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April 28, 2017

Publishing News

Time Inc. Declines to Sell
NY Post: "Time Inc. has decided not to sell itself, saying Friday that it will instead pursue a turnaround plan that includes cost cutting, growing its digital businesses and diversifying through brand extensions. The owner of Sports Illustrated, People and Time magazine also said there could be selloffs through what the company called 'selective portfolio rationalization.' The decision sent the Time Inc. stock tumbling on Friday, dropping $3.42 a share to $14.88, down 19% in early trading before gaining some back to close at $15.18 a share, down $3.12 or 17.1 percent. Shares of Meredith Corp., the TV broadcaster and magazine empire that was said to be mulling a Time Inc. bid, also took a dive as well, indicating that shareholders were upset that there would be no deal for their company. The stock closed at $58.50, down $6.35, a 9.8% drop. Time Inc.’s stock was trading around $12.50 a share when news broke in late November that a trio of deep pocked investors including Edgar Bronfman Jr., Ynon Kreiz and Len Blavatnik had teamed up to bid try to get the board to sell them the company for about $1.8B, or around $18 a share. The trio of investors dropped out in March as the price seemed to be inching upward with Meredith Corp. emerging as a suitor. But Meredith was always leery about taking on the weekly titles aside from People since its portfolio consists of women-focused monthly magazines. Time was determined to do an all-or-nothing deal and negotiations dragged on. In addition, federal regulations for TV deals are expected to become more relaxed in the coming months. Meredith CEO Steve Lacy gave no hint that his company was exiting the talks to buy Time Inc. in discussions with analysts Thursday morning. Less than 24 hours later, Time Inc. announced it had decided to break off sale talks with all parties. In a statement Friday morning, Time Inc. said: 'over the past several months, there has been considerable speculation and news coverage regarding interest by various parties in acquiring Time Inc. While Time Inc. had not initiated a process, the board of directors consistent with its duties, evaluated a number of expressions of interest with the assistance of external advisors. Following the review, the board has determined that the company will continue to pursue its strategic plan.'" NY Times: “This is a great company,” Rich Battista, the chief executive of Time Inc., said in an interview Friday morning. 'We see a path to creating significant shareholder value. We think there’s tremendous untapped potential, and we’re just scratching the surface'"...

Conde Nast, Paltrow To Launch Goop Magazine
MediaPost: "Condé Nast is partnering with actress Gwyneth Paltrow to create a quarterly print magazine edition of her popular lifestyle site, Goop. The magazine will launch this September. Goop magazine's debut will also include 'a steady stream' of coproduced and cobranded digital content distributed across select Condé Nast brands’ Web sites, and the brand’s social channels, according to a statement. The magazine is being marketed as premium and “collectible." Editorial content will be created by the team at Goop, with creative support from Condé Nast on visuals. Paltrow and Goop’s staff will work with Anna Wintour, Condé Nast artistic director and longtime Vogue editor-in-chief, and her team to produce cross-platform content. Goop will likely fill the space for wellness and health print publications left open when Condé Nast shuttered Self's print edition last year. Goop was founded in 2008 as a newsletter featuring taste makers' tips and news on fashion, health, fitness, wellness, travel, recipes and parenting. The site has a strong ecommerce platform that allows readers to buy featured products, some made exclusively for Goop..."

Shanken Names Himself EIC of Whiskey Advocate
NY Post: "Marvin Shanken, the publishing entrepreneur behind Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator, said he is adding the editor-in-chief and publisher title at the Whisky Advocate. M. Shanken Communications bought the Emmaus, Pa.-based title from the husband and wife team of John Hansell and Amy Westlake in 2010, when it was still known by its original name, the Malt Advocate."

MPA SVP: Why Magazines and Mag Media Matter
MrMagazine: MPA SVP communications Susan Russ, speaking at the Act 7 Experience, said that "while the most successful magazines exist cross-platform, print remains a living, breathing, and indispensable part of that mix. The magazine ecosystem, Russ said, puts the consumer in the center, and includes all the ways in which magazine brands reach their audience: desktop/laptop, mobile, social, events, and print. In the U.S., 91% of all adults read magazines and, contrary to popular perception, the percentage grows in the direction of youth, with 94% of adults under the age of 25 reading magazines. And research has indicated that, for reaching that audience in an effective way, the print part of that ecosystem is the most powerful. Neuroscientific studies show that paper-based reading results in higher comprehension and recall; it is more powerful in stimulating emotions and desires; its readers give it a more focused attention with less distraction, and the tactile experience of paper contributes to its impact on readers. While connecting to the brand’s ecosystem through various channels is important, print stimulates different parts of the brain. Magazines are consumed across platforms, and its the entire ecosystem that contributes to their power and success. But print remains a key component—and it’s a component that other media companies don’t have."

25 Year Club Cocktail Party, May 18, 2017


Retail News

Amazon's Sales and Profit Growth Continues in Q1
Seattle Times: "’s unbroken 20-year streak of double-digit revenue growth shows no sign of slowing this year, helped by an influx of online shoppers who are abandoning stores and new business for its cloud-computing division. The company topped profit and revenue estimates in the first quarter and projected sales that may beat projections in the current period, reinforcing its message to investors that big spending on warehouses, movies and devices are all part of a winning formula. “Amazon appears to be firing on all cylinders,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “The core e-commerce segment growth remains very healthy, Amazon Web Services was fairly stable even with the recent price reductions, and growth in subscription services and advertising is robust, starting to move the needle, and helping to augment profitability'... [Amazon] sales grew 23% to $35.7 B in Q1. Net income was $724M, or $1.48 a share... Analysts estimated profit of $1.08 a share on revenue of $35.3B... Amazon Web Services revenue gained 43%...slower than the 47% YOY growth in the previous quarter... A combination of better profit margins in the cloud-computing unit and a smaller increase in shipping costs helped Amazon beat earnings projections... Still, company spending remains an investor concern. Operating expenses rose 24% to $34.7B in the quarter..."

Weis Plans $90M CapEx in 2017
PG: "Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain Weis Markets plans to invest $90M in its growth during 2017, including new stores, remodels, supply chain improvements and continued information technology upgrades. The budget includes 14 remodels, a new unit in Brunswick, Md., two fuel centers and the continued expansion of the company’s distribution center in Milton, Pa., chairman and CEO Jonathan Weis said at the retailer’s recent annual shareholder meeting. 'We also have seven new stores in the active planning stages and expect most of them to open in 2018,” Weis said. Last year, the company acquired and converted 44 stores within three months, growing its store base by more than 20 percent. “We now operate 204 stores and expanded operations into two new states, adding Delaware and Virginia to our now seven-state territory throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,' Weis said. The company’s legacy stores continued to perform at a high level in 2016, helping to boost overall sales 6.9% to $3.1B, while comparable-store sales increased 2.9%, marking 11 consecutive quarters of same-store gains..."

Marsh to Close All In-Store Pharmacies
PG: "Indiana grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets will close all of its in-store pharmacies, the latest move by a retailer that observers say appears to be on the verge of collapse. The grocer announced Friday morning that it would be closing all of its pharmacies – 37 locations among its 64 remaining supermarkets – on May 3, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. Marsh reportedly has sold its customer prescription accounts to Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS, which last year took over the pharmacy operations for Target. The value of the deal was not disclosed. A Marsh spokesperson did not reply to PG’s request for comment. The pharmacy closings are the latest in a series of events suggesting a downward spiral for the embattled Indianapolis-based grocery chain..."

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