So what am I grateful for this year? You mean aside from being gainfully employed and working in an industry that continues to fascinate, infuriate and confound on a regular basis? Yes, there are things to be grateful for. Here are a few of them:
MagNet Reports: I’m grateful that buried about halfway down last week’s third quarter news dump was this interesting tidbit: While everyone knew that Source Interlink’s ungraceful exit from the newsstand biz was a sales killer, same store sales looked pretty good. In other words, sales in retailers that weren’t Source supplied and didn’t have their deliveries interrupted were, well, not bad.
Data reported to MagNet suggests that retail sales in retailers unaffected by Source saw their dollar volume rise (in part because of price increases in celebrity weeklies. Unit sales, for the months of August and September declined by 6.5% (a significantly better picture than the entire market and entire 3rd quarter which was down by 26%) but dollar volume rose .75%.
I can tell you from my own experience that I am seeing stronger sales in both units and dollars since this summer and I am projecting much better 3rd and 4th quarter results for most of my clients.
Strong Covers: I don’t know about you, but I am seeing some great covers this year. It’s going to be very hard on the foredeck to select this year’s top ten! I’m grateful that we continue to turn out some pretty tremendously great magazines. While our industry has struggled from declining circulation and ad revenue, we haven’t experienced a creative brain drain on the editorial and design side.
Maybe our leaders should start pumping some revenue back into circulation and marketing? Maybe we could budge the numbers upwards with a little support?
Honest reckoning in the world of digital circulation: I have to confess that when I hopped into the world of digital newsstand and subscriptions, I thought the world would be much like the one I inhabited and I also thought sourcing and maintaining these readers would be a snap. Maybe I’d have to eat some crow and admit the fanboys were right.
Nope. Not so much. Digital circulation has its own rules, its own weirdness, and is not that easy. Obscure provider service, buggy apps. Price sensitivity. Building what is essentially an entirely new business model on the fly is, well, wicked hard.
I’m grateful that maybe, just maybe, we can finally have an honest discussion about how digital and print circulation can coexist and support each other in the long term goal of growing a magazines’ readership. Because that’s our ultimate goal, right?
Taylor Swift: No! I’m not a creepy internet stalker. And I don’t turn her music off when it pops up on the radio. And I don’t roll my eyes when the spin instructor starts off another week with a T. Swift single.
Taylor was on three magazine covers (that I’m aware of) last week. That’s probably not a record but it’s bound to help sales and that’s always a good thing considering how many other covers she’s graced this year.
With that in mind, I’ll be putting out my top ten unscientifically chosen covers next month and I want to know if I you loyal readers think there should be a special Taylor Swift category. I already took an informal survey of some of the national distributor AE’s I work with asked them this question:
“Should the Foredeck of the Titanic have a special award for 2014 Taylor Swift covers?”
And the answer was:
Chime in with your answers below.
So what are you grateful for this year?