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February 24, 2017

Publishing News

AARP Expands Edit Staff; Opening NYC Office
NY Post: "AARP The Magazine is expanding its editorial staff with up to 15 new hires even as most major publishers retrench. Robert Love, VP and editor-in-chief, said this week he is opening the first-ever New York City office for the title, which is mainly based in Washington, D.C. “If you’re looking for the best publishing talent, New York is the only place to be,” said editorial director Myrna Blyth, who hired Love in mid-2013. In the past year, Love, the former Rolling Stone editor, cashed in on his past connections to score a sitdown with press-shy Bob Dylan--and landed exclusive cover stories on Diane Keaton, Warren Beatty, Cyndi Lauper and Helen Mirren. “We’re also hiring a dozen writers and multimedia producers in Washington,” said Love. And he’s also scouting for a new Los Angeles-based celebrity wrangler to replace Meg Grant, who he said is stepping away from the West Coast editor job after eight years. The magazine--which boasts a very muscular 22.5M paid circulation--bucked the industry trend with a 1% increase in print revenue and 5% increase in digital revenue, he said."

WWD Scales Back Print Editions and Cuts Staff
Adweek: "Women’s Wear Daily, the so-called 'bible of fashion,' will be altering its print schedule for the second time in two years and letting go of several staffers. WWD confirmed to Adweek that it will cease publishing regular, weekly print editions and instead print only special editions. 'We will continue to produce print issues, more selectively--daily in tandem with key industry events and seasonally following fashion weeks, diving deeper into the biggest moments of the industry calendar,' wrote Miles Socha, the newly installed editor in chief, in an editor’s letter. According to WWD, eight positions were eliminated last week. Those roles were directly related to the weekly publication process. However, the company is looking to hire more editors for the digital side, including new columns it plans to add. 'Fairchild and WWD are comprised of over 205 employees worldwide,' a spokesperson tells Adweek. “The upgrades and changes represent less than 3 percent of our total workforce. Furthermore, WWD has had over a 22% increase in editorial hires since Penske Media acquired the brand.” Penske Media Corp. acquired the 107-year-old publication along with Fairchild Media from Condé Nast in 2014. In early 2015, WWD ended its daily print publication and moved to weekly editions. WWD’s Digital Daily has more than 50,000 subscribers. The publication’s goal is to increase that number to 100,000 by the end of 2017. PMC also acquired Robb Report, a luxury-oriented reporting service, in December 2016."

Trump Threatens To 'Do Something' About The Media, Bars Major Outlets From Press Briefing
MediaPost: The Trump Administration’s war on media accelerated Friday as the White House barred some of the nation’s top news organizations from today’s press briefing, not long after Trump threatened to “do something about” the press during a speech at a convention of political conservatives. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico and CNN were barred from today’s White House press briefing, CNN reported. The briefing took place hours after President Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, this morning. Much of his speech was devoted to media’s role as the “opposition party,” especially in reporting on “leaks” within the White House. He continued to label the nation’s top news organizations as “fake news” and singled out CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS. Some news media are fighting back via their own branding initiatives. The Washington Post this week introduced a new slogan on its masthead--'Democracy Dies In The Darkness'--and The New York Times unveiled a new truth-oriented branding TV campaign that will break on ABC’s telecast of the Oscars Sunday night (see related story link below). At the same conservative event, Steve Bannon, the Breitbart founder who is Trump's chief strategist, said the Trump administration's media relationship is “going to get worse every day.' Bannon also said that 'the corporatist, globalist media' has been 'always been wrong' about the administration (that link also below).
MediaPost (Trump bars media)
MediaPost (print, TV fight back) (Bannon)

Facebook Introducing Even More Annoying Ads
Newsweek: "Facebook's mid-roll video ads have the potential to be the most annoying ad format it's introduced yet if it's not careful. Imagine watching a video, then all of a sudden, about 20 seconds in, an ad starts playing. There's almost no way you're going to sit through it. At the same time, video publishers have an incentive to make the transition to the ad as smooth and non-disruptive as possible. Publishers receive 55% of revenue from the ad spots... Mid-roll ads are a risky proposition. If they prove annoying to most users, it could stop them from coming to Facebook as a destination for video. That's one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's big goals. "We want people to think of Facebook as a place for interesting and relevant video content from professional creators as well as their friends," he said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call. But Facebook is running out of room to put new ads, and users are spending more time watching videos (where they're not seeing ads). In order to keep growing revenue, Facebook needs to find a way to monetize videos directly. Not only that, but monetizing video opens the door to share revenue with professional creators, giving them additional incentives to post their best work to Facebook..."

