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August 20, 2019

Publishing News

Conde's Heads of Finance, HR to Step Down
BoF: CFO David Geithner and chief human resources officer JoAnn Murray are leaving Condé Nast after five and seven years at the company, respectively.Both positions will be filled by [global CEO Roger] Lynch in a strategy to globalize these corporate functions now that Condé Nast is operating as one business worldwide. Lynch joined the publisher in April and spent several months on a “listening tour” through its different markets to determine how a global integration might begin to take shape. Would the US business, which has steep losses, absorb the international business, or vice versa? Will there be autonomous regional teams? Will a single person lead a brand like Vogue globally? Last week’s announcement began to shed light on some of these questions. Lynch elevated all New York-based executives with the exception of Blau. Pamela Drucker Mann is now the global chief revenue officer and president of US revenue (she formerly led revenue and marketing in the US) with a focus on advertising revenue. And Condé Nast Entertainment head Oren Katzeff, who oversees digital video, film and television operations, will expand his oversight to the global business as well. (An equivalent CNE organization does not exist in London.) Wintour’s new duties will now see her acting as a “resource” for global editors-in-chief, though only US editors will report directly to her with the exception of The New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick, who reports directly to Lynch. Wintour will also oversee Vogue International, a centralised editorial hub based in London established by Blau and which supports the fashion brand across non-US markets.Blau’s expanded role gives him oversight over the following functions on a global scale: product and technology, data, editorial operations and business development, among others.As for who will look after the potential of each title on a global scale, that responsibility will lie with a new consumer marketing organisation led by a yet-to-be-hired chief marketing officer. His or her role will include global brand management as well as overseeing all consumer revenue (subscriptions, events, conferences, memberships)."

After 30% Lifts, FT, Other Pubs Roll Out 'Subscribe With Google'
WNIP: "About a year ago, Google announced ‘Subscribe with Google’—a simple way to subscribe to news publications and maintain access everywhere: websites, apps, even search results.‘Subscribe with Google’, according to the company, is “designed to help publishers drive conversions and engage existing subscribers across Google and the web.” “Subscribe with Google lets you buy a subscription, using your Google account, on participating news sites,” the company explained. “Select the publisher offer you’d like to buy, click “Subscribe,” and you’re done. You’ll automatically be signed in to the site, and you can pay–securely and privately—with any credit card you’ve used with Google in the past"...

Toyota Supra Gets Pin-Up Poster in Road & Track
Ad Age: "The September issue of Hearst Magazines’ Road & Track includes a cool little bonus for subscribers: a sexy pin-up poster of the Toyota Supra. It’s basically a fold-out (29.5" x 21.25") advertisement that’s double-sided—a yellow Supra on the front, a red one on the back—and it incorporates a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to launch an AR (augmented reality) experience.The issue is rolling out nationally this week and the AR element allows users to stick a Supra (in their chosen color) anywhere (e.g., driveways, garages, in front of houses) and grab a photo of the virtual placement to share on social. It (thankfully) doesn’t require an app—the AR experience is browser-based—and works on iPhone and most Android devices. Road & Track and Toyota collaborated on the activation with eXeX (eXpanded eXistence) using web AR tech from 8th Wall"... See link below to the demo.

How Parents Magazine Innovates With Print
FIPP: "85% of our magazine readers feel we are innovating rapidly,” says [Liz Vaccariello. editor-in-chief of Meredith's Parents] -- the 2.2M-rate base title -- as well as group editorial director for Parents Latina and Meredith lifestyle titles including Shape, Real Simple, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living and Health. As part of a recent whitepaper looking at Innovation in Publishing, which has been jointly published by UPM and FIPP, Vaccariello talks candidly about the need to balance innovation with an understanding of what genuinely works, and where resources are best placed. “Meredith is conservative in some sense, like the fact that Parents doesn’t have a presence on Snapchat," she says. "But it’s innovative for our audience in others -- we’re very heavy on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve also innovated our print product with the renewed use of smart codes. Parents was one of the first publications within Meredith to do that.” Vaccariello explains that the approach to innovation at Meredith is handled by a dedicated team that sits across print and digital – but that all team members are encouraged to embrace innovation. “From a technological standpoint, innovation comes out of the Innovation Group here at Meredith. If we have an idea or an advertiser has an idea, we go to them and they help us execute it. That innovation team works across platforms – with the digital platforms to make sure the experience in digital backs up what we’re doing, and with the print team as well. That is something that I’m intricately involved in. I insist that when we’re working on new content ideas, themes for the year ahead, images for the content, or images for the covers, all of our staff bring inspiration – either from things they see in the zeitgeist on Instagram, or from quantifiable trends and insight based on research or social listening.” When it comes to innovation at Meredith, balance is key. While the company acknowledges that months of research and preparation are not always necessary prior to the launch of new innovations, especially in today’s fast-moving industry, Vaccariello is quick to highlight that ideas need to be based on facts. “Our Back to School issue is big deal for us. Over the years we’ve packaged it in different ways. One year we did one long story called ‘100 things teachers want to know.’ The next year however, we tested that against a format where we broke the story down by age and by grade level, so the audience could engage with their specific interest more easily.”“More generally at a time when the more educated amongst us realise we need to put our phones down, people are taking social detoxes and social holidays. This is causing an increase in book sales and time spent with print products. That’s obviously good news for print, and we just need to keep innovating and changing to make sure we take advantage of this trend.""

Harry Styles's Shirtless Rolling Stone Cover Stirs Fan Frenzy
NY Post: "Harry Styles has left fans drooling.Rolling Stone magazine unveiled its upcoming cover featuring a shirtless Styles, and fans of the crooner and his old band, One Direction, went into a tizzy. The cover features the 25-year-old flaunting his pearly whites as he leans into the camera, showing off his various tattoos. Fans couldn’t seem to contain their excitement -- or hormones"...

Deadspin EIC Megan Greenwell To Lead
MediaPost: "A week after quitting as editor-in-chief of Deadspin, Megan Greenwell has been hired as editor of Thompson, editor-in-chief of the Condé Nast tech and culture magazine brand, stated in Talking Biz News that Greenwell “is one of the most brilliant editors and managers in the business. People have been raving about her to me for years.”Greenwell left Deadspin on Friday after 18 months on the job, following clashes with leadership at Deadspin’s newly formed parent company, G/O Media. She was Deadspin’s first female editor.G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment wants Deadspin to focus solely on sports coverage going forward, though Deadspin also covers the sports world's intersection with media, politics and culture"...

Nieman Lab: People Don't Recognize Satire Without a Label Anymore
Nieman Lab: "In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent. Conservative columnist David French criticized Snopes for debunking what was, in his view, “obvious satire. Obvious.” A few days later, Fox News ran a segment featuring The Bee’s incredulous CEO.But does everyone recognize satire as readily as French seems to?Our team of communication researchers has spent years studying misinformation, satire, and social media. Over the last several months, we’ve surveyed Americans’ beliefs about dozens of high-profile political issues. We identified news stories — both true and false — that were being shared widely on social media. We discovered that many of the false stories weren’t the kind that were trying to intentionally deceive their readers; they actually came from satirical sites, and many people seemed to believe them. People have long mistaken satire for real news. On his popular satirical news show “The Colbert Report,” comedian Stephen Colbert assumed the character of a conservative cable news pundit. However, researchers found that conservatives regularly misinterpreted Colbert’s performance to be a sincere expression of his political beliefs. The Onion, a popular satirical news website, is misunderstood so often that there’s a large online community dedicated to ridiculing those who have been fooled.But now more than ever, Americans are worried about their ability to distinguish between what’s true and what isn’t and think made-up news is a significant problem facing the country"...

Demise of Online Mag Pacific Standard Hits Journalism World Hard
TalkingBizNews: "The sudden death of Pacific Standard, a decade-old Santa Barbara-based online magazine covering environmental science, social justice, economics policy, official corruption and other substantive issues, has hit the journalism community especially hard.The small but dedicated staff of 16 journalists were sent packing this month. Pacific Standard debuted in 2008 as the Miller-McCune Report, named after its patron, Sara Miller McCune, the founder and controlling partner of Sage Publishing. The magazine was rebranded to its current title in 2012. It was known for deeply reported, well-edited stories on social justice issues, with a particular focus on the environment and education. And it was deliberately located on the West Coast to counter the East Coast flavor of its competition, like The Atlantic and The New Yorker"...

