Good news from BPA Worldwide, the print and digital circulation oversight group. The BPA board passed a number of rules changes at its May 2012 meeting, which it has just released. All rules are in effect immediately. The short story is that tagging website traffic will become easier, digital subscriptions will be easier to prove, and subscribers will not be tasked with having to fill in a new form to renew (which runs the risk that they do not bother).
Audited Web Traffic Using Tags: Due to advances in technology, the Board took strides toward a truly “tag neutral” approach with respect to reporting audited website traffic data. BPA is now making more options available to members to participate in BPA’s web traffic audit process.
“The change was prompted by the member feedback,” Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide told Folio. About 700 of 2,000 member companies used the Nielsen tags. "The question to the other 1,300 was what’s preventing you from doing this? Some had said they were using other analytics providers. The two that were named more often than not was Google Analytics and Omniture.”
Specifically, BPA no longer requires its members to use the BPA proprietary tag powered by Nielsen. It can now work with, for example, including Google Analytics and/or Omniture SiteCatalyst tags. Members may begin reporting Google Analytics data as of July 2012 after completing a simple set-up process.
Reporting Apps: As of December (BPA’s last board meeting), BPA determined that only App downloads could be reported on BPA Brand reports, as there was not enough recipient information to report qualified subscriptions/copies delivered through Apps on circulation statements. But, media owners have developed App registration (free) or payment (paid) gateways, which BPA believes is sufficient proof of qualified circulation.
Business and Consumer Magazines
Pre-Populated Electronic Qualification Forms: BPA will allow publishers to pre-populate electronic subscription forms (web, email, text) with a previous year’s data. The maximum age of the previous demographic data cannot exceed three years in age and the subscriber must be asked to review the data and press a single confirm button to agree the information is correct before completing the renewal.
Digital Request, Electronic: At the December 2011 meeting, the BPA Board ruled that subscriber access to digital copies (by downloading the issue or accessing it online) may be used to substantiate a renewal to continue receiving a digital subscription. The rule requires minimum access for a six-month reporting period: but because most members analyze either May or November issues, media owners found they were not getting the benefit of subscriber access in the months of June or December, effectively losing two months out of the year. The Board amended the rule to maintain the original access requirements, and the six-month period, but the six-month access period will now end with the analyzed issue, and, in so doing
Rodale Inc.’s Men’s Health magazine has a number of instructional apps already, including "Eat This, Not That!" and a workout designer: But you could not read the magazine or advertise in it on the iPhone, until now. Beginning with the September issue of the magazine (available in August) special content will be developed specifically for the iPhone in order to create an enhanced viewing experience that is unavailable on other devices. Men's Health currently has several branded apps for the iPhone, but this new app is the first that allows the magazine to expand its digital publication delivery across iPhone and iPod Touch devices with more than 220 million users globally. Existing Men’s Health iPad subscribers will have access to the publication with no additional charge on their iPhones.
The app was developed using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and Rodale claims this is the first iPhone application to launch on the Adobe platform in the United States.
“This brand prides itself on being first to market, so developing an iPhone version of Men’s Health quickly is a natural next step for us,” said David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health and GM for Rodale’s Healthy Living Group and Rodale Books.
“Offering iPad subscribers a chance to view Men’s Health on their iPhone gives readers a new outlet to consume our content on-the-go or at the gym,” said Sean Bumgarner, Interactive Design Director for Rodale.
Men’s Health has had success with its digital apps before, as Folio describes. Its “Skin Care Center” was the 2012 recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) award for digital media, known as the Digital Ellie, in the personal service category honoring service journalism on digital platforms. Its “Eat This, Not That!” also won a Digital Ellie in ASME’s inaugural year of the awards, 2010. The brand offers more than 40 apps across the iPhone and iPad.
Men’s Health bills itself as the “go-to source for guys,” and is published 10 times a year in the U.S. by Rodale. The magazine has garnered numerous industry accolades, including being named by the Media Industry Newsletter (MIN) as the “#1 Most Notable Magazine Launch of the Last 25 Years.”
