Discovering Profit in Sustainability
August 1, 2008

Does the current magazine business model have anything to do with sustainability? Not the ability to sustain ourselves as a business, but rather the new-age definition of environmental sustainability as defined by Wal-Mart. You remember Wal-Mart—the conglomerate that distributes nearly 25 percent of all newsstand titles? Oh, yes, you remember Wal-Mart—the mega-discount retailer that recently cut 1,000 magazine titles from its roster. But did you ever wonder why it did that? As I found on the Wal-Mart Web site, “through sustainability, Wal-Mart has saved billions of dollars in costs and has begun to drive profitable product innovation. Our goal: Offer our customers an increasing

Bo Sacks: The Profit ProphetThe Real Viability of Digital Editions
June 1, 2008

I’ve been inundated lately with e-mail requests about the viability of digital magazine editions. The letter that put me over the top was from an old and dear acquaintance, who is a senior production director, that said, “Digital editions of magazines will never get traction with the magazine-reading public.” This is a ridiculous attitude. And if it is yours, too, bury it now with other ridiculous ideas like the world is flat and man will never fly. Perhaps Jeff Gomez, author of the book “Print Is Dead,” put it best when he wrote: “To expect future generations to be satisfied with printed books is

BoSacks: Looking at the Future of New Launches
May 1, 2008

As you may know, my friend Samir Husni, also known as Mr. Magazine, tracks new magazine launches. He has done so for decades and has amassed a wealth of data. In his latest announcement, the overall numbers for our business are less than stellar. Many possible reasons exist for this decline. Both Husni and I can postulate about its causes, but neither of us actually knows. According to Husni: “The number of new magazine launches in the first quarter of 2008 (150) increased by five titles compared to Q1 2007. [While it was an increase,] it is still a far cry from the introduction

BoSacks: The Profit Prophet
April 1, 2008

Last month, I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo with David Renard, my partner at Media-Ideas. Addressing a packed room, we examined the five key issues that will affect our industry over the next decade and provided actionable advice to prepare publishers for that future. The trigger to these key issues is, simply put, “change.” We are faced with changes unprecedented in history. The “screenagers” have been a digital demographic from birth, growing up after the dawn of cellular (1983) and with the Internet (1993). They are a generation comfortable with immediate interaction and virtual access.