Sunday, August 10, 2008

Media Week 32

The Guardian reports that British magazine publishers are facing pressure from retailer ASDA for more quid-pro-quo on shelf space in their stores. Some close readers will recall some aggressive actions by Amazon and also the stance taken by A&R in Australia regarding book titles with small volumes. Perhaps an increasing trend in media retail.
The idea of a magazine giving Asda advertising space in return for appearing on its shelves, for example, is wholly implausible. Every supermarket chain would then be bound to require ads too, leading to the logical, if surreal, result that all magazines would carry several pages boosting Tesco, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Waitrose and so on. Then there's the question of context: one publisher told me that, for many magazines, supermarket advertising would be inappropriate. How would readers of Cage & Aviary Birds or Model Railway Enthusiast take to Asda boasting of its latest cut-price offers on groceries, for instance?

Will a major city newspaper fold this year. Houston, Miami, Chicago, SF? There are sellers but no buyers according to the NYTimes.

Ad revenues are off substantially at some of those free daily newspapers but in the UK Metro is starting their first online version.

Press Gazzette is giving up their print to go online. Guardian

Rodale announced impressive results in face of an industry slow down.

Revenues for all operations grew by 7.6% compared to the second quarter of 2007.
Rodale print advertising revenues were up 8.3% compared to an industry-wide decline of 4.9%. Revenues from all online activities increased by 27.1% over the second quarter of 2007, and uniques and page views for Rodale?s sites were up by 74% and 94%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Revenues from international operations through June are up 14% compared to the first half of 2007. Gawker notes their performance versus traditional media. Note that the chart looks like Batman.

WSJ reports on the trend in Children's fiction towards more gore in an effort to appeal to more boys:
Scholastic and other publishers are heeding the research of such academics as Jeffrey Wilhelm, an education professor at Boise State University. Prof. Wilhelm tracked boys' reading habits for five years ending in 2005 and found that schools failed to meet their "motivational needs." Teachers assigned novels about relationships, such as marriage, that appealed to girls but bored boys. His survey of academic research found boys more likely to read nonfiction, especially about sports and other activities they enjoy, as well as funny, edgy fiction. Boys' literary depth is an abiding concern in educational circles. Boys have persistently lagged behind girls in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an influential federal test for gauging achievement. The gap widens by the time they reach 12th grade. Many experts attribute the lag to the time spent with the printed page. In a survey of bookstores this year by Simba Information, a publishing-industry market-research firm, only 2% said boys made up most of their children's book customers. As adults, females also outscore males on literacy exams, and continue to read more. In an age when the Internet is pulling many away from books, boys in particular spend more time than girls do on computers and videogaming.

Long article in Sunday's NYTimes magazine about Hanif Kureishi who wrote My Beautiful Laundrette.
This is, after all, the man who co-edited “The Faber Book of Pop” and whose films and novels — including “My Beautiful Laundrette” and “The Buddha of Suburbia” — are filled with raucous sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. But this is also the man who had the presence of mind to poke around in English mosques in the late ’80s and early ’90s, sensing that something might be stirring there, as indeed it was. Kureishi’s novel “The Black Album,” set in 1989 and named after a Prince album, explored the growing discontent, disenfranchisement and radicalism of some young British Muslims.

NYTimes notes the Waking up to Content is King at Time Warner.

Profile of new Zondervan CEO Maureen Girkins. Grand Rapids Press.

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