Women’s lingerie maker Maidenform will use augmented reality (AR) to introduce its Comfort Devotion line of bras, panties and shapewear later this year, reports Marketing Daily. Maidenform will use technology from Aurasma, which provides image-recognition software.
Aurasma made news earlier this month with the June issue of Popular Science, the first monthly U.S. consumer magazine to “bring an editorial feature to life,” said Aurasma in a statement, by “[uniting] the physical and virtual worlds to deliver a unique and interactive experience for readers.” The June issue is the Popular Science annual Invention Awards issue, which profiles ten inventors of potentially world-changing technologies.
What Aurasma does differently from QR codes is that its image recognition software requires no code, tag or marketr at all. So the publisher can augment reality without sacrificing space or disrupting the reader. By aiming an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet at certain pages in the magazine, readers can activate an "Aura" — an augmented reality action, such as a video or slideshow, overlaid on a static image. The reader can also use the in-app "screen capture" button to share the augmented reality experience via Facebook or Twitter, making it possible for others to see the digital overlay even without the magazine.
"Our June issue is already bursting with information, and this technology allows us to go ahead and overflow the riverbank," said Popular Science editor in chief Jake Ward. "It's for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone from our pages in real life. Aurasma has a very powerful effect on readers - it's like being able to step into the magazine's content and walk around."
Maidenform will use the Aurasma application for in-store displays and advertising to compare, for example, the racerback version of one bra versus the strapless version of another. The Maidenform product will not launch until December, but thus far, Popular Science is delighted with augemented reality. “The consumer wants more digital marketing,” Lucille DeHart, Maidenform’s CMO told Marketing Daily. “She’s very connected through all her devices. They empowers her to shop the way she wants to shop. So we need to be where she is, and give her that flexibility.”
Call it the James Bond effect: The top monthly magazine ad page gainers for June 2012 feature guns, beauty and gadgets, according to min.online.
The top ad-page gainer is Guns & Ammo, with 47.84 more ad pages in June 2012 over June 2011, for an 89.42% year-over-year (YoY) gain. Published by Intermedia Outdoors, publisher Chris Agnes attributes the interest in part to the popular show “Sons of Guns” on the Discovery Channel: Also to 2012 being an election year which “For whatever reason,” renews interest in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, reports Agnes.
Allure from Condé Nast took the #2 spot, and Elle from Hearst was #4. “June 2012 was the biggest issue ever for Allure,” publisher Agnes Chapski told min, with a 41.15% YoY ad-page gain. The June Readers’ Choice Awards are a particular draw, with nearly 90% of Allure readers reporting they trust the awards to help them make purchasing decisions. Elle, another fashion and beauty title, has gained a boost from its acquisition and rework by Hearst in May 2011. Elle has a particularly strong online presence, with 27 individual sites worldwide, which publisher and chief revenue officer Kevin O'Malley makes it a powerful “omni-channel brand.”
Taking the #3 spot (and joining the top five list for the first time) is IEEE Spectrum, an engineering trade journal. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has 400,000+ members in 150 countries for a powerful built-in subscribership (Spectrum is included in membership). The June issue includes a 32-page sponsored insert by Comsol, a simulation software provider, and June is the magazine’s traditional yearbook of in-depth technology provider coverage.
Rounding out the top five ad-page gainers: Ebony, with its June Music/Father’s Day special. Ebony targets a black demographic, and gained 55.02% YoY in 2012, attracting such advertisers as BMW (6 series), Verizon, Philadelphia Tourism, Unilever and State Farm Insurance. The June issue features current music stars from hip-hop and R&B, but also black celebrity fathers.
“We are not immune to the challenges” that the magazine industry has faced, wrote Los Angeles Times President Kathy K. Thomson in yesterday’s paper. So the paper has “made the decision that LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine [LATM] will publish its final issue on June 3rd.
