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December 1, 2020

Publishing News

Vogue's Harry Styles Issue Sold Out; 2nd Print Run Ordered
NY Post: "Harry Styles’ Vogue cover has been such a sellout, the mag has had to order a rush job on more editions, we’re told. The British pop star, 26, appears in a gown on the cover, to some controversy, but the issue has been such a hit that fans are on waitlists at stores. A Condé Nast source told us, “We [also] sold 40,000 subscriptions since launch a little over a week ago, and have already ordered a second print run.” So, for any doubters, a rock star in a dress definitely sells."

Town & Country Issue Celebrates NYC
Fashion Week Daily: "Town & Country’s December/January issue is celebrating New York City’s rough year with a love letter from some of the town’s most iconic residents. Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, and Branford and Wynton Marsalis share three different covers for the special issue... The issue also features Lady Bunny (interviewed by Mickey Boardman), Bevy Smith, and Sutton Foster. Town & Country hits stands on December 1st."

Entertainment Weekly EIC Exits
NY Post: "The top editor at Entertainment Weekly, JD Heyman, is out, and a search for a successor is underway.“ JD Heyman and Entertainment Weekly/Meredith Corporation have parted ways effective immediately,” a company spokeswoman said. “Meredith thanks JD for his contributions to the EW and People brands over his many years of service. A national search is being conducted to fill the role.” The spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the terse statement. Heyman, who had been the top editor at EW since 2019 and earlier worked at People, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Alex Brex, director of editorial operations for the entertainment and style group, and Tim Leong, deputy editor, creative director at EW, will oversee the editorial operations while the search is underway for a successor, the company said. It has been a bumpy few years for EW. Time spent $150M on the magazine before it became profitable by the end of 1996, turning a six-figure profit for the first time. In its peak years, it was cranking out more than $50M a year in profits. But EW had fallen on hard times more recently. When it was still owned by Time Inc. in 2017, the magazine said it was moving the publication from New York City, where it was launched as a spinoff of People in 1990.By the time EW completed the move to LA, shedding about 20 staffers in the process, Time Inc. had been been sold to Meredith in a $2.8B deal. It was speculated that the parent company wanted to sell EW at the same time that it was putting Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money on the block. But given EW’s close to ties to People, the company was persuaded to hang onto EW. In June 2019, the print edition was cut back from its already curtailed frequency of 34 issues a year to a monthly print edition, which resulted in a further cutback of about a dozen editorial positions. When the move was announced, EW editor Henry Goldblatt, who had supervised the move to LA and pushed to keep the title off the block, resigned. Heyman, the deputy editor of People, was handed the top job."

AllRecipes Sees Record Traffic Over T-Day Weekend
Release: Meredith's Allrecipes site drew 59.6 million visits during Thanksgiving week (Friday-Thursday, Nov. 20-26), up 18.4% YoY, "as people across the country sought advice for making their holiday meals in a different time. The site helped more cooks this Thanksgiving than ever before, with its largest-ever number of visits on both Thanksgiving eve (12.8M, up 14.9% YOY) and Thanksgiving Day (14.3M, up 26.7% YOY)... As people prepared meals for smaller groups, views of recipes for turkey breast were up 96% YOY. In addition to turkey, households prepared whole chickens (recipe views up 150% YOY), prime rib (recipe views up 67% YOY) and salmon (recipe views up 61% YOY). Many new cooks opted to keep it simple, with views of recipes that included the word "basic" in their title up 41% YOY and "beginner" in their title jumping 83% YOY"...

Forecast: Digital Ad Spend To Grow, Print To Stabilize
MediaPost's Rob Williams writes: "The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will weigh on media spending next year. Publishers will feel mixed effects as advertisers seek to reach audiences through digital channels, according to a forecast by WARC. The researcher predicts global ad spending on newspapers will be little changed — $9.8B in 2021, following an expected 26% plunge this year that was the worst performance for the industry in more than 40 years. Magazines also will hold steady, with an expected $4B in spending next year, showing no sign of rebounding from an estimated decline 25% this year, according to WARC. Online display ads will see spending growth of 10%, although social media and online video will drive most of those gains. WARC forecasts that online video will be the fastest-growing format, with spending expected to rise by almost 13%. That spending can be positive for publishers that either sell online ads in video content they produce and host on their own websites, or participate in revenue-sharing arrangements with platforms like Google's YouTube. Online classifieds also will rebound with a 6.7% gain in 2021, partly recovering the 14% drop this year... WARC forecasts that travel and tourism will see the strongest rebound in spending at almost 20% — an optimistic sign that recent news about successful coronavirus vaccines will help bring an end to the pandemic. Ad spending in those industries plunged 34% this year as consumers shunned air travel and health authorities urge people to avoid unnecessary trips. Alcohol brands will boost spending by 19% next year, after pulling back their spending by 29% in 2020.Restaurants and bars bore much of the brunt of the pandemic. If there are signs the health crisis has been contained, on-premise alcohol sales have a chance to bounce back. Total ad spending will rise 6.7% to $594.6B next year, partly offsetting this year's 10% drop to $557.3B, WARC predicts. The ad market will need to grow 4.4% in 2022 to reach the record level of $620.6B from 2019. For publishers, the forecast indicates that print advertising will stabilize, and that they are more likely to see growth in digital advertising including from online video. Not mentioned in the forecast are subscription sales, which have become a key source of revenue growth for publishers as they seek to make up for declining ad revenue. Those pressures are likely to persist as the global economy continues to recover from the pandemic."

