Mag Rack: PReSSing On

While it was reported that several major advertisers, including General Motors and Procter & Gamble, had purchased Monroe Mendelsohn's new research tool PReSS, or the Publication Readership Satisfaction Survey, Mag Rack has heard that some members of the seemingly resistant publishing community have now signed on for the service which makes its debut in November.

PReSS claims to offer media planners of means the ability to evaluate magazines on metrics that go beyond audience measurement, but delve into the all-elusive but important level of engagement by surveying users on traits like "I look forward to every issue," and "Is enjoyable to read."

Hearst's Esquire, O, the Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire have signed contracts in what is believed to be a six-figure deal.

Also, Bauer's In Touch Weekly, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The Sporting News have signed on, as well as several smaller niche publishers.

Conspicuously absent are any books from publishing giants Time Inc. and Conde Nast. It is believed that while advertisers may have everything to gain, and only dollars to lose with this new research tool, individual magazines may be inclined to pooh-pooh anything that has the potential to make their magazines look bad.

Evidence of that may be that only single titles from Hearst have signed on, rather than the entire company adopting the research.

Costs for PReSS have also been sighted by many as being prohibitive. Mag Rack hears that these fees can run in the range of $75,000.

It remains to be seen as to whether this research has the impact that Mendelsohn hopes for. Some may believe that PReSS doesn't offer a whole lot more than Mediamark Research Inc.'s data, while others may prefer to stick to the tried and true: Comp Coverage and CPM when selecting magazines (or who took them to lunch last).

Sparking Intrigue

Mag Rack has received yet another intriguing invitation to what is presumably a magazine launch party. This time, a small yellow card had two wooden matches attached to it. The text reads, "It was a SPARK of an idea whose time has come..."

The next line reads: "Save the date for the hottest launch party in town. September 14, 2004."

Some questions come to mind:

Did this magazine mail out real matches? (Mag Rack tried to strike them, but they fell apart. A faint smell of sulfur wafted through the air, though). What are the postal implications of sending fire through the mail? Is this something Tom Ridge should worry about?

What magazine is this? Why "SPARK"? Here are some candidates:

-Time Inc.'s Suede - this magazine is launching on September 14th, though they deny sending the invitation.

-All You - this invite seems to be a bit too hip for a publication that will be delivered to Wal-Mart

-Nuts - this British men's title has been rumored to hit the states, though nothing has been confirmed

Sync, Spa Finder, Cottage Living - these are all out on the newsstands already, and none seem the right fit

Could it be Fire magazine? Hot magazine??

Our guess is that this is either from men's fashion titles Vitals or recently launched Cargo, but admittedly we are clueless.

Best Life off to a Good Start

Best Life, a spin off of Rodale's Men's Health, is off to a hot start on the newsstand. The Audit Bureau of Circulation's initial audit of the new title revealed an average paid circulation of 130,550 issues on newsstands for its Spring/Summer 2003 and Winter 2004 issues, exceeding initial expectations, according to publisher Mary Murcko.

The magazine's September/October '04 issue will be on newsstands August 24th.

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