“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.
Just a week after announcing seven new unscripted series, Bravo Media announced further plans to expand across every platform in 2012, promising to deliver “affluencers” to advertisers. Yesterday, April 4, the network announced a 27% increase in original programming with 11 new and eight returning unscripted series, and two new scripted projects in develoP.M.ent (planned for release in 2013). Bravo continues to partner with prominent producers, writers and experts including internet entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg and long-time Bravo producers, the award-winning Magical Elves.
Bravo added more than 155 new advertisers and 25 new online advertisers last year, marking double digit growth in both national and digital ad revenue. The network ranked No. 1 for brand recall this past year across all advertising formats including standard ads, hybrids and in program placements, according to Nielsen IAG.
“Bravo is able to harness the multi-media touch points with its Affluencers for its advertisers, which results in greater amplification of the sponsors’ message,” said Barbara Bekkedahl, Vice President of Bravo Ad Sales. “Through creative integration in shows, creating custom content, using new interactive technologies and other mechanisms, Bravo partners with advertisers to create co-branded messages that perform at a superior level across important metrics like brand/message recall, likeability and intent to purchase.”
Bravo continues its digital focus with the introduction of what it calls a “sixth passion point,” being digital (adding to the brand’s existing pillars of Food, Fashion, Beauty, Design and Pop Culture). The announcement comes on the heels of Bravo’s hit transmedia initiative “Last Chance Kitchen,” which was interwoven with the Emmy award-winning series “Top Chef.” This on-line series allowed viewers to follow storylines across multiple platforms and garnered an unprecedented eight million video streams. In addition to creating multi-screen interactivity and social experiences across all content, the Digital passion point will provide an expanded develoP.M.ent filter for shows focused on the digital world.
Bravo’s first foray into the digital programming bucket comes from internet guru Randi Zuckerberg, an executive producer on “Silicon Valley” and a second docu-series produced by RelativityREAL called “Huh?” that follows Ben Huh and his eclectic staff at icanhascheezburger.com.
Bravo also announced its next transmedia offering, a Facebook-driven social media game “The Real Housewives: The Game,” launching this summer with the fifth season of “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Bravo also will launch “play along” a real-time viewing experience that allows fans to tackle trivia, weigh-in on polls and predict what will happen next on every device as they watch their favorite shows on air.
“Our Affluencers are passionate about our content, and are the first to try new technologies and engage in social media,” said Frances Berwick, President of Bravo Media and Style. “It’s that combination of passion, engagement and curiosity that has powered our develoP.M.ent of attention-grabbing experiences and trendsetting digital offerings. And it’s allowed us to drive the conversation and provide unique partnership opportunities across every platform.”
Bravo delivered its sixth consecutive record-breaking and youngest-skewing year in 2011, ranking No. 11 in primetime among all cable entertainment networks with adults 18-49, and boasting 10 original series that attracted more than two million total viewers, according to Nielsen. Beyond its linear success, Bravo Digital posted tremendous triple-digit growth since 2007, earning its best year ever with 78 million average monthly page views and over six million average monthly video streams.
NEW SERIES GREENLIGHTS:
Silicon Valley (working title)
Produced by Den of Thieves with Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager serving as Executive Producers along with Randi Zuckerberg as Executive Producer.
Teaming up with internet entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, Bravo captures the intertwining lives of young professionals on the path to becoming Silicon Valley’s next great success stories.
Life After Top Chef
Produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Casey Criley and Nan Strait serving as Executive Producers.
For the first time cameras are taken outside of the “Top Chef” kitchen and into the lives of Bravo’s most beloved former cheftestants as they reach milestones in their personal lives and culinary careers. From opening their own restaurants to expanding their growing franchises, viewers will follow Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, Richard Blais in Atlanta, Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles and Spike Mendelsohn in DC.
Below Deck (working title)
Produced by 51 Minds with Mark Cronin and Courtland Cox serving as Executive Producers and Esther Reyes as Co-Executive Producer.
The upstairs and downstairs worlds collide when this young and single crew of “yachties” live, love and work together onboard a luxurious mega yacht while tending to the ever-changing needs of their wealthy, demanding charter guests.
Huh? (working title)
Produced by RelativityREAL with Tom Forman, Jay Blumenfield, and Tony Marsh serving as Executive Producers.
Ever wonder who is behind those hilarious cat memes? Bravo goes inside the office of Ben Huh and his eclectic staff at icanhascheezburger.com, one of the largest humor publishers on the Internet known for their popular LOLs and FAILs.
