New York Media Offers Digital Subs Across 6 Sites
MediaPost: "New York magazine is joining a growing number of publishers putting up paywalls to grow consumer-driven revenue, limit access to digital content to paying subscribers and lessen reliance on advertising. A dynamic metered paywall will reach across all of New York Media’s sites, including nymag.com and its standalone verticals Vulture, the Cut, Intelligencer, the Strategist and Grub Street, starting later this month. Subscriptions will cost $5 a month. For $70 a year, digital subscriptions will include the biweekly New York print magazine. A dynamic metered paywall--as opposed to a static paywall, which allows readers to access a set number of articles for free before they are asked to subscribe--means readers will be prompted to subscribe based on a combination of factors. Those include 'the types of stories they read, depth of visits in a particular vertical and breadth of use of the sites. They will be alerted as they approach the limit of free articles,' according to New York Media. 'We want to allow for discovery and exploration of our sites, while putting a value on the journalism we produce,' stated CEO Pam Wasserstein. 'We’re aiming to separate casual browsers from super fans, and forge a deeper relationship with those fans who are passionate about what we do.' Dow Jones, parent of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s, claims its flexible paywall helped it grow to 3M paying subscribers. New York Media says its sites publish about 150 stories each day. A new nymag.com homepage will launch with the subscription product. It will 'better showcase content from across the New York Media network,' with a new navigation to 'reinforce connections between brands,' according to the publisher. New York Media claims it has a global audience of 45M monthly readers per month. Existing New York magazine print subscribers will receive access to the digital product for free. Publishers from The Atlantic to Vanity Fair have recently established paywalls to grow subscription revenue in the face of an uncertain digital advertising environment. In August, WSJ reported that New York Media was exploring a sale. Wasserstein told The New York Times she is in contact with interested parties."
CNE's Interim President and Conde's Comms Chief Leaving
Variety: Sahar Elhabashi, who had been serving as interim president of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) since her former boss, Dawn Ostroff, left the chief role at CNE to become chief content officer at Spotify, will join Spotify as chief content officer as of Dec. 10. "Sources said her role at the music-streaming service will be similar to her EVP/chief operating officer position at Condé Nast Entertainment, where she was Ostroff’s business partner as the two of them built the CNE division from scratch. A Condé Nast rep said the company plans to announce a new head of CNE shortly. Elhabashi joined CNE as COO in April 2012, after serving as chief operating officer of Discovery Networks International. Prior to joining Discovery in September 2007, she had worked at Viacom’s MTV Networks for 15 years, most recently as EVP of strategy and digital media for MTV Networks International. Earlier in her career, Elhabashi was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and an analyst at Salomon Brothers"... WWD reports that Cameron Blanchard, Condé Nast’s chief communications officer, is also leaving. Blanchard joined Condé three years ago from NBC Universal, after more than 20 years there. "Although it sounds like Blanchard already has another gig lined up, she declined to specify and declined to give a statement. She is being succeeded by Joe Libonati, previously VP communications, who has been with the publisher for about six years and is also an alum of NBC Universal. Bob Sauerberg, president and CEO of Condé, noted that Libonati 'is a big part' of how the company is communicating its change 'into a full-fledged media company.'"
Harper's Bazaar Launches Video-Driven Beauty Week
Glossy.co: "In the last year, Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar has seen an uptick in its video programming and business, specifically in the beauty category. The title is responding accordingly: On Monday, it will debut its first-ever Bazaar Beauty Week, featuring curated video content series. Hosted by HarpersBazaar.com senior beauty editor Jenna Rosenstein, Bazaar Beauty Week will feature five daily videos that will live on its site and YouTube. The videos--which include appearances by “Pretty Little Liars'” Shay Mitchell (who is also Buxom Cosmetics’ global creative brand ambassador); Charlotte Cho, founder of Korean beauty e-commerce site Soko Glam; and makeup artist and Mally Beauty founder Mally Roncal--also features product reviews by Rosenstein. It will be promoted via social media, where Harper’s Bazaar has 3.6M followers on Instagram and 4M followers on Facebook. The increase of the title’s beauty video content speaks to larger trends for the site. Bazaar.com’s traffic is up considerably: 61% YoY, to 12M unique visitors, according to September comScore data, and beauty is its top driver. (Meanwhile, its print circulation has remained flat, with a circulation rate base of 750,000.) According to the brand, its digital beauty content has been responsible for over 30M page views in 2018. In step, the site has experimented with beauty videos more heavily and seen engagement increase, explained Rosenstein"...
