A Fresh Spin on Going Digital

Earlier this year, Spin Media LLC made what some publishing executives might consider a risky move. It decided to offer Spin magazine online, and free of charge.

The digital edition of the 450,000-circulation music magazine - which is accessible on Spin's MySpace page (www.MySpace.com/spinmagazine) and at Spin.com, the publication's portal for breaking news and archived stories - mirrors its print version, but with enhancements. For example, readers can click on icons to purchase music on iTunes, watch music videos or visit artists' MySpace pages, or on hyperlinks to be taken directly to advertisers' Web sites. The digital edition, created by Southborough, Mass.-based Texterity Inc., also enables both the editorial department and advertisers to track which areas of the magazine readers are honing in on.

Are You Doing Everything You Can to Combat Rising Postage Costs?

While every publisher in America must know that postage costs are on the rise, many cost-saving measures that can benefit both individual players and the industry as a whole remain underutilized, industry groups say.
"Both [Magazine Publishers of America (MPA)] and [American Business Media (ABM)] are exhorting their members to do more co-mailing and drop-shipping," says David R. Straus, postal counsel for ABM. "ABM produced a DVD for members to show why this is important."

Better, Faster Magazine Production

For magazine production managers, getting accurate pages to the printer by the deadline is the name of the game. With increasing production costs and decreasing workforces at many magazines, anything that makes it easier for a production manager to do his or her job is a must-have.

Getting Your Data Warehouse In Order

As a middle child, I never got to ride in the front seat. Because my brothers would fight constantly, the two of them could not ride in the back seat together. I was a peacekeeper.

Instead of two brothers, publishers have two customers: advertisers and readers. Content is like the middle child between the two. Publishers connect someone who wants to sell a product to someone who might want to buy it by giving the potential buyer something that they need - content.

On the Fast Track

After teetering in the post-dot-com era, Fast Company expects 30-percent revenue growth this year.

Some publishers want to talk strategy, share metrics and demonstrate platforms. Christine Osekoski wants to tell stories: China's push into sub-Saharan Africa, the ugly truth behind bottled water, "tech-doping" at the 2008 Olympics. Exciting and unnerving - if they share a core message, it would be "what you thought was true maybe isn't so" - these stories open up new vistas of pitfalls and possibilities. They also have a lot to do with the recent success of Osekoski's magazine, Fast Company.

Pace of M&A Deals Slows in 2Q

The number of publishing, information and training M&A deals in 2008's second quarter was down 8% from the first quarter, from 116 to 107; the dollar amount of these deals declined 39% to $7.1 billion from $11.8 billion. Compared to Q2 in 2007 (when M&A activity was at a seven-year high), the number of deals in Q2 2008 fell 12% from 122 and the value was down 79% from $33.2 billion.

The Search for the Perfect CMS

Regardless of your company's size or structure, where the Web is involved, you can only go as far as your technology capabilities will take you. And there are some major pitfalls to watch out for in selecting which technology will transport you to where you want to go. Imagine your content management system (CMS) as a car you are buying to take you on one of the most important and longest journeys of your life. If you buy a 1976 Chevy Vega, you might have to start it with a screwdriver, you might break down pretty often, and it might not get you there at all. Then you'll have spent time and money on something that sets you back a large portion of your journey, if you haven't abandoned the trip altogether. Or, you could buy a Rolls-Royce. Chances are, you're going to have a nice, luxurious trip. Of course, if you're a bad driver, you're going to crash it anyway.

What's a Pound of Flesh Worth These Days, Anyway?

What's a pound of flesh worth? What's a fair wage? Is your day's labor in the publishing salt mines worth what you earn?

Here is another question, which seems particularly relevant and timely in light of recent reports showing that some executives at magazine industry associations earn annual salaries of $400,000 to $740,000: Do they think that - at a time when the industry is as challenged as ever-they have earned that pay in the same salt mines for a job well done?

Why Are You Publishing Online?

Are you able to answer the following questions off the top of your head? Why do you have a Web site? What is the purpose of your e-mail newsletter? These seem like simple enough questions, but for some reason, they're incredibly hard for many publishers to answer - or, at least, it's hard to answer them well. And, those companies that have difficulty answering these questions are usually the same ones with lackluster online media businesses.