All Articles Tagged "magazine publishing"
Just a few weeks ago, it was looking pretty certain that Time Warner was going to sell off many of the magazine titles under the Time Inc umbrella, with Meredith a prospective buyer. Now the decision has come down to instead turn Time Inc into its own, separate, publicly-traded company, which will give Time Warner the freedom to focus on its broadcast and film business. With the resolution, Time’s head Laura Lang, who’s only been in the position for 14 months, will leave her post.
According to The New York Times, the issue became Meredith’s willingness to purchase titles like Time and Sports Illustrated, which were once hot commodities, but are now feeling the same pinch that many in the publishing industry are feeling. The continued growth of digital subscribing and online news is eating away at the profitability of traditional magazines and other media.
And on Time Warner’s quarterly spreadsheets, the publishing titles are bringing down the overall numbers, with the cable business showing an increase in the last quarter while the magazines fell.
The big transition will take place by year’s end. Reuters obtained an internal memo in which Time Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes commented that “change can be unsettling,” foreshadowing some of the discomfort that Time’s employees could be feeling in short order.
The New York Post already has quotes from “insiders” who say that people are nervous. They also have word that a big part of Lang’s decision has to do with Bewkes lack of confidence in her ability to turn the fortunes of the publishing arm around. Some of these other “insiders” say Bewkes doesn’t like the publishing industry and lacks direction himself. Well, that sounds like a bad workplace situation.
Time Inc will still be the largest magazine publishing company in the world with $3.4 billion in revenue in 2012, down 6.6 percent from 2011. We’ll still wait to see how this impacts some of our favorite titles including People, InStyle, and Essence.
O, the Oprah magazine, is suffering from a steep decline in ad sales for the months of August and September. The New York Post reports that O has suffered a 31.4% drop in ad pages for August, compared with an overall industry decline of 7%. Ouch. Even worse — September’s outlook is more grim with another 18.2% loss.
BET News has noted: “In comparison, Martha Stewart Living was down 14 percent and Every Day With Rachael Ray was down 25 percent for the same month.” For some reason O is taking the worst hit out of all the celebrity-driven tomes. Industry speculation into why links the decline of her magazine to other reversals of fortune.
Oprah’s brand may be crashing due to the ending of her eponymous network show. The lackluster ratings of OWN’s cable programs have failed to sustain the interest in Winfrey that everyone banked on. Media watching blog Fishbowl NY has this to add:
Oprah hasn’t had the same zing behind her name since she left her show and started OWN. Somehow, shows such as “Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals” have failed to grab the public’s attention, and OWN’s ratings have taken a beating. Now it appears that Oprah’s decline is impacting O, The Oprah Magazine as well.
An O spokesperson says [...] the magazine is “the best place for fans who miss the show to stay engaged with the brand.”
While that might be true, if Oprah isn’t personally handing out the magazines to consumers (and maybe yelling out “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!” too) there might not be enough power behind the brand to make people care.
Getting intimate with fans despite the loss of her daily show is just what the mogul plans to do. To counter the diminishing power of her name, Winfrey is personally planning to hit the road for grass roots promotions that will also generate income. She is set to appear at an “O You” event in Atlanta in the fall, which is expected to generate $725,000 — if all 5,000 tickets are sold at $125 a piece. But this is chump change to Winfrey — and more importantly the Discovery Channel.
Remember: This cable giant has invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the gamble of transforming Oprah’s beloved energy into a powerhouse cable network. So far this hasn’t happened, with ratings for OWN being lower than the Discovery Health Channel it was engineered to replace. The Discovery channel initially invested $189 million in Oprah’s cable play, and in February of this year put in another $50 million. She will have to do quite an extensive “O You” tour to make that money back, let alone generate a profit.
Was it hubris for Oprah and the Discovery Channel to believe that translating the magic of her network program to cable would be easy? Her old show was free, available in every major market, and 100% about Oprah. The limited reach of OWN, offered in some markets in which viewers have to pay to watch programs that do not showcase her, make this new venture an entirely different game.
Hopefully Oprah will come up with the right strategy for playing it successfully. Expecting fans to blindly follow hasn’t worked.
(NOLA.com) — One year after leaving her job as White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers is back on the party-hosting circuit, this time with a new agenda. Rogers in August was named chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Co., owner of Ebony and Jet magazines and Fashion Fair cosmetics. As the new public face of the brands, the New Orleans native has been hosting cocktail receptions, dinner parties and events in New York, Chicago and, this week, here, clinking glasses and creating buzz for the magazines and for a new Ebony Fashion Fair retrospective clothing exhibit at Macy’s stores.
