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August 13 2012


December 01 2011


Location based services - Foursquare rolls out new buttons for publishers

AdAge :: Foursquare is looking to increase its visibility on the web by introducing new sharing buttons for publishers that will appear side-by-side with the Facebook "Like" and Google's "+1" buttons in some cases. The buttons are being launched in partnership with Frommer's Travel, Eater.com, Time Out New York, Time Out Boston, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York Kids, New York Magazine, AskMen.com and four CBS local sites but will be available to all publishers starting today.

Reported by Cotton Delo, adage.com

July 19 2011


New York Magazine: New(s) business - 21 New Media Innovators

New York Magazine :: While the dark days of journalism have receded a bit — it was only three years ago that layoffs were a weekly occurrence, and serious people discussed the closure of the New York Times — the business is still very much in a state of chaotic flux. The so-called war between new and old media rages on among the pundits, with Facebook supplanting Google News as the new bogeyman.

But if you look past the hype, a bumper crop of new jobs and new ways of reporting have taken root, created by people who are willing to throw themselves into the breach and experiment. What follows is a list of 21 journalists and like-minded inventors who have created something exciting, interesting, and just plain cool.

Do you think there are people missing? Tweet me your thoughts!

Continue to read Chris Rovzar | Noreen Malone | Dan Amira | Adam Pasick | and Nitasha Tiku, nymag.com

March 09 2011



The New York magazine at its best!

November 15 2010


City Magazines Expand Audience and Revenues with Web, Apps

Even back in 1888, King Kalakaua of Hawaii recognized the power of city and regional magazines. His royal charter led to the creation of the magazine Paradise of the Pacific, whose goal was to display the civilization of the islands and to draw tourists and business.

Kalakaua would be amazed by the transformation of the publication now called Honolulu Magazine. Today, the king could follow the magazine on Twitter, watch its web videos, receive email newsletters and read it in print or multiple digital formats.

Though not every city or regional magazine has such a long history, many of them are today drawing on their established credibility and brand recognition to support new digital experiments. Many have crafted sophisticated websites, creative mobile apps, and innovative advertising strategies. These experiments may help the magazines remain definitive resources for information about their places, even as they are challenged by new, online local media outlets.

Reaching Readers Often

Like other magazines, city and regional publications have had to find ways to provide timely, interesting web content that can draw audiences between print issues. One method has been to create locally oriented blogs on their sites, sometimes maintained by existing editorial staff and sometimes by paid part- or full-time bloggers. The magazines have also linked to external local blogs to curate quality content.

Honolulu Magazine has an online real estate column updated almost every weekday, in addition to new online posts on other topics and web-exclusive content.

"A monthly magazine has traditionally lived in its own time zone, a month or two removed from what's going on in our community," says A. Kam Napier, the magazine's editor. "It's fun to react to news and what's going on around town."


Opt-in email newsletters about dining, shopping and local events have been valuable for local magazines. Many of the local magazines owned by Today Media have associated e-newsletters, including Delaware Today and Westchester Magazine.

Chris Calloway, digital media project manager for Today, said both advertisers and readers like the e-newsletters. In all the digital formats the magazine uses, Calloway said, the ability to analyze readers' interests has helped the magazine and its advertisers.

"It's a very important tool to find out what interests the consumers," he said. "We're sifting through the data to find ways to organically make changes."

Readers Near and Far

For city and regional magazines, there are unique advantages to offering digital editions and mobile apps.

Thanks to the immediate delivery and easy accessibility of digital editions, local magazines no longer have to rely solely on distributing print editions nearby. Apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android are increasingly making these magazines available wherever interested readers might be -- even far away.

"I've noticed an increase in international sales," says Calloway of Today Media. "The digital edition has reached a whole new audience overseas, including people who used to live in the area and want to learn about it."

Local audiences also enjoy the benefits of mobile apps. New York Magazine has a truly nationwide audience, but it's also providing the local audience a variety of focused apps. It bought the website MenuPages two years ago and now offers an iPhone app that provides menus and reader reviews for 30,000 restaurants in eight market areas. There's also an Android app for reading the magazine's blogs.

"There are some other kinds of category-specific mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone, and Android that we're working on," said Michael Silberman, general manager for digital media at the magazine's parent company New York Media. These will probably include a fashion app and an app for Vulture, the magazine's highly successful entertainment and culture blog. Eventually, Silberman hopes to develop a variety of apps to help users "navigate New York."

h2. New Revenue Streams

New York has also found new revenue opportunities through its mobile and web presences. For example, in the MenuPages app and in the magazine website's restaurant listings, users can click through to make a restaurant reservation using the OpenTable service. Some restaurants also permit online ordering through SeamlessWeb.

"We have some little experiments going with click-to-buy theater tickets or movie tickets, or stuff from Amazon or iTunes," Silberman said. "The stuff that's really firmly in our wheelhouse like restaurant reservations and online ordering -- that's pretty interesting from a revenue point of view."

Other types of retail connections have not yet been as profitable. "People don't come to a news site to download music or buy DVDs or books. They may read about it on our site, but they're unlikely to do it there," he said.

New York magazine has also worked with Foursquare, the popular location-based social app, to offer restaurant, bar and shopping information and deals to its followers on that site.

"We're still one of the top 15 media brands on Foursquare as far as the number of followers, and we update that every week with new tips," Silberman said. This type of location-based activity seems like a promising growth area for other local magazines as well, offering opportunities for brand development, advertising and coupons.

The Challenge of Being Local

One of the challenges for city and regional magazines -- those much smaller than New York -- is that they typically don't draw enough of an online audience for advertisers to be interested in making online buys.

"We have a real hard time in our meetings bringing in any national expert on anything electronic. It doesn't translate," said Jim Dowden, executive director of the City and Regional Magazine Association. "You can't get millions of hits in Des Moines when you're writing about Des Moines. You're not going to generate money from hits on a website about Des Moines if what you're relying on is pennies per hit."

A new enterprise called the Community Magazine Network, launching later this month, is trying to unify these smaller publishers to help them generate additional ad revenue and develop their online offerings. Brian Ostrovsky, CMN's founder and CEO, compares his company to a national television network that provides assistance with ad sales, technology and best practices, with the goal of getting smaller publishers -- especially those in suburban and rural areas -- into the digital game.

"Community magazines have struggled online because they're simply not staffed to have fresh content, and to provide the kinds of web content people expect for a compelling experience," said Ostrovsky.

CMN aims to build upon participating magazines' community relationships and existing content by integrating curated and social content online, while also helping construct print and online advertising deals with regional and national advertisers who might not otherwise be interested in smaller publications.

City and regional magazines, no matter the size, are doing fairly well in maintaining their print circulation, said Dowden, because there are few quality local media left in many areas -- especially as newspapers downsize and lose local content. However, local magazines have to diversify their revenue sources and begin moving into digital while maintaining the integrity of their existing product.

With all of these new opportunities, publishers will have to get used to making money not just from print, but also to "getting money back in 10 different pots, instead of just the Internet or just the website," according to Dowden.

Maintaining Identity and Credibility


Wherever the money comes from, city and regional magazines' greatest asset appears to be their brand recognition and editorial integrity. Though it might seem that sites that offer user-generated, local restaurant and shopping information, such as Yelp, might challenge these publications, the magazines I talked to unanimously argued that their recognized credibility on such topics will sustain readers' loyalty. Sites like Yelp are also less useful in smaller communities.

"Where we stand apart has been in offering expertise, analysis, historical perspective, and editing," said Napier of Honolulu Magazine. "We narrow down their options to things we know they'd like because we know our audience. We focus on trying to bring that expertise."

For example, the magazines emphasize that they use critics who visit restaurants repeatedly and then write quality reviews, overriding the widely varying quality and tastes of users at crowdsourced websites.

The magazines are, however, interested in integrating user-generated content with their sites. New York uses reader reviews in its restaurant section of its website and on MenuPages. Calloway of Today Media said, "These could be ways to engage with the consumer about the types of restaurants they like to go to. We can do polls of our readers about the best places to eat and shop and include those on the Today websites."

Though the city and regional magazines' formats may change, their continuing goal is to engage area readers in unique ways that other local media can't offer.

"Magazines are uniquely positioned to make local lifestyle content compelling and relevant," said Ostrovsky. "These magazines have established relationships. They are a part of the community."