AMI Cuts 17 Staff Across titles
NY Post's Page Six reports that on Friday, American Media Inc. cut 17 staff across its titles, "including multidecade employees... Top brass said that it made 22 freelancers into staffers, calling it a net gain in staff. An AMI spokesperson said, 'AMI continues to integrate the brands, and staffs, from the Bauer acquisition and is focused on developing the most talented teams possible to ensure the continued growth and success of all of our celebrity brands.'" AMI acquired In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Closer from Bauer this year, and Us Weekly from Wenner Media last year.
Women's Health, Bespoke Post Launch Subscription Box
WWD: "Bespoke Post, a subscription and e-commerce service for men, is partnering with Women’s Health magazine for a limited-edition holiday box for women called Unplug.This is the third women’s-only initiative for the brand and it is being targeted not only to women, but also to the company’s male customers as an opportunity to purchase gifts for the women in their lives. The association with the magazine, however, allows Bespoke Post to offer what it is calling “an editorially curated box themed around self-care and creating a restorative night in.”“One of our goals at Women’s Health is to elevate your everyday routine with little moments that nourish your body and soul,” said Women’s Health editor has in chief, Liz Plosser… The box will be featured in the December issue of the magazine, which will be on newsstands on Nov. 20. It will include products valued at more than $105, featuring a Serene House essential oil diffuser and peppermint essential oil, Etiquette cashmere merino socks, Live 24K Golden Fuel turmeric-collagen blend “golden mylk” and Latika Soap lavender fizzy bath bomb.It will sell for $45 for Bespoke Post members and $55 for nonmembers. Women’s Health readers receive a 10 percent discount by entering a special code at checkout. The box is available on the Bespoke Post web site"...
Esquire U.K. Reduces Frequency
WWD: "Esquire U.K. has become the latest title to re-launch, downsize frequency and transform into a lifestyle brand. The men’s magazine will switch from a monthly to a bi-monthly, with the six annual issues having a cover price of 6 pounds starting from February. The current price is 4.35 pounds. According to Hearst U.K., the re-launch will enhance Esquire’s 'luxury positioning by introducing a cleaner, more modern aesthetic, a bigger format, better quality paper stock, increased paginations, and new sections and contributions.' Hearst U.K. added it plans to double its market spend for the men’s title and invest in a series of events known as Esquire Evenings, which will include supper clubs, panels and master classes across London. 'In a time of transformational change for media, it is right for Esquire itself to change to ensure we will be the men’s magazine brand of decades to come. The new-look Esquire is a tightly focused, proudly niche, highly specialized product, made to the most exacting standards,' said Esquire editor-in-chief Alex Bilmes. In a bid to strengthen its reader relations, Hearst will also funnel money into other projects, such as art and design exhibitions, and expand its product collaborations under The Esquire Edit series of product collaborations that launched this earlier this year. Esquire’s website and social media channels will also get a refresh, and content will focus on luxury, style and culture. 'These innovations are driven by our deep audience insight and designed to drive Esquire even further into the luxury market. The new-look magazine celebrates the unique experience of luxury in print, the Esquire web site will provide consumers with engaging content in a format to suit their everyday lives,' said Alun Williams, managing director of men’s lifestyle at Hearst U.K."
