Magazine Industry Trends: Leveraging the Skills of Digital Natives

Digital Publishing News for December 9, 2013

The New York Times has a fun article on the ever expanding duties of publishing assistants. Yes, most of them still have their daily coffee runs but they’re also being asked to flex their digital native muscles. Christine Haughney writes, “The modern assistant has an understanding of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that time-stretched (and old school) magazine executives lack, and increasingly they are assuming responsibility for spreading the magazine’s message, and brand, across social media.”

Executives are now leveraging these digital native talents to get more done. Some assistants are even writing blog posts. Haughney writes, “Dominique Lemoine, the 27-year-old assistant to James Oseland, the editor of Saveur and a judge on “Top Chef Masters,” performs predictable tasks like cleaning the office refrigerator. But she also writes articles for Saveur’s website and has written short pieces for the print magazine (she has one in the next January/February issue). She said that while she sometimes makes restaurant reservations for Mr. Oseland, he has never asked her to get coffee or pick up lunch.” Is your assistant getting you coffee and writing articles for you? If so, thank them often.

New Publisher Named at Eating Well

Deirdre Finnegan has been named the new publishing at Eating Well. She was named published by Steve Bohlinger, the former publisher who was promoted to VP and group publisher of Meredith National Media Group.

Prior to Finnegan’s promotion, she was the associate publisher for Coastal Living, Southern Living and most recently Cottage Living.

Finnegan’s set to continue to the growth Eating Well has experienced under Bohlinger. Steve Cohn writes, “The bimonthly’s rate-base rise from 350,000 to 750,000 and its +52% ad-page differential (per Publishers Information Bureau, January-September 2013-versus-2012) earned it membership in Advertising Age‘s 2013 A List.”

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Expansion is Taking Place for The Week

Some print publications, like New York magazine, have decided to move away from print. Others have decided to embrace print more because it’s profitable for them.

The Week is one of these publishers, adding three additional issues from 48 to 51 in 2014. Steven Kotok, CEO of The Week, has said that each issue is profitable, so adding more issues will only lead to more profit. Steve Smith writes, “The Week charges a hefty $1.25 to $1.50 per issue to more than half a million subscribers. Kotok told AdAge that revenue from paid circulation alone is near $30 million.”

iBeacons Signals Location-Based Access for Publishers

Location-based publishing brings some new options for publishers. Businesses now have the chance to subscribe to specific publications and give their guests access to these publications when they enter the establishment.

This service, called iBeacons is being used by Exact Editions. An article on iClarified discusses the benefits of offering location-based publications: “The benefit is supposedly two-fold for a digital magazine publisher: they can sell subscriptions to businesses and locations, which then expose that publication to their customers, some of whom come away from the specific spot wanting to subscribe to the pub themselves. It can also give venues like concert halls and stadiums a way to provide patrons with in-house pubs, as an added value thing to help bring them in the door.”

Location-based publishing sounds like it has a promising future.

Facebook’s Panda Update?

All Thing Digital has an insightful interview with Lars Backstom, who happens to be Facebook’s News Feed Manager. Facebook recently updated its news feed algorithm and many publishers are calling it Facebook’s Panda update. So what’s changed? Backstrom says, “We went and asked people which of those things they get more value from. We’ve run surveys, and asked people to rate stories and things. And they’ll say, “The cat photo was great, and I had a good chuckle, but of those two, the second one enriched my life more, and I got more value out of it.” It’s not us trying to be more proscriptive. We’re trying to align our definition of value with that of our users.”

Facebook is currently defining high quality content based on its source. Future News Feed updates may distinguish high quality content by post type. Backstrom says they hope to be more forth coming with News Feed changes in the future.


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