SUR (working title)
Produced by Evolution Media with Douglas Ross, Greg Stewart, Kathleen French, Alex Baskin, Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd serving as Executive Producers.
Best known as one of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Lisa Vanderpump opens the salacious kitchen doors of her exclusive Hollywood restaurant and lounge, SUR. Declaring it the sexiest establishment she’s ever owned and “the place you take your mistress,” Lisa rules over her lively and mischievous staff with a platinum fist.
Produced by RelativityREAL and Ashley Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Productions with Tom Forman, Michaline Babich, Brad Bishop, Ashley Tisdale and Jessica Rhoades serving as Executive Producers.
These single relationship experts can’t seem to practice what they preach as Amy Laurent in New York, Emily Morse in San Francisco and Julia Allison in Los Angeles struggle to stay afloat in the deep end of the dating pool.
Newlyweds: The First Year
Produced by Monkey Kingdom with Will Macdonald, David Granger and Lauren Lazin serving as Executive Producers.
From the moment they say “I do” to their one-year anniversary, cameras capture diverse couples across the coasts experiencing the trials and tribulations of their first year of marriage.
Gallery Girls (working title)
Produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as Executive Producers along with Alexandra Lipsitz and Kris Lindquist as Co-Executive Producers.
Viewers are introduced to seven young women who dream of living a chic and fashionable existence in New York City. Chantal Chadwick, Kerri Lisa, Liz Margulies, Claudia Martinez, Angela Pham, Amy Poliakoff and Maggie Schaffer all share a passion for art, but are divided amongst their Manhattan and Brooklyn lifestyles with vastly different attitudes and tastes towards fashion, art and men.
LA Shrinks (working title)
Produced by Intuitive Entertainment with Kevin Dill and Mechelle Collins serving as Executive Producers along with Elise Duran as Co-Executive Producer.
It takes one to treat one! The professional and personal lives of dynamic experts are exposed as they counsel a wide array of clients at some of the top private practices in Los Angeles.
Decades (working title)
Produced by True Entertainment with Glenda Hersh, Steven Weinstock, Matt Hanna, Kathryn Vaughan and Lauren Eskelin serving as Executive Producers.
Renowned boutique owners, Christos Garkinos and Cameron Silver, show off their exclusive and glamorous world of vintage couture filled with Givenchy, Balenciaga and Chanel.
The Kandi Factory
Produced by True Entertainment and Kandi Koated Entertainment with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh, Mark Ford, Kevin Lopez and Kandi Burruss serving as Executive Producers.
Driven by the success of the special that aired in March, Bravo has greenlit season one of “The Kandi Factory,” starring multi-platinum songwriter and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s” Kandi Burruss. Protégés with no music industry experience are given the opportunity to work with Burruss’ team of experts in Atlanta to master the key elements that will turn them into a pop star.
NEW SCRIPTED DEVELOP.M.ENT:
“22 Birthdays” (working title) focuses on the sordid and scandalous activities of a group of parents at an exclusive private school, with each episode centered around an extravagant and lavish birthday party. The project comes to Bravo from UCP Studios, writers and executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and executive producers Doug Liman and Dave Bartis from Hypnotic.
“Blowing Sunshine” (working title) is set at a fictional private rehabilitation center and follows its staff and high profile patients. The project comes to Bravo from writer and executive producer Jason Ning (Perception, 90210).
Bravo’s fan favorite series and memorable characters return as the network confirmed new season orders for “Flipping Out” season six, “Tabatha Takes Over” season five and Million Dollar Decorators” season two will be back with LA designers Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kathryn Ireland, Jeffrey Alan Marks and Mary McDonald. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone returns this summer to host “Top Chef Masters” season four and real estate magnets Madison Hildebrand, Josh Altman and Josh Flagg are back for “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” season five. Additionally, Bravo greenlit second seasons for “Chef Roblé & Co.” and “Pregnant in Heels,” which will premiere on Tuesday, May 15 at 10P.M. ET/PT. The Emmy nominated series, “Inside The Actors Studio,” continues its 18th season with the cast and co-creator of Glee, premiering on Monday, April 9th at 8P.M. ET/PT. Later this year, host James Lipton will welcome the cast and creator of “Mad Men” and also celebrate the show’s milestone 250th episode as he unveils the best moments from all 287 past guests.
