Mag Bag: DVDs At Newsstands Have Bright "Future"
Bundling CDs with magazines has provided a leg up at the newsstand, but according to Future US Inc.--publisher of mens' and women's lifestyle mags covering games, sports, and computers--DVDs are the next wave for driving newsstand sales. With a focus on digital media, youth, and lifestyles, Future's mags recommend themselves to DVD packaging, including titles like Guitar World, Revolver Magazine, Women's Health and Fitness, PC Gamer, Independent Playstation Magazine, and Xbox Magazine, an officially licensed accessory to the Microsoft game console. The inclusion of DVDs has yielded impressive newsstand results, according to Future, driving a 12.5 percent increase in retail sales on a dollar basis, thus placing Future's titles ahead of rival Dennis Publishing (which are 10th and 11th by retail dollar sales, respectively).
The DVDs are cheap to produce, but seem to justify higher newsstand prices in consumers' minds (an average of almost $9), so Future has decided to follow the money with new DVD-only products that cut print publication costs out of the picture entirely. This week, Future began selling DVDs packaged like magazines at newsstands--an interesting move that shifts retail responsibilities to smaller, more numerous, and more accessible venues at street level. This week, Guitar World sent 300,000 copies of an instructional DVD to newsstands, to be followed by a Women's Health & Fitness DVD in June, with other DVDs planned for following months--all priced at $9.99.
Engaged? Not Really
Magazine execs have touted magazines' capacity to drive reader "engagement" with ads over the last year, but a new study from Starch Communications Research suggests the truth isn't nearly so rosy. According to Starch's study of 25 major titles, common measures of engagement like duration of reading and volume of content read showed no correlation with the number of ads readers remembered.
PC Magazine Announces New Small Biz Awards
PC Magazine is launching a new award competition called the "SMB 25" that will honor small businesses (defined as having fewer than 300 employees) that made use of technology to substantially expand profitability. The magazine began accepting nominations on Wednesday and the contest remains open through June 30, with winners to be announced in September and profiled in the October 3 issue.
Hearst Names Levine Editorial Director
Cathleen P. Black, president of Hearst Magazines, announced on Thursday that Ellen Levine, editor in chief of Good Housekeeping, would be the first to occupy the newly created role of overall editorial director at Hearst. In her new executive position, Levine will be charged with bolstering sales of Hearst's existing publications and directing development of new titles globally. Levine will also be responsible for brand extensions including books and digital publications and tracking consumer demand. She previously had a hand in the 2000 launch of Hearst's O, The Oprah Magazine.
Levine's position at Good Housekeeping will be assumed by Rosemary Ellis, who currently serves as senior vice-president and editorial director of Prevention. In 2005 Ellis directed the re-launch of Prevention's Web site, after which traffic more than doubled. Ellis also led the rollout of TV brand extensions for Prevention, including twice-monthly segments on NBC's "Today Show" and prime-time specials on ABC, among others.
Custom Publishing Council Gets New Directors
Marking its eighth anniversary of existence as a trade association, the Custom Publishing Council, which serves as an advocate for a range of "custom publications" including corporate branded marketing mags and business-to-business advertising publications, announced a new board of directors. Michael Winkleman, president of Leverage Media, will serve as president and chairman of the board, which consists of Simon Kelly, chief operating officer of Story Worldwide, Chris McMurry, president of McMurry Inc.. Jim Offel, general manager of DCP, Jane Ottenberg, president of the Magazine Group, Joseph Pulizzi, group director of Penton Publishing, and Craig Waller, chief marketing and sales officer of Pace Communications.