FishbowlLA spoke with the mag’s editor, Nancie Clare, who said “It’s fair to say there were revenue issues…I don’t think they got rid of us because they don’t like us.” The mangazine’s lean staff of seven will be let go, with little likelihood they will be absorbed by the newspaper proper. Clare observed “They’re contracting in the newsroom too. There’s nowhere to absorb us.”
The magazine has struggled for years, for both readership and identity. As Folio described its transition, LATM was once a weekly produced by and distributed with the paper, then transitioned to a monthly in June 2008, then switched shifted to an editorial model separate from the paper and with its own editorial staff. Thus far in 2012, LATM has suffered a 21.3% drop in ad pages compared to 2011, and 2011 saw a 6% decline from 2010.
Thomson called the LATM the “definitive handbook for life in Southern California,” sort of a “New Yorker” for SoCal. But in its place, the Times is developing a quarterly product focused on luxury, design, fashion and style. The Times promises “digital and mobile iterations intended to further enhance our feature coverage and deepen our connection with our members and advertising partners.”
It is an ironic move that a cash-strapped newspaper will launch a luxury title, but likely a wise one. Luxury titles like Boating and Architectural Digest are weathering the economic storm far better than their consumer counterparts, and Forbes and Time Magazine have both launched luxury titles this year.
Something is off, when the best magazine of the year cannot attract advertisers.
At last night's Ellie Awards in New York, held by the American Society of Magazine Editors, Magazine of the Year Winner was TIME. But as Folio details, TIME fell almost 21% from 286.95 ad pages in Q1 2011 to 227.01 pages in Q1 2012. Rival Newsweek enjoyed a 27.5% spike to 183.26 pages in Q1 2012.
National Magazine Awards 2012 Winners and Finalists
MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Finalists: Esquire; New York; The New Yorker; Popular Mechanics.
GENERAL EXCELLENCE, PRINT
Honors large-circulation weeklies, biweeklies and general-interest monthlies
Winner: Bloomberg Businessweek
Finalists: GQ; New York; The New Yorker; Vice
Honors women’s magazines, including health and fitness magazines and family-centric publications
Winner: O, The Oprah Magazine
Finalists: Glamour; More; Real Simple; W
Honors food, travel and shelter magazines as well as city and regional publications
Winner: House Beautiful
Finalists: Bon Appetit; Country Living; Garden & Gun; Texas Monthly
Active- and Special-Interest Magazines
Honors magazines serving targeted audiences, including enthusiast titles
Finalists: The Fader; Field & Stream; Men’s Health; Popular Mechanics
Honors literary, scholarly and professional publications as well as small-circulation general-interest magazines
Winner: IEEE Spectrum
Finalists: The American Scholar; Aperture; The New Republic; Virginia Quarterly Review
Finalists: Bloomberg Businessweek; Interview; New York; Wired
Finalists: GQ; Interview; National Geographic; Virginia Quarterly Review
NEWS AND DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY
Winner: Harper’s Magazine for “Juvenile Injustice,” October
Harper’s Magazine for “Uncertain Exodus,” July
National Geographic for “Too Young to Wed,” June
The New York Times Magazine for “From Zero to 104,” September 4
TIME for “Birds of Hope,” January 17
Winner: The New York Times Magazine for "Vamps, Crooks & Killers," December 11
National Geographic for “Taming the Wild,” March
TIME for “Portraits of Resilience,” September 19
Vogue for “Lady Be Good,” March
W for “Planet Tilda,” August
Winner: New York for “The Encyclopedia of 9/11,” September 5-12
Bloomberg Businessweek for “Steve Jobs,” October 10-16
ESPN The Magazine for “NFL Preview: The Vick Issue,” September 5
Garden & Gun for “Southern Food,” October/November
Wired for “Underworld,” February
Winner: New York for “Strategist”
Bicycling for “Know/How”
Esquire for “Man at His Best”
Real Simple for “Food”
Wired for “Start”
Winner: Glamour for “The Secret That Kills Four Women a Day,” June
Good Housekeeping for “Fractured,” July
Real Simple for “Your Holiday-Spending Survival Guide,” November
