What is Social Media Doing to Magazine Employment?

18 04 2010

Innovations in social media have and continue to take a toll on the employment within the publishing industry.  Many companies are feeling the effects of digitizing print and cross-branding.  As mentioned in a previous post, Cross-Promotion: Good or Bad?, the latest trend in publishing is cross-branding into other mediums such as kitchen appliances and cell phone accessories.  The question posed then was what happens to those employees with careers specific to the magazine industry?

Well, with the latest layoffs at Meredith, Inc., the answer is becoming more clear.  Meredith Inc.  in its second round of layoffs for the year, cut 20 employees mainly in the editorial section of the company.

Another company taking the initiative to switch employment up is Hearst Publishing, who has moved some of it’s top Editors around, giving them different positions at different companies.  The switch was a reaction to Hearst’s ‘Town & Country’ and ‘Veranda’s’ decreased advertising revenue.  By moving editors to different publications, many employees were left to take lower positions.

Print and digital groups within magazine companies are merging more and more, and many companies have begun placing the two in the same category.  Because, the two areas work so closely together now, companies such as ‘Newsweek’, have started to take that grouping to the employment spectrum.  ‘Newsweek’ just put their editorial director, Mark Miller, in charge of both print and web areas of the company.  Now employees working for the print and web section, both report to Miller.

This goes to show just how much the publishing industry is changing and evolving into something that was once unthinkable.  Due to social media, employees are being downgraded, cut, and merged.  With the development of digital applications and an opportunity to gain more revenue, do you think the employment will get better or remain stable?  What do you think the effects will be when it comes to gaining profit that had been lost over the past few years due to free content on websites?


How Much is too Much When Charging for the iPad Apps?

17 04 2010

This month’s  launch of Apple’s iPad is showing promise for magazine digital issues.  As of now, those magazines that have applications in correlation with the iPad are selling on an issue-basis, with no option for the buying of subscriptions.  For years, publishers have been losing annual revenue due to the increased use of their websites by readers.  Readers’ thinking has clearly been why pay for an issue when the information I want is on their website? Now that the iPad has launched, magazines are getting back into the mode of charging and pricing.  Their dilemma: how much to charge for the digital issues.

Those readers who have invested in the iPad feel that charging the same price as newsstand print editions is unfair.  Many reason that the savings on print costs are going to the annual revenue for the magazines, when they should be focused on saving money for the readers.  Their response?  The higher quality than print and the added features to content will convince readers that the prices are worth it.  The question now is whether it really is worth it.

Time, Inc. has commented that they will soon be offering subscriptions to digital and/or print as one, and the price should be lower than newsstand circulations.

Another magazine that is taking into account the pricing and the lack of pricing that it once was is ‘The Economist’.  ‘The Economist’ has increased its pricing for online content.  They have also switched from 1 full year to 90 days of content straight out of the weekly print edition being available online to anyone, making subscription holders the only readers able to see content from the printed edition, online.  This initiative is a build up to charging for the digital version over the iPad.  They believe that by making price changes now, the consumer is better prepared to pay for weekly editions on a digital means.

As of now, pricing is up in the air and magazines are feeling out what actually works and what needs to change.  They must do this before offering subscription prices.  Do you think that charging the same price for iPad applications and digital versions as print circulations is a problem?

What Makes a Magazine ‘Hot’?

17 04 2010

Just last month, Mediaweek released their Magazine Hot List for 2010.  Included was a list of the top 10 magazines that gained above $60 million in annual revenue and 10 Under 60 list for those that gained below $60 million.  The past few years have been difficult for magazine publishing companies, due to the recession and technological outbreaks that threaten print circulations.  So how exactly is a good magazine measured and placed in a top 10 list?

Mediaweek's Magazine Hot List 2010

Since publishers are reaching beyond their magazine’s printed addition and going into other areas of business as well, magazine names are no longer based off the reputation of the printed addition.  There are several contributing factors when judging the best out there in print publications.  Mediaweek’s criteria included the number of pages and page number increases, advertising sales and the addition of new advertising accounts, and circulation sales.  Each are greatly caused by the successful innovation and use of social media.  By using different social medias, magazines are able to promote their brand and make it known that they are still out there.  Also, publishers and magazines can easily find out what  readers want, thus, making their name more appealing.

Those magazines that placed in one of the top 10 lists, have some sort of internet presence that makes them stand out, not to mention a variety of multi-platform innovations that deal with the marketing of each brand overall:

Organic Gardening – ‘WaterWorks’ project

Saveur – Editor-in-chief, James Oseland, appears as a judge for the TV show, ‘Top Chef’

People – Printed spinoffs such as People’s ‘StyleWatch’ and iPhone applications

Women’s Health – iPhone apps, online services, and ‘Are You Game?’ event

Cosmopolitan – Events such as ‘StarLaunch’, ‘Bikini Bash’, and ‘Fun Fearless Male’ competition

Sport’s Illustrated – a customizable website

Family Circle – ‘Momster’ social network

Another magazine that is taking great strides, is Esquire.  Innovations by Editor-in-Chief, David Granger, and the rest of the Esquire community include story art being placed in the white space of pages, no headlines for one issue, and a mix and match cover in which perforated-layer photographs of Barack Obama, Justin Timerlake, and George Clooney could be peeled off, giving the reader the option of combing different facial features of each.  Other innovations include turning their Megan Fox cover shoot into a film, in which they placed the video online and used stills for the article in their print edition, and a print fashion portfolio in which they put into a short film, emailed it to international fashionistas, and distributed it virally.

So it’s clear that social media plays a very significant role in promoting a magazine’s brand, eventually affecting Mediaweek’s criteria for their top 10 list.  That being said, do you think the criteria are a good choice in judging the best?  Is there any other criteria that should be taken into account?