Forbes Media announced the relaunch of its lifestyle title ForbesLife last November, and has just released its April issue. While for 22 years it was polybagged to 800,000 of Forbes' 900,000 subscribers, it will now be offered on newsstand, and available in replica form for Nooks, Kindles and iPads, providing cross-platform access to what Forbes calles “the best in luxury journalism.”
It will have to be, to stand out. As Women's Wear Daily observes, "It’s only March and four luxury titles have revealed they will launch (or relaunch) to tell the tales of billionaire bachelors, fine Parisian restaurants and the latest antiaging skin procedures." February saw the launch of Bloomberg Pursuits, aimed at its Bloomberg Terminal clientele with their median household income of $452,000, 90% male. Jason Binn, founder of Niche Mediam, will publish Du Jour magazine in September, targeting readers with a net worth of more than $5 million and an average home value of $1.5 million. And Time has resurrected its Time Style & Design after a three-year hiatus. Advertisers include Harry Winston and Bulgari, and the magazine is delivered to 500,000 affluent subscribers.
ForbesLife and Time Style & Design of course share strong journalistic parentage. Forbes has easy access to the world's luminaries, which is the value proposition of ForbesLife. “With personality-driven covers, the new ForbesLife offers personal connections to the world’s tastemakers, with a focus on putting power in the hands of the consumer,” said the company in a release. “The magazine was re-imagined for the social world we live in." The April issue boasts a new modern look, photo-driven editorial content, first-person storytelling, and “unprecedented access to the most important people in the world...focused on giving candid glimpses into the biggest names in business, showing how the rich and ambitious really live."
“In integrating ForbesLife with its parent and introducing a dazzling design courtesy of the great Robert Preist and his associate, Grace Lee, we are amplifying our nearly 22-year-old founding mission of celebrating the rewards of success with flair and style,” said Robert Forbes, President of ForbesLife. ForbesLife readers represent elite influencers, spending more on travel, apparel and accessories, fine watches and jewelry, consumer electronics, home furnishings, and luxury vehicles than readers of any other business publication.
In the newest issue, Warren Buffett writes about his decision to invest on his own at age twenty five, a choice that ended up netting him over $50 billion dollars. The cover story takes readers inside the home of bachelor billionaire Elon Musk, South African tech-genius responsible for PayPal, Tesla, Space X, and supposedly was the inspiration behind Iron Man. (A dubious claim: the first “Iron Man” comic was released in 1963, Musk born in 1971, but perhaps ForbesLife is talking about the films.) John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of Patrón and Paul Mitchell hair products, takes ForbesLife for a ride on luxurious private train car, The Patrón Tequila Express. Jay Leno gives a tour of his $20 million garage, equipped with the most sought-after vehicles in the world. Also showcased in the issue are the lives of philanthropist Susan Dell and car magnate Charles Royce; a wine tour of Paris by world renowned wine writer Robert Parker Jr.; and a satire by P.J. O’Rourke.
Additional highlights of the new ForbesLife include sections on the best in travel, auctions, charities, high-end sporting events and luxury goods as well as party pictures from exclusive Forbes branded events.
Is now the time to launch a luxury title? Absolutely, observes WWD, which observes that year-to-date, luxury title W is up 63 ad pages (20%), and Departures kicked off 2012 with a 22% rise in revenue and 10% hike in paging during Q1.
Flurry, the mobile app analytics and ad platform provider, believes that ad spends are badly mismatched, compared to where consumers spend their media time; and are underutilizing mobile to reach the affluent and largely female mobile consumer.
Flurry compared the ad spend across numerous media to the time consumers spend on those media, based on its own and publicly-available data.
TV and media command the highest ad spends in the U.S. in 2011, with 43% and 29% of the total, respectively. Web, Radio and Mobile channels garner 16%, 11% and 1%, respectively.
Compare that to media consumption, where TV leads with 40%, followed by mobile at 23% and Web at 22%. Print is dead last in consumption, at 6%.
Thus, concludes Flurry, “Despite the fact that mobile advertising is growing, the platform is far from getting rational levels of spending compared to other media.” Likely this is because of the rapid evolution of the mobile app platform: the iOS and Android app economy are just three-and-a-half years old. It is difficult to quantify and measure, and less mature than the Web. Mobile inventory is more difficult to purchase in volume, and standards are still evolving for ad serving, tracking and settlement.