Facebook News to Pay U.K. Magazine, Other Media for Content "Facebook will begin paying UK news publishers for some articles with the launch of Facebook News in January. The feature adds a dedicated news tab to the Facebook app, and has already launched in the United States. Facebook said it will "pay publishers for content that is not already on the platform" and prioritize original reporting. It comes after years of tension between Facebook and news publishers, who have often accused it of "stealing" content. But hundreds of UK news outlets are already signed up to deals for the new feature, Facebook said. They include publishers such as Hearst (Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire); the Guardian Media group; regional newspaper giant JPI Media; and the Midland News Association. Facebook said it expects more publishers to join after the launch. The news tab is only available on the mobile app - not in a web browser. But Facebook said its launch in the US has shown it that 95% of the traffic to Facebook News publishers through that tab, are new readers who "have not interacted with those news outlets in the past". That may sound promising for news outlets trying to increase their audience on Facebook, as news accounts for only about 4% of a user's main "news feed". The deals struck between Facebook and publishers are not public, so it is not known how lucrative they could be for struggling news outlets. But previous efforts to bring publishers into the fold have not always been a success. Over the years, Facebook has encouraged news publishers to produce video for its platform and has changed the algorithms that govern its main user feed at the expense of news. It has also tried to drive publishers to use its instant articles feature, which limits advertising and other features of the publisher's website... This initiative crosses a commercial Rubicon. The company has always directed traffic back to publishers, but this is the first time that Facebook will pay news publishers for their work. For more than a decade, the likes of Rupert Murdoch's News UK - as well as many local publishers - have argued that big tech companies carry their content without paying for it, and so act as leeches. This move will begin to weaken that argument. Some of the publishers paid by Facebook will be struggling local titles, dependent for their future on the flattering interest of a Californian tech giant. Yet, as recently as 2018, Mark Zuckerberg said he wouldn't pay publishers for content. This new move is a loud gesture to British regulators, saying Facebook will invest in public goods such as journalism, provided the regulatory environment is favorable."

BookExpo, BookCon Are "Retired"
PW: "U.S. book publishing’s biggest trade show is being “retired,” show organizer ReedPop announced today. BookExpo, along with BookCon and Unbound, will not be held in 2021 after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. ReedPop, the pop culture event–focused subdivision of Reed Exhibitions, said that, given the “continued uncertainty surrounding in-person events at this time,” the company has decided “that the best way forward is to retire the current iteration of events as they explore new ways to meet the community’s needs through a fusion of in-person and virtual events""...


U.S. Media Layoffs Reach Record High (Variety, paid sub req.)

Retail News

T-Day Weekend Sales: Physical Stores Down to 62% on Black Friday
Release: "Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has released data showing Amazon for the first time had the highest share of spend over the Black Friday shopping weekend, which covers Thursday through Sunday. This reflects all retailer banners across fast moving consumer goods channels, eCommerce, apparel and specialty stores. Numerator will release full Cyber Weekend results (Thursday through Monday) by Wednesday. Key findings include: Online made massive gains in Black Friday weekend shopping, moving from 24% share of spend in 2019 to 38% share in 2020. is the big winner, up 7.4 percentage points to 19% of total spend in 2020 (vs. 11.7% in 2019) -- just six weeks post Prime Day. shows growth, up 1.9 points vs. 2019. Other online sites such as, and showed modest increases (up 0.7, 0.3 and 0.2 points, respectively) -- but not enough to offset brick & mortar (B&M) losses. B&m stores dropped to 62% of Black Friday weekend spend from 75% in 2019. Walmart B&M took the largest hit, with a decrease of six percentage points to 9.5% of total spend (down from 15.5% in 2019). Target and Home Depot B&M showed 1.5 and 0.6 point declines in share. Costco B&M held steady. Among large retailers splitting spend between B&M and online, Target led at 36%/64% on/off line followed by Walmart (30%/70%) and Costco (21%/79%). Millennials topped online buying at 47% of spend -- and had the highest generational percent of online spend at all leading dot.coms, except Amazon. However, Gen X made the biggest shift to online, with online share of spend increasing by 15.7 points to 41% of spend -- followed by Millennials with an increase of 14.8 points to 46% of spend, and Boomers with an increase of 12.6 points to 33% of spend. Millennials also drove the largest increases in online spend share at retailer ecommerce sites, except at, where Gen X drove a share increase of 1.5 points. had highest share of spend for every generation except the "Greatest Generation," where it was narrowly eclipsed by Walmart (both B&M and online combined). The largest generational increases at Amazon were with Gen X, Boomers and the Greatest Gen -- with 8.1%, 8.4% and 8.3% point increases respectively. Higher-income consumers spent more online, with 42% of their total spend taking place online, followed by middle income at 37% and low income at 30% of spend online. (High income = >$80k annual income; middle income = $40k-$80k; lower income = <$40k.) Walmart secured the largest share of spend with low-income shoppers, at 18.8% (vs. 13.6% share across all income levels). Amazon secured the largest share with high-income shoppers at 21.9% of spend. Hispanics and Blacks made the biggest shift to online, with share-point increases of 17.8 and 16.5 each--vs. the national increase in online shopping at 13.9 points. Online/offline spend share showed little variance by ethnicity, although consumers identifying as Asian lead with 39.7% of spend online, followed by Hispanic (39%), Black (38.7%) and White/Caucasian (38.4%). Walmart had highest share of spend among white, Black and Hispanic consumers at 14.3%, 13.5% and 13.3% respectively. Costco significantly outperforms among Asians, securing 12.6% of Asian spend while Costco is just 3.3% of total spend nationally. Amazon had highest share of spend among white, Black and Asian at 19.9%, 18.5% and 18.4% respectively."