The experiments in new ways of developing, delivering, and selling advertisers on the power of that content are just beginning.

Susan Currie Sivek, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Her research focuses on magazines and media communities. She also blogs at sivekmedia.com, and is the magazine correspondent for MediaShift.

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August 17 2010


Summer of (Groupon) love: Social discounting helps magazines sell subscriptions on the cheap

With Groupon growing by the day, the overwhelmed merchant is part of its lore. The Boston helicop-tour that sold 2,600 rides in four hours. The Seattle guitar teacher booked through New Year’s. The Chicago nail salon keeping women flipping through magazines waiting for their cheap mani-pedis. So when magazines go Groupon in an attempt to sell print subscriptions, are they overwhelmed, too?

“No. We’ve been able to accommodate those guys just fine,” says Daniel Brogan, publisher of the Denver monthly 5280.

5280 recently sold 4,715 subscriptions in one day, the biggest success in a wave of city and regional magazines offering group-discounted subscriptions this summer. Groupon’s social-coupon service provides a more direct connection between merchant and consumer than display ads ever could. And the numbers coming out of that connection are impressive. Since early June, 31 different titles have attracted some 32,851 new subscribers. (And that’s just among magazines; newspapers — the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post among them — have also been dipping their toes into Groupon.)

“The promotion was immediately profitable for the magazine,” explains Ken Sheldon, New York magazine’s head of consumer marketing — who took the first available Groupon slot in late June and promptly sold 2,536 subscriptions. Groupon-ing is relatively low-risk: Readers pay up-front (no chasing down Bill Me Laters), and publishers don’t have to put down cash to secure a sales date – all good economics, says Sheldon.

Good economics, though, aren’t perfect economics. Subscriptions come at a deep discount for consumers — “40 percent doesn’t speak to someone the way 50 does,” notes Groupon’s Julie Mossler — meaning, of course, less revenue for publishers. On top of that, the Chicago-based startup generally takes half of the revenue from each deal, meaning that New York’s $33,000 in Grouponed sales, for example, translates to $16,500 in revenue for the magazine.

Hooking them, keeping them

The main benefit of group-purchased subscriptions, for publishers, is the potential for subscriber retention: Get ‘em now with the Groupon rate, get ‘em next year at full price. Groupon boasts deep, vertical subscription lists of young, proven consumers who are buying real-world goods and services — “as much as Groupon is an online thing, I don’t see this as an online audience,” notes Lute Harmon, Jr., publisher of Cleveland magazine — and the networks are large. In Milwaukee, where the service launched in February, Groupon boasts a database of 77,000 potential subscribers; Dallas’s database has 215,000; and New York’s has 350,000 — growing, of late, by 2,000 people each week.

The networks’ demographics are appealing, too — particularly for publishers seeking to corral their next generation of readers. The majority of Groupon’s audience is in the 29-to-33 age range; 77 percent are women, and 75 percent are fully employed. “In some ways, they’re the perfect audience for a city magazine,” 5280’s Brogan says; the overlap between Groupon members and city magazine readers is generally a wide one.

Take Ro Hawthorne, a 32-year-old corporate public relations and marketing manager — and, thanks to Groupon, a new subscriber to Dallas’s monthly D Magazine. Hawthorne has lived in Dallas for seven years, but never subscribed to D Mag. She’d purchase the pub’s twice-yearly “Best of” issues to save as references for local places of interest, she told me, and otherwise would read it for free — at the hair salon. The D Magazine Groupon offer that came her way in late July, though — $9 for a 12-issue subscription — was appealing enough to make Hawthorne one of the outlet’s 3,214 new subscribers. As she explained: “It was under $10. That helps a lot.”

While snagging new subscribers with Groupon discounts is relatively easy, ensuring that subscribers come back — and that they pay full price on their return — is not. The subscription-rate slashing that takes place on Groupon’s roving newsstand, though, puts even more pressure on the need for renewals.

“If all we get is a one-time subscription, it wouldn’t be that great a deal for us. It wouldn’t be a deal at all,” notes Dan Crutcher, publisher of Louisville Magazine. During its Groupon promotion in early March, the magazine sold 258 subscriptions. (Louisville has 21,000 paying subscribers, Crutcher told me, so while the Groupon achievement is not plaque-worthy, it did mean that one day’s promotion was five times more effective than the roughly 50 subs initiated each month on loumag.com.) Crutcher says he’ll be satisfied if half his Groupies renew — and ecstatic if 70 or 80 percent (the typical renewal rate for longtime customers) make an encore purchase. Both are optimistic goals, though: In general, the newer the subscribers, the less likely they are to renew.