At Glamour Event, WaPo Editor Addresses Khashoggi's Murder
WWD: "Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year conference was about action, with MeToo, a theme of last year, going virtually unmentioned... The first event under editor-in-chief Samantha Barry [was] a day of panels and speeches by notable women... The audience of roughly 500 women, along with a few men, most of whom paid somewhere between $200 and $300 to be there (putting ticket revenue for the day in the neighborhood of $150,000) nodded when Karen Attiah, global opinion editor of The Washington Post, talked about how she felt as a black woman in media and also as the editor of the late Saudi journalist and Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who was apparently murdered last month in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Turkey. “I’m still coping,' Attiah said of Khashoggi’s death. 'It’s not just an attack on journalism, it’s an attack on The Washington Post and anyone who believes in being able to be free to speak your mind. It’s tough.' Barry asked how Attiah turned the Khashoggi tragedy into what’s become a death that’s resonated widely, during a time when so much bad news is tuned out and so many journalists are being detained and threatened around the world. 'We’re told [in journalism] to separate ourselves and not be in the story and this was something that was personal to us--a friend of mine was killed and I think it was to try and put that human face on it… it’s unacceptable to be butchered in a diplomatic building,' Attiah said. 'We’re still screaming about it and we’re not going to stop'"... Article also summarizes other speaker highlights.
Conde, Meredith Offered As Examples of Media Cos Working With Brands
Adweek's Dan Tynan describes the ambitious diversification/brand partnership efforts at the New York Times, Condé Nast and Meredith, among other publishers. Excerpts: "The Times is no longer just a newspaper and a website. It’s a sponsored content agency and a film studio. It’s an events and conference business. With the acquisition of HelloSociety in March 2016, it became an influencer marketing firm. And, increasingly, the Times is a strategic consultant for the brands that appear in its pages. Those changes necessitated an equally dramatic shift in the Times’s culture. While editorial integrity remains the hallmark of the organization, says [Sebastian Tomich, global head of advertising and marketing solutions for the Times]. There’s a lot more communication between the edit and ad sides of the house. And when the Times goes on a sales call, everybody comes along for the ride... Last month, Condé Nast announced a top-to-bottom restructuring of its ad sales team, splitting it into three divisions based on its culture, style and lifestyle titles. Condé is consolidating research, events, sales and ad operations under a single chief revenue officer. Last week the iconic magazine publisher launched its own creative agency, CNX. It had already announced plans to create over-the-top video channels for Wired, GQ and Bon Appétit. Condé expects to be less dependent on ad revenue going forward. In an interview with Adweek, CEO Bob Sauerberg said advertising would account for half of Condé's future revenue, instead of the usual 70%... Like the Times and Condé Nast, Meredith is diversifying its revenue streams, says the president of Meredith Digital, Stan Pavlovsky. The publisher is the world’s second-largest brand licensor (behind Disney), offering items like Better Homes and Gardens furnishings and EatingWell frozen foods. 'We have 10 direct-to-consumer offerings and drive hundreds of millions in retail sales via ecommerce and affiliate relationships,' Pavlovsky says... The biggest driver of these changes is the dominance of programmatic advertising, says Raju Narisetti, former CEO of Gizmodo Media Group, now a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Machines can match ads to audiences with greater efficiency and at much lower cost, while at the same time providing incontrovertible evidence for which campaigns are the most effective.This year, advertisers will spend $46B on programmatic ads, according to eMarketer. By 2020, more than 85 percent of display and nearly 80% of video ads will be bought via automated channels. Of course, more than 60% of digital ad revenue still fill the coffers of Google, Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Amazon... As a result, publishers and broadcasters have been forced to diversify their revenue streams... Matthew Gay, head of advertising and marketing solutions for Accenture. 'I think they’re getting serious about retooling their workforce,' he says. 'They’re getting rid of people who have been doing things a certain way and finding people they can retrain to operate in ‘the new.’ Media companies need their teams to act less like salespeople and more like problem-solving consultants, says Gay. 