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Issue for December 2011

What Publishers Expect in 2012

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Top publishing executives share their personal and professional goals for 2012.

By Meredith L. Dias

With 2011 winding down and the economy still uncertain, we wondered what publishers had in mind for the coming year. We surveyed hundreds of magazine publishers and executives to determine some of the common personal and professional goals. Many will amp up their digital efforts, while others will promote print products that continue to drive revenue. Some are hopeful and others are pessimistic. These varied responses reflect an industry in flux as digital reading devices such as the iPad2, Kindle Fire, and Nook Color find their footing and work out the kinks. And, as the responses reveal, print is anything but dead. For some publishers, print products continue to drive most of their profits.

Human Resource Executive, LRP Publications
Frequency: Monthly
Description: Magazine focusing on strategic HR issues.

David Shadovitz, editor and co-publisher: "From the standpoint of our publication, we will continue to focus on providing relevant and compelling content that can make a meaningful difference in the jobs of senior HR leaders, the audience we serve. Our editorial team is well positioned to track and report on the most pressing HR issues facing organizations today. As we enter into 2012, HRE is looking to build on its already strong presence in the digital arena with some exciting new features and capabilities. In particular, we've received an extremely positive reaction to our digital, smartphone, and tablet editions, which we've now been producing for roughly a year. In 2012, our plan is to continue identifying new ways to provide value to the HR community through digital media.

"Personally, I will continue to focus on the basics: ensuring that all our editorial team members are having the kinds of conversations that are required to understand the needs, interests, and concerns of our audience -- and are continuing to deliver stories and articles that can make a concrete difference in our readers' jobs. Further, I'm looking to devote more time to exploring new ways to take advantage of the various digital products we're now offering to our audience.

"Like any business, I'm convinced our future success hinges on our ability to continue to innovate."

Echelon magazine, Echelon Business Media, Inc.
Frequency: Bimonthly
Description: Magazine for the LGBT business community.

Michael Lamb, CEO and editor in chief: "First, let me say that I am hopeful that 2012 will bring in more advertising dollars. The past couple of years have been difficult as the economy faltered. As an LGBT business publication, Echelon magazine relies primarily on the existence of diversity budgets. However, these monies are usually gone first when budget slashing is a priority.

"Since 2004, Echelon has existed and survived to bring informative information to our readers. We have indeed changed with the times in order to create new revenue sources and opportunities that will grasp the attention of potential buyers.

"In 2009, we ceased publishing our print version and went to a digital model. It is truly an amazing option for publishers to keep in step with the current media consumption.

"Since LGBT business owners are also part of our pipeline, we have recently launched GoGayBiz, which is an online directory of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses. We expect to create an associated mobile app for this site in the near future.

"In addition, we are producing the Echelon Pride in Business Expo in Los Angeles in June 2012. This event will bring together franchisers, HR recruiters and corporate America at a 2 day event to stimulate economic growth within our community."

Buffalo Spree, Buffalo Spree Publishing, Inc.
Frequency: Monthly
Description: The magazine of Western New York.

Larry Levite, publisher and chairman: "We are expecting to do a 7 percent increase in print sale. Ninety-five percent of our revenue comes from print. We of course have quite a few glossies other than our city mag, and custom publishing will account for about 25 percent of the 7 percent."

Anonymous comment

"I hesitate to go on record with my honest appraisal of what likely lies in store for me and my publication in 2012. It ain't optimistic. Thanks for the offer, though."

CORAL and AMAZONAS magazines, Reef to Rainforest Media, Inc.
Frequency: Bimonthly
Description: CORAL: The reef and marine aquarium magazine. AMAZONAS: The freshwater aquariums and tropical discovery magazine.

James Lawrence, editor and publisher: "Now that CORAL dominates its niche (coral reefs and marine aquariums), we have embarked on the launch of a new title aimed at freshwater aquariums and rainforest environments. This is AMAZONAS, one the world's legendary freshwater aquarium magazines, hithertofore available only in German. We have a license to produce it in English and to add relevant content from contributors in the US, UK, Canada, and elsewhere. Our (ambitious) goal is to have it in the black by the end of 2012.

"Both magazines will have high-quality print and simultaneous digital editions.

"We are totally revamping our websites, first to a new micro site for each magazine where we can sell subscriptions and ancillary products. The first is now live for AMAZONAS, www.amazonasmagazine.com.

"We are also completely revamping and rebranding an older site to become our new corporate content site, Reef2Rainforest.com.

"Doubling our work load will mean stricter self-discipline and tighter scheduling controls. We will add staff as well as virtual staff in farflung places. (We have editors in Britain, New Jersey, and California, and marketing wizards in Minnesota and Massachusetts. Managing these long-distance relationships from Vermont is an art and something we hope to excel at.)"

DINE magazine, DINE Magazine Inc.
Frequency: Annually (every September)
Description: Toronto magazine for food lovers.

Sara Waxman, publisher and editor in chief: "I expect that editorial will be more edgy and our distribution will be more creative. Our research shows that busy people prefer to read personal analysis by an educated palate in order to learn where to best spend their dining dollar, so we anticipate retaining the loyalty of our readers and gaining new ones. Advertisers do not want to shoot with a scattergun in the hopes of reaching their target market; they are searching for focused marketing aimed directly at the people they want to reach. That is exactly what DINE magazine offers. Advertisers want not only a hard copy, but a virtual magazine backed up by a continuously updated website and a quarterly newsletter. For all of the above, the economy dictates a very competitive rate card.

"And so for DINE magazine 2012, our sixth year, our expectations for growth and quality are higher than ever."

Meredith L. Dias is senior research editor of STRAT and Editors Only.

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QR Codes on the Rise

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM

In the news: More and more magazines are using QR codes to provide bonus content to smartphone-using subscribers.

In our September 2010 issue, we discussed the use of QR codes in magazines. Back then, the technology had only just begun to take root in the United States. (It's been in use in Japan for years.) Now that smartphones have become household items, the demand for mobile content is on a meteoric rise, so QR codes are potentially more lucrative than ever.

Today, Meredith Corp. has adopted the Microsoft Tag technology to engage its smartphone users. All readers need to do is download the Microsoft Tag app and scan the code with their smartphones. This will bring them to bonus content. However, it's still unclear just how beneficial this technology will be to magazine advertisers. Read more here.

Also notable:

Google Currents

After months of buzz, Google has finally unveiled Google Currents, a new publishing platform for tablet and smartphone content. Currents, available on both Android and iOS, allows publishers to make their online content look more attractive on smaller portable reading devices. It can sync with Google News, Google+ streams, and other social media sites to facilitate widespread sharing of content. To read more, click here.

Kindle Fire: Early Adopters' Verdict

The Kindle Fire has received nearly as much buzz as its competitor, the Apple iPad. This device, after all, offers many of the same features available on the iPad -- for about $300 less. The moment of truth is upon us, and early adopters are weighing in with their reviews. Common complaints include the absence of a volume button and "fat-finger" touch issues on the small screen. Others commend the device for offering so many features at such a low price. Read more about the e-reader's reception here.

New Ad Executive at Time Warner

Media giant Time Warner has hired Laura Lang as the online advertising executive of its magazine division. The company has been trying to fill this open position for nearly a year in hopes of maximizing online ad revenue. Read more here.

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