“Who knew my time at the White House would prepare me to take on this role?” said Rogers, who left Washington last February with a track record filled with both successes (the much-praised White House music series) and scandals (wannabe reality TV stars crashing a state dinner). On the phone one recent afternoon from Johnson headquarters in snowed-in Chicago, Rogers called her new position a “perfect fit.” “I enjoy business and the creative process involved in the magazines and, of course, the social aspect. And I’m getting to do it with my best friend.” Johnson Publishing, the nation’s largest African-American-owned media company, was founded by John Johnson in 1942. His daughter and Rogers’ friend, Linda Johnson Rice, is chairwoman.
(Crain’s) — Johnson Publishing Co. has named Stephen Gregory Barr group publisher at Ebony and Jet magazines, a new post. Mr. Barr, 41, who also becomes senior vice president, was publisher of celebrity weekly OK! Magazine for eight months, until December. He previously held posts at VIVMag LLC and InStyle Magazine Group.
(Bloomberg) — Retired basketball star Magic Johnson agreed to invest in Vibe Holdings LLC, a magazine and television company focused on the urban market, along with billionaire Ron Burkle, according to a person familiar with the deal. As part of the deal, Johnson, 51, will become chairman of New York-based Vibe, said the person, who declined to be identified because the deal isn’t public. Johnson and Burkle, head of the investment firm Yucaipa Cos., will join Leo Hindery, the former cable and telecom executive, whose InterMedia Partners LP already owns a stake in Vibe. An announcement could come as early as tomorrow, the person said. Tammy Warren, a spokeswoman for Magic Johnson Enterprises, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. Frank Quintero, a spokesman for Yucaipa, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. Vibe, which targets multicultural markets with entertainment and general-interest news and content, includes Vibe magazine, Uptown magazine, media websites and the Soul Train TV show, with its library of 35 years of musical performances, according to the company’s website. Last month, Vibe began publishing Uptown Professional, a multicultural business title.
(Wall Street Journal) — The country’s largest magazine publishers are gearing up to launch their own service for distributing digital publications on tablets, competing head-on with technology companies they’ve relied on to distribute their apps to date. More than a year after it was first announced, Next Issue Media, a joint-venture of five media companies, will launch in the next few months, Morgan Guenther, NIM’s chief executive, said in an interview this week. Mr. Guenther, the former president of TiVo Inc., said that NIM will likely go live with two titles from its four magazine owners: Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst Corp. and Meredith Corp. Mr. Guenther said it will have added a “full-lineup” of titles, including newspapers, from its owners by the summer. The offerings could include versions of newspapers sold by News Corp, the fifth member of the consortium.
(Black Enterprise) — Earlier this morning noted journalist and author Danyel Smith announced that she had taken on the role of Editor-in-Chief of Billboard magazine. “[On the move] excited!,” she tweeted. “Today is my first as editor of Billboard magazine.” This is not Smith’s first turn with the music industry trade publication or as EIC of a major magazine. In 1993 she served as R&B Editor for Billboard, and ran Vibe magazine from 1997-1999 and again from 2006-2009.
(PR Newswire) — Last year, the online urban community was injected with a fresh new addition, NV Magazine. Covering several topics in urban culture from hip-hop music and artists to urban fashion, NV Magazine is a digital magazine that takes online media to a new level. Now armed with a new headquarters in New York City and a dedicated full-time staff, NV Magazine has switched up the spelling of their signature name “NV” to “Enve Magazine” and will be re-launching their new website and magazine at http://www.enveonline.com in January 2011. With a name that represents the feeling their competitors will be left with, Enve Magazine is set to takeover the new world of digital media. “Enve will strive to be the complete outlet for hip-hop culture” explains Enve Magazine CEO Azarr Johnson, “Hip hop is a culture, a movement, and a lifestyle. So for the viewers and fans that would like to see hip-hop portrayed in a positive light and just want one comprehensive outlet for complete hip hop culture, Enve is the answer.”
(Chicago Sun Times) — Johnson Publishing Co. Inc., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, said Tuesday it has sold its home of nearly 40 years on Michigan Avenue. The company, which has gone through a painful down- sizing typical for the publishing business, is selling its 820 S. Michigan building to Columbia College Chicago. Johnson Publishing plans to lease the 11-story building for 18 months, then move elsewhere in Chicago.
(New York Post) — Angela Burt-Murray is out as editor-in-chief of Essence, the Time Inc.-owned magazine for African American women, after five years at the helm. She told staffers yesterday in a meeting that she is relocating to Atlanta with her family. She didn’t return a call for comment. Sheryl Tucker, who took a buyout as an editor-at-large at Time Inc. in 2008, is being brought back to run the mag on an interim basis. According to sources, the company quietly began preparing for the move a few weeks ago but wanted to proceed delicately to avoid re-igniting a controversy that flared this summer when Burt-Murray appointed a white woman to the key position of fashion director.