'Whether or not media companies want to admit it, a large part of their business has been order taking,' he adds. 'There’s still a lot of ‘buy this’ or ‘I’m selling that.’ Salespeople need to understand how their media company’s ad products can solve the needs of their customers'... If the transition from print and over-the-air broadcasts to digital has been challenging, that’s nothing compared to mobile.Nearly three-quarters of audience engagement happens via mobile devices, says Narisetti. But most media firms still get the lion’s share of their digital revenue from desktop because there’s more room for ads.“The growing gap between where your audience is and where your digital revenue comes from is a challenge that’s not easy to solve,' he says. 'That’s why you don’t hear media companies talk about mobile revenue; you just hear them talk about mobile audiences.' The good news? Because people check their phones an average of 80 times a day--nearly twice as often if they’re millennials--mobile provides many more opportunities for advertisers to grab people’s attention, says Narisetti. Now they just need to figure out how.One thing holding back monetization of mobile is the lack of a standard way to measure video consumption across multiple platforms, says Catherine Sullivan, president of U.S. investment for Omnicom Media Group. OpenAP, introduced in 2017, is a collaborative effort from Fox, Turner and Viacom to create an independent way to measure cross-platform targeting. But adoption has been slow"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Amazon Picks NYC, Northern Virginia for HQ2
WSJ: Today, Amazon officially announced that it has chosen its HQ2 locations: "it will invest $5B across the two new offices that will each have more than 25,000 employees in New York City’s Long Island City and in Arlington, Va., at the National Landing area, which encompasses Crystal City and is located in the Washington, D.C., metro area. The company also said it would create a new operations center in Nashville with more than 5,000 jobs. Amazon split HQ2 in half between New York and Northern Virginia in part because it wanted to recruit enough of the best tech talent... Amazon’s move to New York pits it against rival Google, which is gearing up for its own expansion in the city... The District of Columbia area, which had three locations among the finalists including Crystal City, was considered a leading candidate in part because Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has a second home there and owns the Washington Post"...
CEO of Walmart's Flipkart Resigns After 'Misconduct' Probe
CNBC: "The head of Walmart's Indian venture Flipkart Group, Binny Bansal, has resigned following a internal probe into 'serious personal misconduct,' Walmart said on Tuesday, and two people familiar with the matter said it involved an accusation of sexual assault. The departure of Bansal, 37, one of India's new generation of young, tech-savvy billionaires, is a setback for Walmart's efforts to compete with Amazon.com in India's huge consumer market. Walmart has said it may float Flipkart publicly within the next four years. Bansal's departure follows that of co-founder and former Amazon colleague Sachin Bansal, who left when the deal was sealed"...
Costco, Publix, H-E-B Among Top-Rated Workplaces for Veterans
PG: "Costco Wholesale, H.E. Butt Grocery Co. and Publix Super Markets have been identified as Top-Rated Workplaces for Veterans in an inaugural list from Austin, Texas-based global job site Indeed, ranking Nos. 4, 5 and 37 out of 50 companies. Convenience store operator Wawa came in 42nd in the ranking.To come up with the list, Indeed analyzed veterans’ reviews of their workplaces, and then reviewed company workplace initiatives to support vets"...
Stater Bros. Expands to Pasadena
PG: "Stater Bros. Markets is debuting its first store in Pasadena, Calif. The grand-opening ceremony will take place on Nov. 14 at 8 a.m. This is the company's 14th store in the San Gabriel Valley and 26th location in Los Angeles County. The new store is led by Christy Gragg, who has more than 28 years of service with the San Bernardino, Calif.-based privately owned retailer... Stater Bros. operates 171 stores in southern California." Article details new store's offerings.
Once Online-Only Brands to Open 850 Physical Stores
Forbes contributor Greg Maloney writes: "JLL Research recently put out a report noting that the top 100 digital-native brands they looked at have announced plans for at least 850 stores over the next five years. Leading the charge are mattress retailer Casper, which will open 200 stores, and women’s intimates retailer Adore Me, which is planning 300 additional stores. But it’s not just sheer volume of store fleet, but also store size that some of these retailers are after. Allbirds, the wool sneaker company, recently opened a 4,800-sq.-ft. New York flagship in SoHo as a launch to its store expansion, which will consist of opening additional stores in four other cities next year alone"...
