores are expected to close in a matter of weeks. Twelve of the 13 stores are corporately owned. Save-A-Lot is working with the one affected California licensee on a transition plan, Claus said. As previously reported, Save-A-Lot’s expansion in California was tied to Supervalu’s plans to spin off the discounter to a publicly traded company. The spinoff however was not successful, and Supervalu wound up selling the company to Toronto-based private investor Onex last fall for $1.4B..."

Ahold Delhaize Reports Mixed Q4 U.S. Sales Results
SN: "Despite what the company called a solid holiday season particularly for Stop & Shop stores in New England, Ahold USA’s banners experienced a slight drop in comp-store sales during Q4, parent Ahold Delhaize said Thursday. Comp-store sales at Delhaize America’s Food Lion and Hannaford banners increased by 2.2% in the same period, the company added. Both of Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. divisions faced food price deflation in the quarter, with Ahold USA experiencing 1.2% deflation vs. same period year ago, and Ahold Delhaize seeing 1.7% deflation. The figures were included in a trading statement issued ahead of full financial results, which the company will issue March 1. Ahold USA divisions (Stop & Shop-New England and Stop & Shop-Metro New York; Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover) saw sales of about $6B U.S. for the quarter, up 0.7% on a pro forma basis, and adjusted for a 53rd week in 2015 and for constant currency rates. Delhaize America sales of US$4.2B with the same adjustments increased by 2%. Ahold has struggled to move the needle on the sales in the Northeast on competition from companies like Wakefern/ShopRite, BJ’s Wholesale and Demoulas Market Basket, industry consultant Burt P. Flickinger told SN in an interview this week. Ahold USA increased its market share in all regions but for metro New York, which benefited in last year’s fourth quarter from A&P store closings. Hannaford and Food Lion 'grew volumes significantly,' in the quarter, the company added, citing the October completion of Food Lion store renovations in the Charlotte, N.C. market, driving positive customer response especially in fresh. Worldwide, Ahold Delhaize grew quarterly net sales by 2.8% to 15.1 billion euros (about $16.1B U.S.) on a pro forma basis, at constant exchange rates and adjusted for a 53rd week in 2015. For the full year 2016, pro forma net sales reached 62.3B euros, up 3.4% at constant exchange rates and adjusted for week 53 in 2015. Online sales, which includes Peapod in the U.S. and e-commerce operations in Europe, grew by 15.3% in the quarter and 19.4% for the year. The company reiterated that it expected profits for the full year would be broadly in line with its performance in the first three quarters of the year."

ShopRite Supermarkets Names New President
SN: "Brett Wing has been named president of ShopRite Supermarkets (SRS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wakefern Food Corp., which operates 34 ShopRite stores, effective immediately. Wing will guide day-to-day operations and strategy planning for ShopRite stores in the Hudson Valley and Capital regions of New York state and New Jersey. He replaces Dave Figurelli, who retired after 15 years with the company. Wing joined SRS in 2015 and most recently served as EVP. He was previously VP of the FoodMaxx division of Save Mart Supermarkets and also served a 25-year tenure with Cub Foods where he worked in different capacities across the country..."

Target Promotes Gomez to Chief Marketer
Minn. Star-Tribune reports that Target Corp. has promoted Rick Gomez to become its new chief marketer, "a key role at the Minneapolis-based retailer that puts a premium on cultivating a hip image. Gomez, who has been with Target since 2013 and is currently a senior vice president, will start in the position on Jan. 29. He has big shoes to fill. He replaces Jeff Jones, who was Target’s chief marketing officer for four years before being tapped last summer to become president of Uber. During his tenure, Jones pushed Target to be more innovative. He also was a prominent figure in helping the company pick itself back up after a data breach in 2013 and the ouster of its previous CEO in May 2014. Jones himself succeeded Michael Francis, a legendary marketer who is often credited with creating Target’s cheap-chic persona. Gomez has been behind some of Target’s splashier initiatives, including its live music video with Gwen Stefani during the 2016 Grammy’s telecast and the marketing behind Target’s wildly successful Lilly Pulitzer designer collaboration in spring 2015. He has also been a big advocate of the retailer’s renewed efforts to conduct deeper customer research to help inform its strategies to drive growth in Target’s key categories of baby, kids, style and wellness...

Retailers Turn to Silicon Valley to Lure Customers
WSJ reports that "in the age of Inc., other retailers are scrambling to find a way to keep consumers shopping on their sites and in stores... With online pricing and inventory easily accessible, consumers are increasingly becoming brand and retailer agnostic. So retailers are turning to Silicon Valley for everything from artificial intelligence to data [and facial recognition] to draw consumers in" and leverage personalization to the max.
Wall St. Journal (paid sub req.)

Amazon Looking to Bring Shopping Experiences into VR
TechCrunch: "Amazon has stayed relatively silent on the topic of VR-based e-commerce and the VR platform in general, especially as fellow tech titans like Facebook and Google have devoted so many resources to virtual reality. However, the company has been looking to embrace VR content. Last month the company hired former Tribeca Film Festival head Genna Terranova to oversee VR projects at the company’s studio. Now it appears Amazon is looking to bring VR into the shopping experience. A recent job posting shows that the company is looking for a creative director of VR to “envision the future of Amazon’s VR solutions,” Variety reports"...

In Canada, Whole Foods Faces Opportunities, Challenges
SN: "Whole Foods still faces a price-image challenge in Canada that may be contributing to a recent cutback in store-opening plans, but it likely has opportunities north of the border in the long term, local observers said. [WF] recently confirmed that it would not open previously planned stores in Calgary and Edmonton, both in a Central Canadian region where the economy has been hard-hit by the drop in oil prices in the last two years. 'Whole Foods is probably wisely reallocating its capital, because these are really tough markets now, especially for retailers appealing to more affluent consumers,” said Bruce Winder, cofounder of Retail Advisors Network, Toronto. [WF] is 'committed to expanding in Canada' and is moving forward with planned store openings in Toronto and North Vancouver in 2017, Beth Krauss, a spokeswoman for the company, told SN. Whole Foods, which entered Canada in 2002, currently has 12 stores in the country--six in the Vancouver area, five in the Toronto area and one in Ottawa. In 2013, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said he hoped to open 40 stores in Canada and generate sales of $1B, but did not give a timeline. The Vancouver and Toronto markets hold ongoing potential for Whole Foods, said Binder..."

Dollar General's Planned Expansion Is All in U.S.
CNBC: "Wal-Mart may have 20 times as many employees, but Dollar General has more stores and all of them are in the U.S. The company has also been clear that it intends to continue an expansion spree that included about 900 new stores and 900 remodeled or relocated stores in 2016. According to executives, returns on those new locations have been strong, and even more are planned for 2017. "In 2017, we plan to accelerate our square footage to about 7.5%," CEO Todd Vasos said on the company's December earnings call. "Our 2017 pipeline is essentially complete as we continue to plan for about 1,000 new store openings." Analysts expect the company's capital expenditures in 2017 to increase by about 7% to more than $600m. Even if each new store requires only a handful of employees, the investments being made by Dollar General could create thousands of new jobs. A company representative did not return a request for comment on the plan..."


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