Redbook for “Would You Get a ‘Mommy Tuck’?” April
San Francisco for “The New School of Fish,” February
Winner: Saveur for “Italian American,” December
New York for “The Urbanist’s Guide To . . . ,” April 25
Outdoor Life for “Sniper School,” March
Texas Monthly for “Home Plates,” April
Wired for “The Wired Travel Optimizer,” October
Winner: The New Yorker for “The Invisible Army,” June 6
5280 Magazine for “Direct Fail,” December
Harper’s Magazine for “Tiny Little Laws,” February
Marie Claire for “The Big Business of Breast Cancer,” October
Men’s Health for “The Signature Wound,” November
Winner: The New Yorker for “The Apostate,” February 14 & 21
The Atlantic for “Our Man in Kandahar,” November
Los Angeles for “What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?” September
The New Yorker for “Getting bin Laden,” August 8
Vanity Fair for “Echoes From a Distant Battlefield,” December
Winner: Esquire for “Heavenly Father!” October
GQ for “The Man Who Sailed His House,” October
The New York Times Magazine for “You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!” June 12
The New Yorker for “A Murder Foretold,” April 4
Rolling Stone for “Arms and the Dudes,” March 31
Winner: D Magazine for “He Is Anonymous,” April
ESPN The Magazine for “Game of Her Life,” January 10
Men’s Journal for “The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See,” March
Rolling Stone for “Santiago’s Brain,” December 8
Sports Illustrated for “Dewayne Dedmon’s Leap of Faith,” November 14
ESSAYS AND CRITICISM
Winner: New York for “Paper Tigers,” May 16
Esquire for “The Loading Dock Manifesto,” May
GQ for “Too Much Information,” May iPad Edition
The New Yorker for “The Aquarium,” June 13 & 20
Slate for “The Stutterer: How He Makes His Voice Heard,” February 22
COLUMNS AND COMMENTARY
Winner: Vanity Fair for columns by Christopher Hitchens
The Atlantic for columns by James Parker
Field & Stream for columns by Bill Heavey
Los Angeles for reviews by Steve Erickson
TIME for columns by Joel Stein
Winner: Zoetrope: All-Story for “The Hox River Window,” Fall
The Atlantic for “Scars,” Summer 2011
McSweeney’s Quarterly for “Ambition,” April
McSweeney’s Quarterly for “The Northeast Kingdom,” August
Virginia Quarterly Review for “La Moretta,” Fall
Three years ago, the Christian Science Monitor “began a jump-in-the-deep-end version of digital transformation,” describes the Poynter Organization. The daily newspaper went to a weekly print edition, maintaining daily news online. If that sounds like a surrender, guess again: The Monitor garners about 42 million page views a month and 8 to 10 million unique visitors, which is five times what it was before the transformation. Plus, ad revenue and content sales have grown more than 50% for the fiscal year closing April 30, “The best we’ve done financially since 1963,” writes editor John Yemma.
What the Monitor did which, for example, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have not, is to largely surrender its print edition—a gamble, but a strategy that has worked arguably as well as the NYT and WSJ strategies. And it placed more of an emphasis upon online advertising.
The challenge for the Monitor is somewhat like that of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: It is funded largely by endowments (The First Church of Christ, Scientist for the Monitor, government and corporate endowments for CPB). But endowments expand and contract, and have not held the Monitor above water any more than they hold up public broadcasting, else there would be no semiannual “pledge drives” on public television. “You might see the systematic decrease of our longstanding subsidy as similar to the erosion of print ad revenue at a locally based newspaper,” wrote Yemma.
And like newspapers, the Monitor is going digital, treading water until the digital strategy pays off. The Monitor has an operating budget of $18.6 million, and is down $4.5 million for this fiscal year, and budgeted for $3.3 million next: but it counts on the digital transformation to turn it around by 2017. (“Trading print dollars for digital dimes,” as Digiday describes the dilemma.) And those dimes are coming from high-end brands like Infiniti and Nokia.