Retailers Jostle for Lead in Online Grocery
SN: "Amazon’s pricing edge in online grocery is narrowing as Walmart and subsidiary Jet.com have closed the gap. Meanwhile, Walmart has eclipsed Amazon in e-grocery shopper share, and supermarkets and other food stores have increased their online customers. And not to be left out is Target, which is more than holding its own in providing an omnichannel grocery experience versus Walmart and Kroger. E-commerce analyst Profitero, in its latest “Price Wars” report, found Jet.com and Walmart the lowest in price relative to Amazon in online grocery. The study had Jet at a price index of just 0.6% higher than Amazon, while Walmart was 2.5% higher. For the online price competitiveness analysis, Boston-based Profitero examined pricing of 100,000 products in 15 categories from April to June at a range of leading retailers. During the period, no retailers beat Amazon on grocery. Target was the most expensive of the major retailers studied in grocery, with prices 8.4% more than Amazon’s, Profitero reported. Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket operator, had e-grocery pricing 8% higher than Amazon’s during the period. Grocery prices in comparison with Amazon were 17% more via Instacart and 27.8% more on CVS.com.In comparison with the February study, Target’s prices rose 2% in the latest period analyzed. And while Profitero also saw Walmart’s online grocery prices increase since its previous study, Jet’s prices decreased 5% in that time. 'Based on our latest data, it’s clear that Amazon is the best-priced retailer across the broadest selection of products,' stated study author Keith Anderson, SVP product strategy and insights at Profitero. 'That said, for those willing to spend the time, deals can still be found in price-competitive categories like baby, pet and beauty products.' Walmart, however, is starting to win over more e-grocery customers, according to consumer research firm Retail Feedback Group. RFG’s 2018 U.S. Online Grocery Shopper Study, released this month and based on a survey of 760 consumers, has Walmart with a 33% share of online grocery shoppers, up from 26% in 2017. That moved the retail giant past Amazon, which saw its e-grocery shopper share drop from 36% last year to 31% this year. Supermarkets/food stores also garnered more online customers, with their share rising to 26% from 24% a year ago. Yet Amazon draws more repeat usage from online grocery shoppers. Sixty-one percent said they shop at Amazon more than five times, and 28% do so two to five times. That compares with 41% more than five times and 42% two to five times at Walmart, and 42% over five times and 34% two to five times at supermarkets/food stores, Profitero’s report said.Seventy-three percent of respondents said they’re highly likely to recommended Amazon’s online grocery offering, just behind Instacart at 74% but ahead of Walmart (67%) and supermarkets/food stores (61%).In the coming year, 52% of Walmart shoppers and 50% of supermarket/food store customers said they plan to buy more groceries online, versus 47% of Amazon shoppers saying they aim to do so... But in terms of delivering a seamless, omnichannel grocery shopping experience, Target bested Walmart and Kroger in an analysis by Brick Meets Click"...
Opinion: Do Grocers Have an Engagement Problem?
In RetailWire, Vision First CEO/founder Patricia Vekich Waldron writes: "Consumers’ weekly grocery shopping trips have declined from 2.1 visits per week in 2006 to 1.6 in 2018, according to Statista. Shoppers now have tons of new formats and food solution options, from online same-day delivery, curbside pick-up and restaurant delivery to subscriptions and direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings from CPGs. Consumers demand convenience and value as well as more variety, information on ingredients, and healthful, sustainable and ready-to-eat meal and snack options. How can traditional grocery operators inspire shoppers, given that how they want to shop is becoming as important as what they buy?" She outlines strategies that she believes grocers should adopt. First, offer solutions, not just food: "I just attended the grand opening of a Sprouts Farmers Market in urban Philadelphia. The store was jam-packed with solutions to the “what to eat” dilemma that supported the company’s 'healthy living for less' mantra. I was impressed...with the larger store format, which was assorted to engage customers. It was clear that considerable thought was given to everything, from curating stations by purpose to the clever sayings on its reusable shopping bags.' Second, make it easy and fun: 'Harness the power of technology to understand and engage customers, including data and analysis for customers, promotions and inventory optimization. Invest in educated, enthusiastic and available associates. Simplify layouts--especially the dreaded checkout--and guide shoppers to not only find what’s on their list, but to discover new items. Provide clear signage, fun messages like “Where You Bin All My Life” in the bulk area to inform, entice and amuse customers."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: