Back in the day, you know, way, way back. Back when we rode our dinosaurs to work and peddled our stone wheeled cars with our feet. Way back then there were significantly more than four major national magazine distributors in the country. I can think of at least nine and I am sure there are some people who could come up with the names of some more companies.
At that time, there were more than three hundred magazine wholesalers located in large and small cities around the country. Those nine (Or more) national distributors, had a pretty large pool of publishing representatives working out in the field to manage the sales of their client titles.
In those days I flew pterodactyl coach class on all my business trips and I was guaranteed to meet up with a few publisher representatives in almost all of the primary and secondary sized wholesalers I visited. The major cities may have had as many as twenty or more located both at the wholesaler level and out in the field. With a few exceptions, these representatives could give me a very comprehensive tour of the best and busiest newsstands in each town.
Natural consolidation (Some of these companies bought each other up) as well as the forced consolidation we underwent in 1995 – 1997 has pretty much dried that all up. The major wholesalers now have merchandisers who put up magazines in the largest retailers. In some cases, these merchandisers no longer work exclusively with magazines and handle other products. The remaining ND’s have some people out in the field but their numbers have significantly dwindled. Want to know what your special display looks like in the Marsh Supermarket in Indianpolis suburb of Noblesville? Most of us would have to hop on a plane and go look.
So who’s out there to move our magazines?
Apparently Ms. Miley Ray Cyrus.
Miley is on the cover of the March 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. If you haven’t seen or paid attention to her since your (Now college aged children) have left Hannah Montana far behind, you may not have even recognized the former Disney child star.
I have to give Ms. Cyrus a ton of credit. She tweeted the following to her more than 11 Million (!) Twitter fans:
Just to put things into a little perspective: For the past year and a half, I’ve been keeping track of the number of Twitter and Facebook followers of some major and specialty magazine publishers. At present, People Magazine has just over 4.5 million fans.
Eleven million vs. 4.5 million.
Miley’s fans have responded to her call out. These are the results:
Miley’s shout out to her fans started on February 1st. There’s even a hashtag on Twitter, #buymileyscosmo. It’s still very active as of this writing.
Of course, Cosmopolitan got in on the action and is encouraging the fans:
For those of you of a certain age and level of experience in the newsstand distribution industry, do you think the old Globe vs. Enquirer checkout wars could have ever reached this level? What would the blue coated/red tied TDS guys have done?
AdWeek Magazine reports Hearst President David Carey as saying “This was a natural force from her fan base… No big company could ever pull that off.”
He’s correct. For years, fans have been spreading their favorite actor and actress covers all over the newsstand. But not like this. Miley Cyrus’ fans are clearly motivated and are doing this 21st century style.
On the other hand, once upon a time, back when Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the land at will, we used to have a lot of people who could have lent a hand.
Special call out to all you newsstand veterans: How many ND’s were there back in the 1970’s? 1980’s? 1990’s? Please use the comment section below to list what you may remember. I’d be interested to know how many we can come up with.
Want to check out my list of Twitter and Facebook followers vs. their paid circulation? Click on the link. Tweet Followers vs Circ011313