Quit Crying Over Print
Digiday summed up the challenge by digital to print media: “$40 billion evaporated with little likelihood of return [but] rather than waste more time pointing fingers, publishers need to get on with figuring out what’s next.” For years, the news industry depended upon classified ads which Google, Facebook and Craigslist now own. “This market dynamic continues to move so quickly that its last owner, Yahoo, has already faltered into a lesser tier.”
The solution for publishers is, simply, to carve a niche and own the distribution. “A marketplace where buyers have multiple channels to reach the same audience only leads to a race to the bottom.”
The Monitor is somewhat like the Huffington Post—it is the demographic that differs. Both have a distinct audience, Scientologists (among others) for the Monitor, a younger-and-progressive skewing demo for HuffPo. Both endeavor to provide high-end first-hand content: Both have global and U.S. correspondents monitoring world events, the campaign trail, the Supreme Court, tech, science, and the environment. And the Monitor wins the occasional scoop: CSM on April 9 covered the reversal of immigration from Mexico, hitting the presses a week before a Pew report confirmed the trend. But HuffPo was a digital-only product that never had to throw off the shackles of a print edition and make the transition to digital.
Both Monitor and HuffPo skew to an educated late 30s-early 40s wage-earning demographic—a sweet-spot for digital reading. That’s what works for them: They meet the readers.
Similarly, Penton Media’s Technology Media Group in February announced that, in response to audience and marketer demand, it would transform all of its brands to all-digital beginning this month. “We conducted research amongst our audience and advertisers and found that they were really looking for an enhanced digital experience and were becoming less reliant on print magazines,” said Peg Miller, Penton technology market leader. Miller noted that the Penton audience is largely one of IT professionals and developers working in a digital environment. Penton had double-digit gains in digital edition subscriptions FY 2011-2012, and “We’re finding that our audience prefers to learn about technology through multiple channels – whether it be printed words, videos, audio, screencasts and in-person events.” Penton Technology Media Group brands include Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Pro, DevPro, System iNetwork and The VAR Guy, among other titles.
Penton is hardly stepping raiding Monitor or HuffPo’s readerships: but the lesson is the same. Successful publishers meet the readers where they are and with a unique value proposition. And that in turn means value for advertisers.
The Economist and the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) have announced that “The Economist” is the first weekly magazine to release a Consolidated Media Report (CMR).
In January, The Economist slammed the brakes on the “everything is free” ethos, when the magazine’s Managing Director for the Americas Paul Rossi called the free or lower-cost digital model “suicide.” Rossi told the crowd at the Digiday Publishing Summit that “It makes no sense in my mind if you think a mag on a newsstand has a [value] to a reader of $4.99 that you sell that to a reader digitally for 99 cents or $1.99…I don’t understand the logic.” Rossi also addressed the problem of digital advertising not coming close to replacing print revenue—partly because he felt that lower- or no-cost content devalues digital ad placements.
The Economist’s CMR contains information on all of its branded assets, including its print journal, tablet app, website, e-newsletters and social media channels, and they are fairly impressive:
- Print and digital circulation: 893,208
- Economist app total unique devices: 255,425
- Average digital subscription price: $105.11
- Total page views for The Economist online: 14,914,663
- Total monthly unique browsers: 3,592,114
- E-newsletter net distributions: 16,407,019
- Social media interactions for Facebook; 1,009,815, Twitter; 2,279,796, YouTube; 502,118, Tumblr; 43,007, LinkedIn; 23,003
“With the rise of digital reading, marketers want to understand how readers are interacting with magazines beyond the print form,” said Rossi. Referring to the CMR, he added that “While not perfect, we believe it’s a positive first step to show advertisers our brand footprint and to help them make comparisons across platforms and titles.”
ABC’s theory behind a CMR is to provide a single resource for advertisers and media buyers to understand a publication’s reach across both print and digital platforms, through a single, independently verified resource. Two monthlies, Popular Science and Fine Cooking, have also issued reports. The Economist is only the third magazine to publish a CMR.