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Retail News

Analyst: Wal-Mart Price Cuts Enter 'Kroger Country'
SN: " Wal-Mart Stores has advanced its price-cutting battlefront deep into Kroger country in a move likely to draw competitive responses and associated profit pressure in places like Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan, an analyst said. At least some Walmart stores in those three states have lowered prices to the same levels--and on many of the same items--as Walmart had in North Carolina last summer, Wolfe Research analyst Scott Mushkin said in a research note this week. Walmart, Bentonville, Ark., acknowledged then it had kicked off a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment in more competitive prices, but did not provide details on where it was cutting prices, or other specifics of the initiative. A spokeswoman for the company was not immediately available for comment Wednesday..."

Lidl Looks to Hire Thousands in U.S.
PG: "As it prepares to enter the United States this summer on a newly accelerated timeline, Lidl is seeking to hire as many as 800 associates each across North Carolina and Virginia, as well as 250 in South Carolina, over the next 12 months. As WFMY News in Winston-Salem, N.C., pointed out, the hiring push in 13 cities across the Tar Heel State is part of the German discount food retailer’s larger plan to recruit about 4,000 workers at stores and facilities along the East Coast. Meanwhile, the Virginian-Pilot noted opportunities for employment with Lidl in 12 Old Dominion cities, and WYFF in Greenville, S.C., reported openings at four Palmetto State locations. Lidl's first U.S. stores are expected to open in these states..."

Spartan Nash Readies New Click-and-Collect Pilot
SN: "SpartanNash is preparing to launch a new click-and-collect e-commerce pilot at one of its Family Fare stores that it hopes to roll out to 25 retail locations by year-end, the company said Thursday in a conference call discussing fiscal 2016 financial results. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based wholesaler and retailer said it will partner with Toronto-based Unata, which provides end-to-end e-commerce, digital marketing and related solutions. It counts among its customers several regional food retailers, including Longo’s in Canada and Lowes Foods, Lunds and Byerlys, Raley’s and Roche Bros. in the U.S. SpartanNash had been offering various click-and-collect solutions in about nine different stores, but the company said it expects the new implementation will provide a more comprehensive solution that can integrate personalized promotions and other features. “The click-and-collect systems we had gave us a sense of what we needed to do moving forward,” said Dave Staples, president and COO at SpartanNash. “This just takes us to a different level overall in the experience.” The new program will dovetail with SpartanNash’s Yes! loyalty program and its ongoing efforts around personalization and the use of data to segment customers based on preferences, he said..."

Half of Online Shoppers Check Others' Prices as Well as Amazon's
MNB cites an Internet Retailer story that a new study from CPC Strategy finds that 53.5% of online shoppers check prices on sites other than Amazon before making purchases. Just 18.2% say they only check Amazon's prices, with 28.3% saying they don't shop on Amazon.The story goes on: "CPC’s data shows 23.1% of shoppers cited price as the driving factor behind buying something on Amazon, while shipping came in a close second at 19.8%... The study says: "there are two basic kinds of Amazon shoppers: the convenience shopper who values things like shipping speed and customer service, and the value shopper, who gravitates toward Amazon for great deals. If they don’t see a deal they want, they’re going to see if it’s cheaper elsewhere."

Raley's COO Knopf Adds President to Title
PG: "West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley's has promoted its COO, Keith Knopf, to the role of president and COO. Knopf, who joined the grocer nearly two years ago, will continue to report to Michael Teel, Raley's owner and CEO, who took majority ownership around the time Knopf joined. Teel will continue to direct the development of Raley's overall strategic plan..."

More on Tesco's 'Relaxed' Checkout Lines
Washington Post: "According to this report on WXXV25 a Tesco’s in Forres, Scotland is testing out a “relaxed checkout line.” It’s slower paced and staffed by employees specifically trained by Alzheimer Scotland. Oh, and it’s not just for those suffering with dementia. It’s for anyone who feels they need a little extra time, like parents with many bickering kids. Smart. Surprisingly, this is the only store in the giant UK Tesco chain that’s testing out the idea. More surprisingly, it’s not being tried anywhere here, according to the National Grocers Association in the U.S. Yet..."


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