The Mobile Audience Demographic
Flurry then measured the audience segments that best respond to mobile advertising, using its own AppCircle ad network and publicly-available data. Flurry took a sample of 60,000 active daily iOS users, and calculated the effective cost per thousand, or eCPM earned by publishers.
Women aged 25–34 fetched the highest eCPMs at around $13, based on high click-through and conversions rates. Women led all of the target segments, aged 25 and older.
Measuring eCPM by household income, the income ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 are the most valuable. The eCPM for a $60k-$80k household commands the highest eCPM at $8.33, and $80k-$100k with an eCPM of $8.25. For households under $35k, the eCPM is just $1.98.
Finally, in terms of education, bachelor-level consumers command the highest eCPM, at $7.92, with master-or-greater consumers second at $6.51.
Flurry’s analysis is that females and males between 25 and 34 years old, who have higher levels of disposable income and a bachelor’s degree or higher, more strongly interact with mobile ads. These largely self-directed individuals are typically attorneys, physicians, engineers, professors, scientists and so forth.
The good news to mobile advertisers is that the most highly sought demographics already interact strongly with mobile ads, which of course is poised for radical growth. It is up to the advertisers to meet the consumers halfway: they are waiting.
Mobile ads will reach a couple of demographic sweet spots, according to a Nielsen, Inc. survey. Nielsen in January surveyed 20,000 mobile consumers to assess market penetration and demographics of smart phones where those ads are delivered.
Overall smart phone penetration stood at 48% in January. But those in the 24-34 age group showed the greatest proportion of smart phone ownership, with 66% saying they owned a smart phone. In that same group, 8 of 10 of those who had purchased a new device in the last three months chose a smart phone. Among those who chose a device in the last three months, more than 50% of those under 65 had chosen a smartphone.
Income plays a significant role in smart phone ownership as well. When age and income are both taken into account, older subscribers with higher incomes are more likely to have a smart phone. For example, those 55-64 making over 100K a year are almost as likely to own a smart phone as those in the 35-44 age bracket making 35-75K per year.
Market researcher firm eMarketer expects more than 26 million mobile phone users to upgrade to smart phones in the next two years, to reach more than 50% of U.S. mobile users by 2014.
Publisher Steve Deluca is reporting ad revenue and paging in the Departures March/April “International Style” issue have climbed 36% and 20%, respectively. Those gains helped fuel a 22% hike in Q1 ad revenue for Departures (and publisher American Express) over 2010.
"Luxury marketers recognize DEPARTURES as the desired brand for reaching truly affluent consumers who are primed to spend on their next quality purchase,” said Deluca, and the brands prove it. New advertisers in March/April include Burberry, Paul Stuart, Thomas Pink, Michael Kors, Net-A-Porter, Blancpain and Ippolita; they join legacy advertisers Dior, Giorgio Armani, Hermes and Chanel, among others.
Luxury titles have proved—perhaps maddeningly—recession proof. Departures gained 43% in ad pages in 2011 year-over-year (YOY), and rival title Afar gained 110%, according to minOnline’s 2011 boxscore report of bimonthlies. “No matter what is going on with the economy, people are still getting married and traveling,” said minOnline. Of 22 magazines, Departures led in page difference, gaining 230 pages. Afar was second with 146. Rounding out the top five were Martha Stewart Weddings, and the less luxuriant Handguns and Weight Watchers.
Departures is a four-color glossy for American Express Platinum Card and Centuriou members, and publishes seven issues per year. Its average reader is 49, with 53% men and 47% women, and an average household income of $475,970.
The March/April issue marks celebrity stylist Amanda Ross’ first fashion portfolio after already writing her regular “Uptown Girl” column on style trends in Departures’ “Style Etc.” section and jewelry features. Other content in this issue includes a profile about Donna Karan’s philanthropic mission in Haiti and Martine Assouline, co-founder and co-publisher of Assouline Publishing, shares her insider secrets to shopping small boutiques in Paris.
The online journal Huffington Post and owner AOL will launch a video-streaming network between Q2 and Q3, with 12 hours of programming running five days a week.
Journalist and founder Arianna Huffington announced the network yesterday in an enthusiastic post on her website, nicknamed “HuffPo.” As she described, AOL had acquired HuffPo a year ago this week. HuffPost Streaming Network will be overseen by founding editor Roy Sekoff and will sit on every available platform, including desktops, smartphones, tablets and “over-the-top TV,” that is, off network. “We won't be limited by the usual time constraints of TV,” claims Huffington.
