Profits are down and share prices are moving up in after-hours trading. That, in a nutshell, sums up a crazy day of Tribune Publishing news.
“Tribune Publishing is in the early stages of a compelling transformation, with a well-defined strategic plan to drive increasing monetization of our important brands, capitalize on the global potential of the LA Times and significantly accelerate our conversion of content to revenue through an enhanced digital strategy,” said CEO Justin Dearborn. “While the Board is always open to evaluating any credible proposal that it believes to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders, Gannett’s opportunistic proposal understates the Company’s true value and is not a basis for further discussion. The Board is confident that the execution of our standalone strategic plan will generate shareholder value in excess of Gannett’s proposal.”
During the Q1 earnings that followed, Dearborn outlined a few more details about that transformation, revealing that the company plans to open L.A. Times bureaus next year in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Lagos, Moscow, Seoul and Hong Kong. For reporters and editors at Tribune papers, May 4 was just another topsy-turvy day at the office. By comparison, Tribune Media Company shares are currently at around $38.00.
Image via: Yahoo Finance
Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd land their own show on Fox Sports’ FS1. “The Monday-Friday afternoon show, which carries the working title ‘Speak for Yourself,’ will be an opinion-based studio show that will anchor FS1’s weekday afternoon block,” Sports Business Daily reports. “It is not clear whether the show will compete head-to-head with ESPN’s long-running ‘PTI,’ which produces the highest ratings for ESPN outside of live games.” Recent Fox Sports convert Skip Bayless will also get his own program in the near future, although the details and the co-hosts remain a mystery for now…
The New York Times refocuses on the research and development world, renaming its R&D lab Story[X] and putting innovation and strategy editor Kinsey Wilson in charge. “With the pace of change accelerating and with a number of vacancies on that team, we thought it was an opportune time to rethink the lab’s work and bring it closer to the work of our product, news and advertising teams,” Wilson wrote in a memo announcing the news… Tony Gervino is out as editor in chief at Billboard, a role he held for the last two years. Craig Marks will stay on as executive editor, now reporting to Mike Bruno, senior vice president of content… Brian Hopman gets promoted to vp and general manager of AP’s Electronic News Production System. He’s been with the company since 1998, most recently as general manager for the Latin American and Spanish media markets… And there are changes at Entertainment Weekly, Us Weekly and more…
Despite the dreary weather — Will the sun ever come out again? — Michael’s was jam-packed with plenty of the usual suspects and the random Hollywood hotshot (Harvey Weinstein) and celebrity (actress Judith Ivey). I was glad my date, InStyle’s smart and personable publisher, Patrick Connors arrived a full fifteen minutes early. Patrick had a lot to say about all the exciting and innovative initiatives in the hopper at the Time Inc. title and the early start gave me a chance to soak up every word before the inevitable din took over the dining room.
I first met Patrick in this very room (where else) when he joined me for a ‘Lunch’ a few years back with Galvanized Brands’ David Zinczenko. At the time, Patrick was svp and publisher at Men’s Fitness (where, coincidentally, he started his career) working with Dave to relaunch the title as a lifestyle brand. Let’s just say things turned out pretty well for all concerned. Patrick quadrupled profitability within his first 16 months on the job and went on to increase the digital business by 150 percent.
In August of last year, Patrick was tapped as publisher for InStyle. In this role, he heads up sales and marketing across all platforms, in addition to developing new growth opportunities and revenue streams alongside longtime editorial director Ariel Foxman. Having worked at Condé Nast as associate publisher of Glamour and Details, this is Patrick’s first tour of duty at Time Inc. “They really respect the consumer,” he told me. Just the other day Patrick and Ariel helmed a joint presentation on “the future of the brand” for CEO Joe Ripp and the company’s board of directors. The symbiotic relationship of InStyle’s editor and publisher has been critical to the overall success of the brand. “The [publishing] culture has changed,” Patrick said between bites of chicken paillard. “We have to be in each other business every day. In order to connect to the consumer, we have to have an understanding of each other’s business. It’s a collabortation.”
As a longtime fan of the title (I still have the very first issue with Barbra Streisand on the cover) I told Patrick I liked the luxe new look of the magazine, which was unveiled with the March issue. The first redesign in six years included the introduction of “bespoke” typeface dubbed ‘Luce’ font in honor of Henry Luce. “InStyle’s font had been copied ten times over,” said Patrick. “The new font elevates the brand but we didn’t change the content.” But there were additions. “We learned the consumer loved [our] sections so we added ‘The Get’ and ‘The Guide.'” One thing that didn’t change was the trim size. “Joe [Ripp] asked us about it. Playing with trim size is a game magazines play with advertisers, but what are you really getting? You’re not getting more content.” The powers that be opted to increase the paper stock instead. “[Our reader] is an affluent woman who likes luxury, our product has to feel luxurious, not flimsy when she’s holding it.” Obviously, it’s working. “We’re the number one selling brand on the newsstand. We sell more than 97 percent [of the magazines] out there.”
