Reed Business & Printing Group Hangs Tough in 2007

April 14, 2008

Reed Business Information Business & Publishing Ad Page Numbers

Design News Gains Ad Pages Over Rival Machine Design in Otherwise Dismal Year in Ad Pages for RBI’s Manufacturing Group

April 8, 2008

The one bright spot in a year that saw Reed Business Information’s manufacturing group shed about 7.5% of its ad pages from the previous year (see chart below) is that not only did the flagship book, Design News, gain ad pages in a very challenged year for the rest of the manufacturing brands, but it also gained major market share against its main rival, Penton’s Machine DesignMachine Design went from 2,118.65 ad pages in 2006 to 1,894.24 in 2007 for a 10.59% plunge.  Meanwhile, Design News increased its total from 2006 of 1,638.56 to 1,676.79 in 2007 (38.23 pages, 2.33% increase).  That translates into a market share increase of 3.4 points, from 43.6% to almost 47%.

Aside from Design News gaining pages and valuable market share, the rest of the manufacturing group that I follow was in the red.  Without the contributions of Design News, the group was down 11.11%, as opposed to the 7.5% drop with Design News.

Reed Business Information Manufacturing group ad page numbers

(Apologies for the sloppy chart.)

RBI Media Group Hit Hard in 2007

April 7, 2008

Not a single book I took a look at in the Reed Business Information Media & Publishing group made gains in ad pages in 2007. Video Business had the best year, only losing 5 ad pages for a negligible .5% decrease. The TV group (Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News) were hit hardest, both down circa 20% for a total of 506 pages lost since 2006. This is the market that saw the print death of Access Intelligence’s Cable World in 2007 (full disclosure: AI was my previous employer).

The Variety group all told lost about 800 pages, going from about 8,000 in 2006 to about 7,000 in 2007. Though I did not reach out to any of the magazines’ publishers (owing to not wanting to complicate the lives of anyone going through a sales process at a public company), I hear that 2008 is a more challenged year in all of these categories. I’ll have the first quarter Reed numbers for you soon.

Reed Business Information Media Group Numbers

Admitting Time

April 4, 2008

It’s hard to run a media brand (maggrabbag.com) while building another one (The Post-Advertising Age).  Once a 5-times-a-day blog, a one-time-a-day blog, mag grab bag, I’m sad to say, will now be a less-than-that blog.

Don’t worry.  I’ll still write about the parties I go to, and I’ll finish my ad page analysis of Reed Business Information Numbers.  I will also continue to present other sets of ad page numbers.

For now, here’s your Mag of the Week: Sports Illustrated.

– Should have won the week of the SI Swimsuit Party.

– Partnered with Taco Bell on a very misguided but in some ways stimulating ad campaign (you know what I’m talking about guys….)

– The mag is being assailed by animal rights activists this week according to an article at Foliomag.com.  That scores points in my book.

RBI Gifts & Furnishings Group is Down 2.42% in 2007

April 1, 2008

What caused Home Textiles Today to grow in 2007 while Home Accents Today and Furniture Today shrank?  You would think that because of the implosion of the housing market, that marketers that depend on its growth would uniformly cut back: And they did in the case of FT and HAT.

While consumers might purchase furniture and accents at any time, they tend to do so when moving into a new living space.  However, the textiles market is more of a “remodeling” market: Drapes, fabric for sofas, etc.  Look at Cygnus’ Qualified Remodeler: up almost 70% in ad pages in 2007 (an a relatively small, but still substantial base).

Reed business information gifts and furnishings ad page numbers

Note: JCK is Jeweler’s Circular Keystone, one of Reed’s bigger books, but more of a catalog than a magazine.

Britney Cover Creates PR Stir

March 31, 2008

This is my last posting about The Atlantic Britney cover.  I promise.  It’s been a great run, though, hasn’t it?

I ran into Zachary Hooper of The Rosen Group (PR to the magazine world) at The Atlantic‘s tea party last week, and asked him what the PR fallout has been for the Britney Spears cover.

maggrabbag:  When the issue hit newsstands, did the amount of requests you received from journalists increase?  Were they the same journalists as usual?

Hooper:  The Britney cover has attracted a lot of attention from the press.  Although the amount of inquiries has been on par with other recent stories like the Obama cover, the Britney story did open doors to some new outlets.  We also received a lot of attention from the marketing and advertising press.

mgb: What positive marketing effects from PR has this cover demonstrated?

Hoop: In tandem with several other recent stories, the Britney cover story has succeeded in demonstration our continued engagement with contemporary culture.

mgb: When you go out into the media space and try to gauge what people are saying about The Atlantic today and since the cover hit newsstands and what they were saying two or three months ago, what’s the difference?  What were they saying then?  What are they saying now?

Hoop: The Atlantic often provokes conversation and debate on a wide range of issues.  So while the Britney cover is definitely attracting a lot of buzz, we’re also seeing a steady level of discourse about magazine articles and web content on the election, the economy and the war in Iraq.  If anything, we’re adding to the mix another level of conversation that we weren’t necessarily seeing before.  The folks talking about our political content are continuing to do so as they always have, but this story has brought in a whole other realm of media coverage on its own.