The news may not be all rosy for Economist: Its own press release boilerplate claims "a growing global circulation (now 1.5 million including both print and digital)," per ABC figures for July through December 2011. Somehow between then and now, and with the more stringent CMR analysis, that figure has dropped to 893,208. But the apps and emails (and an online price of $105.11) still qualify it as a success story, by any measure.
This is the year analysts predicted that digital advertising will surpass print in revenues, and here is some proof. Digital revenues outpaced print at business-to-business group United Business Media for the first time in Q1. UBM publishes InformationWeek, The Journal of Commerce and Psychiatric Times, among other titles. It also owns PR Newswire, TechWeb, and offers marketing services.
The company released its Q1 fiscal report yesterday, and for the first time, its online revenue exceeded print. As BtoB describes, revenues from online marketing services totaled $34.4 million, and print marketing services totaled $30.8 million.
That represents an 11.2% boost in online marketing services for Q1 compared to 2011, while print marketing services plummeted 31.4% in Q1 year-over-year (YoY). This was due in part to drops in ad pages, also, to some divestments in titles.
Earlier this week, its InformationWeek title unveiled three new marketing services products in educational programming, social media and live streaming video. The InformationWeek University product includes a sponsored track, which can supposedly deliver a minimum of 800 leads for the sponsor.
The experts at eMarketer called it in January, when they predicted that the online ad spend would bypass print in 2012—across all media. UBM is a well-diversified business publisher, but consumer publications are expecting a digital boost too, after a healthy growth across media of 42.1% in 2011. That growth will be fueled this year by, among other factors, the move to e-reading and magazine apps, and by advertising around the 2012 election and summer Olympic Games. eMarketer has projected that U.S. online ad spending will grow 23.3% in 2012 to nearly $40 billion, and nearly $53 billion in 2013. This will make 2012 the first year in which online ad spends will surpass the total spent on print ads, with $39.5 billion online versus $33.8 billion in magazines and newspapers.
Q1 2012 was “disappointing” for the magazine industry, as Folio describes it; and “lackluster” by Ad Age—depending on the title. Some niche publications like Architectural Digest, Boating and Latina are jumping for joy, as are Traditional Home and Dash.
According to the latest Publishers’ Information Bureau stats, ad pages among computer magazines were down 8.2% in Q1 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, for a decline from 36,868 pages to 33,828.
Generalized women's titles overall suffered January through March, with declines at Better Homes & Gardens, Essence, O! The Oprah Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal among others. The beauty- and fashion-conscious Marie Claire defied the trend, with a 10% gain, and women’s luxury title W gained 16.6%.
Meredith’s Executive Vice President and President of Media Sales Dick Porter told Ad Age that advertisers are targeting their audiences. “If they’re doing broad, TV is doing that role.” Meredith titles include Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, and EatingWell. That title dropped 11.2% YoY in ad pages, despite its popularity. Effective with the September/October 2012 issue, EatingWell magazine will raise its rate base from 500,000 to 600,000, an increase of 70 percent from this time last year. In January 2012, Meredith raised the magazine's rate base from 350,000 to 500,000.
Generalized news magazines saw some extreme highs and lows. TIME dropped nearly 21% to 227 ad pages, and The Week plummeted 31.5%; while Newsweek bucked the trend with gains of 27.5%.
Spanish-language titles are strongly on the uptick. People En Espanol gained 16.2%, Ser Padres (the Spanish-language version of Parents, another Meredith title) 24.6%, and Siempre Mujer 26.2%.
Highs and Lows by Category
As Min Online details, only two categories (toiletries and cosmetics; apparel and accessories) saw increased ad pages in Q1, while automotive took a pounding with a 35.8% decrease.
Still, home and lifestyle titles overall had some strong gains.
Fine Cooking was up 76.9% to just over 15 ad pages; Veranda leapt 64.1%; and new-ish food title Dash was up 52.2%.