While the network will launch with 12 hours of programming, HuffPo plans to increase that to 16 hours by end-of-year 2013. Sekoff described plans for a “never-ending talk show,” and plans to post 30,000 clips during the first year, writes WWD. Content will “emulate the online experience,” writes Huffington, with its impressive—albeit largely unqualified—statistics. Huffington claimed in her announcement the site has 36.2 million unique visitors a month, where its advertising section claims 28. Huffington further claims 253,331 new comments on a single day (January 25 2012) and 1.4 million Facebook referrals.
The Huffington Post advertiser section appears both on its site and on AOL, and enthuses to advertisers that it is “Breaking the news—and the mold.” HuffPo offers only vague statements about its demographic. Their breakdown of their reach:
- 12.8M women every month, who HuffPo reminds advertisers “control 85% of household spending”
- HuffPo visitors are “more likely to have a [household income] of over 150K than average internet users”
- “More likely to have a post-graduate degree than average internet users”
- “More likely to be business decision-makers than average internet users”
“Affluents” with a minimum $100,000 in yearly household income spend far more time online than the general population, reports eMarketer. They spend 26.2 hours online per week, versus 21.7 for the population overall. But they watch far less television, at 17.6 hours per week versus the 34 for the average American.
Affluents number 58.5 million, and 33% owns smartphones. Research suggests that the digital ads that reach affluents are—
- Opt-in email ads
- Sponsored websites from search results
- Targeted ads, relevant to what the affluent is doing or searching in the moment
- Ads tied to demographics (e.g., local restaurants, gyms, grocery stores).
On the downside, affluents have money because they don’t throw it away. “The vast majority…do not regard themselves as rich, however, and don’t spend as if they were,” said eMarketer Analyst Mark Dolliver. Of those 58.5 million, only 11% has a household income of more than $250,000. Affluents are in fact cutting back. So, ads for luxury goods and destinations are less likely to reach the affluent than ads for consumer goods and deals on dining and entertainment.
When in October 2011 Bloomberg announced it would launch a luxury lifestyle magazine, a Poynter Institute editor described it as “What the 1% reads.” Bloomberg Pursuits is a spin-off of its investor-oriented title Bloomberg Markets, and will debut with a March 2012 issue.
Bloomberg describes its readership as the "Global Financial Elite." Pursuits is exclusive to the 310,000 subscribers to the Bloomberg Professional service, who also receive Markets. The company describes the readership as market-movers, young, business leaders, and influencers with discerning tastes.” (Hence Pursuit’s hiring one editor to report solely upon luxury watches.) The demographics are:
- Age 38
- Average household income $452,000
- Male (90%)
“Our readers don’t just own and appreciate luxury,” said editor Vince Bielski in an interview with WWD. “They have a command and mastery of their toys.” WWD got an advance look at the debut issue, which will contain 46 pages of editorial and 30 ad pages, with such brands as Hermès, Chanel and Rolls-Royce. Issue 2 is not due until December, then the book will go quarterly in 2012. Feature articles include such titles as "Collectors Revive Picasso" and "Fine Tuning Ferrari."
Advertisers are just waking up to unmarried adult “singletons,” according to a Fortune story. Despite the perception of miserable loners sitting at home, they socialize up to five nights a week, and spend more than $10,000 per person per year more than married counterparts with children.
The Fortune story was adapted from the book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by New York University sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. Among Klinenberg’s findings:
- 28% of U.S. households now consist of one person, 40% of city households
- Average per capita annual expenditure was $34,471 in 2010, versus $23,179 per person in high-income households with children
- The majority of singletons is female, at 18 million versus 14 million men
- 18-34 year olds are the smallest but fastest growing demographic
Singletons spend their discretionary income largely on socializing several nights a week at bars and restaurants, in special-interest clubs and joining gyms. This, speculated CEO David Eastman of advertising giant JWT, is why alcohol advertisers like Smirnoff now favor images of friends at communal tables, versus couples. Elsewhere, Nestlé reported that 90% of its Lean Cuisine meals are eaten alone, and failed when it attempted to market double-serving meals.
Still, the singleton demographic is largely untapped. Only a handful of big-ticket advertisers, including Norwegian Cruise Lines, Coldwell Banker, Lowe’s, Chevrolet and DeBeers have targeted singles. DeBeers now offers a “right-hand ring,” a diamond designed for single women, and Norwegian Cruise Lines offers “studio staterooms” for single travelers.