Magazine of the Week

March 28, 2008

This was an exciting week in magazines with some major personnel moves at some high-profile brands that I also happen to really like.  Jay Lauf left his post as publisher of Wired under new GP David Carey to become publisher of The Atlantic under Justin Smith; his position was filled by Chris Mitchell, who moved from his position as VP/publisher of Details.  There was talk months back that when William Li moved over from publisher of Men’s Vogue to publisher of Conde Nast Portfolio that Details AP Marc Berger might fill the vacancy that Li left.  Will Berger now instead take over at Details?

Other stuff:

More points to Atlantic for a fun panel on gossip at the NYU School of Journalism.

Kudos to WWE for having the courage to launch a print pub into a recession and to a demo group that some think will abandon print entirely eventually.  WWE: In this bout, the body slams will be real.  On the other hand, the MPA has not yet issued a directive on performance-enhancing drugs….

Points to Reed’s TWICE and TWICE CES Daily for having impressive years in ad pages in a 2007 that was “challenging” to many publishers.

And congrats to Ideal Media’s Restaurant Business and Foodservice Director for continuing to show huge growth in ad pages in 2008 against some tough, bigger competitors.

But, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the honor has to go to The Atlantic:

– Snagged a new, highly-successful publisher: Wired is a top circulation performer, a National Magazine Award Finalist, and was up over 4% in ad pages in 2007.

– They threw a cool tea party (see above)!

– I really liked the article on Britney Spears.  And I don’t love Britney.  I don’t hate her either.  I nothing her, really.  Still, a fun read.

See you next week, friendos.

Reed Business Information Electronics Group Buoyed by Semiconductor International, TWICE

March 27, 2008

There are many stories that can be told with the Reed Business Information Electronics Group ad page chart (after the jump), but I think there’s one that’s most interesting.  I could talk about the growth of the consumer electronics industry or the growth of the CES show to a whopping 1.85 million net square feet of exhibit space (pushing both TWICE and – especially – TWICE CES Daily up).  I’d rather talk about the boon that Semiconductor International received from the contraction of its market and strategic partnership with the industry’s trade org. That and the chart after the jump.

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Atlantic Media Hosts Tea Time with Bonnie Fuller, et al

March 27, 2008

Francois Navarre of X17, Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine, Richard Johnson of Page Six, Brandy Navarre of X17, Richard Samuels, moderator, of the NYU Journalism School, and Bonnie Fuller of American Media

The venue: NYU School of Journalism.  The hosts: The Atlantic and the NYU Graduate School of Journalism.  The attendees: Intellectuals and members of the press.  The mood: Roundtable-y.  The topic: Is Britney Spears crazy?

The panel piggy-backed on the April 2008 Atlantic cover featuring Britney Spears surrounded by photographers for a feature article titled “The Britney Show.”  Though there was some high-minded discussion about the reasons Americans love celebrity gossip (as a replacement for fiction, to connect at the workplace and in other social situations, the morality of the paparazzi, Celebrities, They’re Just Like Us, etc), the conversation often de-evolved into one of the following things:

– “Britney is crazy…”

– “I love that show!”

I heard grumblings in the elevators on the way out that it wasn’t intellectual enough, that they expected something different from The Atlantic.

I disagree.  The rise of celebrity “news” is clearly an important trend in 21st century American society, and though it might be depressing to consider that people are more interested in the minutia of the lives of people they will never meet instead of fiction and what was once known as culture, it is the current state of affairs.  Some of the panelists reveled in this fact (Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine and Francois and Brandy Navarre of X17 and X17online).  Others seemed less enthusiastic personally, though not professionally (Bonnie Fuller of American Media and Richard Johnson of The New York Post‘s Page Six [and “king of New York”, according to Samuels]).  I did get the impression from Johnson, however, that he had personal misgivings about the direction of American interests despite his role (small in comparison to Fuller and X17) in setting that course.  If you were there, and you disagree, please set me straight.  There will be a video of the session on Atlantic Online.

Either way, it all depressed me.   Highlights and a couple more shots after the jump.

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WWE To Launch Magazine For Kids

March 26, 2008

WWE Raw Superstars Poster

Apparently WWE didn’t get the memo about kids not reading magazines any more and unto the ends of the earth.  WWE Kids will be a bi-monthly magazine geared toward 6-14 year olds (does this demo exist?) and will start with the May/June issue.  WWE will support the launch with a marketing push, including placement of the mag in Wal-Mart.  Reading the press release on ProWrestling.com, what they are trying to do kinda makes sense.  This analysis is, of course, based on my own predilections as a kid to lie down on the carpet while paging through the latest Zoobooks (I had like four copies of the “Snakes” issue) or Highlights at first and Rolling Stone, Spin, CMJ, The New Yorker, etc eventually.

One other note: The release claims that WWE Kids will teach kids about fitness and nutrition, among other things.  This is like Nascar teaching aspiring rednecks about fuel conservation: On the one hand, the lessons might be valuable; on the other hand, consider the source.  Look at these guys (and gals…see pic above) — they’re huge.  What they do isn’t “fitness and nutrition”; you can’t get a body like that by “staying active” and “eating right”.  At the very least, their bodies are their full-time jobs; and, at worst, they are artistic testimonials to the power of medical science (minus the haircuts, of course, which are more craft than art, let’s say).