Hy-Vee Expands Membership Program
Grocery Dive: "Hy-Vee has launched a premium membership program offering perks like free delivery and personal concierge service, the retailer announced Tuesday. Hy-Vee Plus costs $99 a year and will also include express pickup service, additional fuel savings and monthly discounts on products like groceries, footwear and apparel. Members of Hy-Vee’s Aisles Online e-commerce program will automatically upgrade to the Plus program without additional costs or changes to their service. Hy-Vee’s membership program comes on the heels of Walmart+ as well as e-commerce membership programs from Kroger and Albertsons as retailers look for ways to secure omnichannel loyalty and offer a response to Amazon’s mega-popular Prime membership...

CVS Pharmacy Names Neela Montgomery President
SN: "Former Crate & Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery has taken the helm as president of CVS Pharmacy, the nation’s biggest drugstore chain. CVS Health said Montgomery started as EVP and president of CVS Pharmacy/Retail effective yesterday and will oversee the company’s more than 9,900 retail locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. She takes over from CVS Health Executive VP and COOs Jon Roberts, who had been serving as interim CVS Pharmacy president since the January departure of Kevin Hourican, who became president/CEO of foodservice distributor Sysco. Montgomery will report directly to Karen Lynch, who earlier this month was named as the next CEO of CVS Health. Currently executive VP at CVS Health and president of its Aetna health insurance subsidiary, Lynch will become CEO effective Feb. 1, succeeding Larry Merlo, who is retiring"...

Stop & Shop to Hire 5,000
SN: "Amid a pandemic and an ongoing omnichannel transformation, Stop & Shop aims to fill more than 5,000 jobs across its stores, distribution centers and e-commerce operations. The Ahold Delhaize USA chain said Tuesday that openings include store roles in bakery, deli, grocery, seafood, produce, the front end, night crew and online pickup. Also being hired are home delivery drivers and shoppers as well as selectors at distribution centers. Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop said the available positions are permanent and are located across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where the retailer operates more than 400 stores. The 5,000 new jobs come on top of another 5,000 positions announced at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March, Stop & Shop noted. Overall, the chain said it has invested more than $121 million in its workforce during the pandemic, including extended health care and leave benefits, access to PPE and other safety measures... As Ahold Delhaize’s largest retail business, Stop & Shop is a linchpin of the company’s omnichannel growth plan. In 2020 and 2021, the Zaandam, Netherlands-based retailer aims to expand its U.S. online capacity by nearly 100%, including doubling its number of click-and-collect sites from the start of 2020 to 1,400 by 2021. U.S. online sales surged 114.7% to $583 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 27. Ahold Delhaize also is accelerating Stop & Shop’s store upgrade program. In 2021, 60 more Stop & Shop locations will be remodeled, adding to the 30 remodels expected to be completed this year"...

Kroger Plans 10th Ocado Automated Warehouse
SN: "The Kroger Co. has named the South as a new region for an Ocado customer fulfillment center (CFC) to fill online grocery orders. Kroger has not yet specified the location of the new facility, which will measure 200,000 square feet, but said construction is slated to begin in 2021. The Cincinnati-based supermarket giant said it’s also working with Ocado to roll out in-store fulfillment technology across Kroger stores starting next year. Plans call for Kroger’s first Ocado CFC to open in Monroe, Ohio, in early 2021. Most recently, in late September, Kroger identified Romulus, Mich., as a CFC site, one of three new Ocado facilities that had been announced for the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West. So far, Kroger hasn’t named the locations of the other two sites. Overall, Kroger has announced 10 CFCs. Compared with previously announced facilities, which are around 350,000 square feet, the latest CFCs will be smaller. Kroger said the CFCs will measure about 300,000 square feet in the West and 200,000 square feet in the Pacific Northwest. At 135,000 square feet, the Romulus CFC is the smallest announced to date"...

Is Cashierless Tech Ready for Prime Time?
The pandemic has juiced demand for automated checkout systems, and retailers are having positive experiences with them, but the technology still has to prove itself over the long term. Grocery Dive examines the pros and cons in-depth.



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