Opinion: Advertiser Blacklisting and Its Silencing Effect on Journalism
In Publishing Executive, Nikki Gloudeman writes in part: "Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a story diving deep into a problem that, in recent years, has shifted the very paradigm of journalistic work. In an increasingly polarized environment, advertisers are dictating the kinds of content they will and won’t associate their brand with. Increasingly, and unfortunately, the content they seek to distance themselves from is the very kind that serves the public interest most. According to the Journal, major companies are refusing to place ads next to stories that include words like “shooting,” “ISIS,” “Russia,” “Trump,” and “Obama.” The blacklist for Alphabet Inc’s Google includes “federal investigation,” “antitrust,” “racism,” “FBI,” “taxes,” “anti-Semitic,” “gun control,” and “drought.” Some brands, including Subway and McDonald’s, are refusing to place ads beside hard-news content of essentially any kind, period. This blacklisting approach is, to be fair, understandable. Horror stories about Disney ads appearing next to child-exploitation videos on YouTube, or Coca-Cola finding its brand name featured prominently alongside anti-Semitic and racist content, would chill anyone. And when many fringe media outlets peddle (actual) fake news and outright conspiracy theories, it makes sense to exercise an abundance of caution. This is exacerbated by the fact that, in today’s media environment, advertisers are buying ads programmatically. Where once companies worked directly with a few (trusted) publications to place their ads, today they buy at mass scale, targeting broad audiences rather than specific outlets. This kind of purchasing leaves little room for the consideration of nuance, making blacklisting the easiest recourse available. Yet the decision to shun certain kinds of content has a downside that can’t be ignored. In order to remain financially solvent, publications are being forced to regularly ask if their content will appease weary advertisers. As such, where once reporters would prioritize stories dealing with the most pressing issues of the day — civil rights, political corruption, mass violence -- today they are actively avoiding them, embracing instead inoffensive lifestyle content that a Disney or Coca-Cola could never possibly object to. A similar problem manifests when publishers try to promote their content on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Snapchat. Some stories simply aren’t allowed to be boosted because they are deemed too divisive or controversial. At Granite Media, we’ve seen the impacts of this de-facto censorship firsthand. We do extensive online marketing with Facebook, which has blocked us from promoting content dealing with politics (even when the story in question is decidedly neutral), immigration, climate change, and mental health. And Facebook isn’t alone. Of course, we can still publish these stories on our websites, but if there isn’t as much advertiser demand, we won’t generate as much revenue, and if social media outlets prevent us from promoting, there won’t be as much audience. It would be a lie to say this has not influenced the kinds of stories we cover, or the way we approach potentially provocative topics. So what can be done? Some outlets are pushing back by outright refusing to allow advertisers to block certain words. Vice Media, for example, has forbidden advertisers from blocking terms like “bisexual,” “gay,” “HIV,” “lesbian,” “Latino,” “Middle Eastern,” “Jewish,” and “Islamic.” Others, including the Washington Post, are working directly with advertisers to help them understand context, so they’re less anxious about placing ads beside hard-news content. The Washington Post even told the Journal that it’s developing proprietary tools to this end. On the marketing side, several big news outlets, like the AP and the New York Times, are getting authorized to create and run ads about social issues, elections, or politics. The problem is that such options are generally only available to established, well-funded outlets"....

Opinion: In Amazon's Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite
In the NY Times, David Streitfeld writes in part: "In George Orwell's "1984," the classics of literature are rewritten into Newspeak, a revision and reduction of the language meant to make bad thoughts literally unthinkable. "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words," one true believer exults.Now some of the writer's own words are getting reworked in Amazon's vast virtual bookstore, a place where copyright laws hold remarkably little sway. Orwell's reputation may be secure, but his sentences are not.Over the last few weeks I got a close-up view of this process when I bought a dozen fake and illegitimate Orwell books from Amazon. Some of them were printed in India, where the writer is in the public domain, and sold to me in the United States, where he is under copyright.Others were straightforward counterfeits, like the edition of his memoir "Down and Out in Paris and London" that was edited for high school students. The author's estate said it did not give permission for the book, printed by Amazon's self-publishing subsidiary. Some counterfeiters are going as far as to claim Orwell's classics as their own property, copyrighting them with their own names.What unites all these books is that none of them paid the author anything, which means they could compete with legal Orwell titles as a lower-cost alternative. After all, if you need a copy of "Animal Farm" or "1984" for school, you're not going to think too much about who published it. Because all editions of "1984" are the same, right?Not always, not on Amazon.