Bundling the discounts

Then there’s the question of balancing the Groupon audience with the rest of a magazine’s subscriber base. Lawrence W., for example, presumably a loyal subscriber to 5280, took offense at the deeply discounted rate that he wasn’t privy to. (“Guess I will let my subscription expire and try to get in on the next deal,” he wrote on the mag’s Groupon deal discussion board.) One way to combat that kind of resentment — and customers’ coming to see deep discounts as a norm rather than a rare occurrence — is, ironically, to limit the viral potential of Groupon deals. 5280, for example, kept its $7 Groupon deal away from fans on Facebook and Twitter to limit the overall exposure of its bargain-basement subscription. Cleveland Magazine, similarly, relies on its Groupon community remaining somewhat isolated from its traditional subscriber base. “If it’s really a separate group,” Harmon points out, “it’s easier to rationalize giving them a different price.”

Mags are also experimenting with packaging Groupon deals along with other valuable perks – just as they’re experimenting more broadly with package deals as a way of selling subscriptions. Cleveland, for example, packages tickets for its Best of Cleveland party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with magazine sales, with $15 from each $40 ticket going to the price of a subscription. And Milwaukee magazine recently paired a year’s subscription with two tickets to the city’s Lakefront Festival of Arts, where the mag and its publishing company Quad/Graphics were presenting sponsors. For $18, almost 400 customers took advantage of the package deal.

Going long

The Daily Deals facilitated by Groupon are proving to be a good way for city and regional magazines to inject numbers into their rate base. For national titles, though, the Groupon road hasn’t been so smooth. Newsweek floundered in Seattle and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, adding only 31 more subscribers through its group-buying scheme. Vivabox, meanwhile, a Belgium-based company that sells custom gift boxes, recently pushed a $19 sampler of magazines including National Geographic, Fast Company, Real Simple, and InStyle — and was rewarded for its efforts with only four (yes, four) takers.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” says Louisville’s Crutcher. “What makes [Groupon] work,” after all, “is its localness.” New York magazine’s Sheldon, formerly the finance director at Time, agrees. Bigger brands, he notes, are stuck trying to push national titles into regional pegs. “If you pick any random Time Inc. title, it doesn’t feel like it’s a special city promotion.”

The power of the social deal has given rise to efforts like Try It Local, the Louisville chamber of commerce’s group-discount site. While the service lacks, for the moment, Groupon’s robust subscription list, it offers businesses a bigger cut of the revenue – about 70 percent.

That improved business proposition may be necessary for group-discounting to offer long-term benefits to magazines. Even the publications that have gained subscribers, in the short run, from Groupon are waiting to see whether the benefits translate to the long term. Future renewal rates will be crucial data points. “It’ll be two or three years before we really know what the effect is on magazine subscriptions,” Cutcher says. In the meantime, publishers are left with a challenging balancing act: spreading their products to new customers while retaining the value of their brands.

August 13 2010




Creativity that makes you want to read.

In traditional magazines.

Great job!

Via nascapas blog.

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April 09 2010


New York Magazine: Weigh-in for New York Times and Wall Street Journal

The launch of the Wall Street Journal’s New York edition is just around the corner, and Rupert Murdoch is going after the Grey Lady as tenaciously as his massive advertising cuts suggest. But as the playground rivalry heats up and first blows are traded, New York magazine highlights just how much more of a heavyweight contender the Times is in terms of personnel:

Here’s a list of the reporters we know will be devoted, at least part-time, to working on the Journal’s new New York section. After each, we’ve listed the reporters that cover the same beat for the Times. As you can see, in nearly every beat, the Times already has two reporters in place for each one of the Journal’s.

The magazine’s full comparative list must make intimidating reading for the Journal reporters heading into the ring, but, as Greenslade points out in his post, the NY Times Company has no way near the resources of News Corp, and the Journal’s New York edition could expand significantly yet.

Full story at this link…

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