Retail News

Walmart US Marketing Chief Messing Steps Down After a Year
SN: "Barbara Messing, who joined Walmart last summer as SVP and chief marketing officer for Walmart U.S. and Walmart eCommerce U.S., is leaving the company. Walmart said in an internal memo yesterday that Messing’s last day with the company will be Aug. 30. Her role will be filled on an interim basis by Michael Francis, who has served as a strategic marketing consultant at Walmart and will lead a newly formed retail marketing team. Before joining Walmart in late 2015, Francis had served as chief global brand officer at DreamWorks Animation, president of JCPenney and the longtime CMO at Target Corp. “Barbara Messing [left] has decided to leave Walmart and return to the Bay Area with her family,” Janey Whiteside, EVP and chief customer officer for Walmart U.S. and Walmart eCommerce U.S., said in the memo. “During her time at Walmart, she’s led both memorable and effective creative campaigns that reached our customers in new and unexpected ways. She’s been an advocate for our customers, encouraging our teams to think differently about how to reach them outside of traditional advertising avenues to truly tell one holistic Walmart story.” Messing started in the Walmart U.S. CMO role in mid-August 2018. Previously, she served as chief marketing officer for leading global travel website TripAdvisor. Whiteside, a longtime American Express executive, had begun at Walmart in her current role a couple of weeks before Messing. “For the last year, Barb has also been on a path to organize the marketing team to best serve the changing needs of the business and our customers,” Whiteside said in the Aug. 19 memo. “Today, we’re announcing the creation of a new retail marketing team within the marketing organization that’s been created to best support merchandising and key initiatives across our stores and e-commerce business.”To that end, Brittney Duke, VP of marketing operations, is joining the retail marketing team as vice president of general merchandise marketing, and Ciara Anfield, senior director of store experience marketing, is being promoted to vice president of consumables marketing. In addition, Karissa Price, senior director of health and wellness marketing, is being promoted to VP and will oversee health and wellness marketing. And Alvis Washington, VP of store experience marketing, will join the new retail marketing team.Also on the retail marketing team is David Echegoyen, VP of grocery, pickup, delivery and services marketing for Walmart U.S. and online. Walmart announced Echegoyen’s appointment to the role in June, shifting him over from, where he served as VP and chief customer officer. Walmart said it has begun a search a new CMO as well as a SVP of retail marketing to oversee the new retail marketing team and seasonal programs. The company also announced that the marketing operations team, which previously reported to Duke, will now report to Rich Lehrfeld, SVP of brand marketing and media."

181 Big Companies Declare Social Responsibililty Matters Over Short-Term Profit
MediaPost: "The CEOs of 181 companies that are members of the Business Roundtable yesterday redefined the role of the American corporation -- and, for the first time since 1997, it will not be to primarily serve shareholders. Under the new Principles of Corporate Governance, the CEOs are committing “to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders -- customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.”It concludes: “Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.” “It’s possible -- the proof very much lies in the pudding here -- but it’s possible that decades from now economic historians are going to look back and say, ‘that day right there, the 19th of August of 19. That’s when it changed.’ It’s a long shot, but it could be …,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal proclaimed with an equal tinge of optimism and skepticism yesterday.Indeed, “it is a major philosophical shift for the association, which counts the chief executives of dozens of the biggest U.S. companies as its members. The group, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO James Dimon, is a powerful voice in Washington for U.S. business interests. It represents a broad swath of American industry, counting among its members the leaders of technology giants and manufacturing companies, airlines and institutional investors, to name a few,” David Benoit writes for The Wall Street Journal.The new principles are “aimed at millennials who are growing skeptical of capitalism, according to John Engler, the former president of the pro-business coalition,” writes CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr.“CEOs from major U.S. corporations know they’ve ‘got to tell the story differently’ about capitalism, Engler said in an interview on CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell’ on Monday. ‘We better let the American public, especially this massive new generation that’s coming up, understand what’s brought them unprecedented wealth and success and opportunity,’ he said. It also comes as corporations are under attack, for one reason or another, from all sides of the political spectrum"...

Albertsons Chief Merchandising Sampson to Exit
SN: "Albertsons Cos. has begun a search for a new chief merchant and marketing officer.The Boise, Idaho-based supermarket retailer said late yesterday that Shane Sampson, executive vice president and chief marketing and merchandising officer, is slated to step down on Sept. 7, when the fiscal second quarter ends. Albertsons didn’t specify a reason for his departure but said he “has decided to leave the company.” Sampson has served in the chief merchandising and marketing officer post since January 2015. “Shane has been instrumental in building the Albertsons Cos. we know today, both at a division level and nationally,” President and CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a statement"...


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