In the race to reach — and keep — the all-important fashion and beauty shopper with money to spend on her favorite brands, InStyle is miles ahead of its competitive set with more women with a household income of over $100k than all the other fashion books, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and even Vanity Fair. “The InStyle Collection” — print, digital, mobile — reaches 11.7 million uniques every month. Here’s the statistic that really made me sit up and take note: Every month each reader purchases an average of seven items solely from InStyle’s ads — more than any other competitor.
All of this is catnip to advertisers who, in addition to keeping their print programs [pages are unchanged versus last year] are flocking to digital programs. The reason why? “There is only 6 percent duplication between our print and digital user. They’re psychographically similar, but it’s a different consumer,” Patrick told me.
One of the biggest areas of growth is in branded content. Thanks to the new “amazing” InStyle Studios located in Time Inc.’s downtown offices, editorial and advertising teams are better able to work together to keep pace with increased advertiser demand. “Advertisers want custom content. The question is: How do we incorporate advertising in content in a way the consumer is interested in? It’s all about balance. It’s not just slapping a logo on something. It’s about integrating product and the right messaging.”
The focus in print has always been on fashion and beauty while InStyle.com, which produces 100 posts of original content every day, encompasses the broad spectrum of lifestyle content. “It’s all about living a super stylish life.” Regardless of the platform, everything InStyle does is delivered through the lens of the aspirational yet accessible celebrity. In two weeks, the site will launch an InStyle Weddings vertical, with a “beefed-up” editorial team who will produce 50 pieces of original content for the launch and deliver 30 new postings daily. Also coming: Lip Service, which will feature “the voice of celebrities and influencers” with messages of empowerment and encouragement to connect to the site’s female fans. In September, a new video series, Lifestyles of the Super Stylish, will offer readers an up close look at celebrities and other brand-appropriate personalities and incorporate advertisers’ products. All of this, said Patrick, plays to InStyle’s strengths. “Balancing luxury and reach is a very hard game to play that few brands can do. InStyle is just like Louis Vuitton and Chanel in that regard. We can increase out scope and not lose the luxury [of the brand.]”
Aligning the brand with Hollywood events has also proven successful. The magazine’s Golden Globes Party is one of the hottest tickets during award season. “It’s really a time when celebrities come to be with their friends and be themselves,” said Patrick, who went to his first one this past January. He showed me a slick sell piece touting last year’s inaugural InStyle Awards, which were held last October at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow (who won the ‘Style Icon Award’) to Kim Kardashian West turned out for the swanky affair. “It was the first time the museum had partnered with a media brand,” he said, adding that the museum was interested in leveraging the brand’s “Hollywood” connection. Patrick told me that when planning the event, the editors wanted to reach beyond celebrating the A-listers and include the people who worked tirelessly to turn mere mortals into stars. “People think Jennifer Aniston just rolls out of bed and shows up looking beautiful on the red carpet when it reality, there is a team of people who work with her. Because of social media, our readers, especially millennials, are really interested in the behind-the-scenes people.” It’s no wonder with the 2 billion impressions generated from the event, the team at InStyle is hard at work on this year’s ceremony.
Ah, millennials. I just can’t seem to have ‘Lunch’ with anyone in media without discussing this idiosyncratic, often elusive consumer. At InStyle, the strategy to reach and engage millennial is very clear. “For them, it starts with social media. That’s how they engage with the brand first. They’re big on experiential because then they can document it on social media.”As you might expect, video plays a major role for this digitally-obsessed consumer. “Social, our Facebook Live where people tune into watch video live and the luxury content we’re developing are our three video strategies.” But Patrick is careful to note that InStyle isn’t hung up on age. “Our customer is not so much defined by age. We found our content has to be relevant for all ages.”
“You have to be everywhere and open to change,” said Patrick as we finished up our coffee. “It’s about flexibility. You can’t dictate to the consumer, you have to go where she is.” That also extends to his own job description. “I’m not a publisher of a magazine, I’m the publisher of a brand. There’s so much opportunity. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a time of change and at Time Inc., they’re changes for the better.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Mickey Ateyeh with actress Judith Ivey and friends
2. Eva Mohr
3. Penske Media vice chair Gerry Byrne
4. Agent Ed Victor
5. Harvey Weinstein presiding over a table of folks we didn’t recognize. Anyone?
6. Andrew Stein
7. Two of my favorite sole men: Footwear News’ Michael Atmore and Manolo Blahnik’s George Malkemus
8. Judy Price
10. Gillian Tett
11. Bill Stanton
12. Cosmetic World’s George Ledes and Christine Schott Ledes
14. Wayne Kabak and Larry Kudlow
15. Nick Loeb, yes Sofia Vergara’s ex.
16. Cece Cord
17. Digital Place Based Ad Association CEO Barry Frey
18. LAK PR CEO Lisa Linden, who was nice enough to introduce me to noted food systems expert Karen Karp. The gals were celebrating Karen’s upcoming marriage to her business partner Dick Batten. Congrats!
20. Francesca Bean
21. The Wall Street Journal’s Teri Agins and Patrick Murphy
23. Tech guru Shelly Palmer
24. Bob Tobin
25. Jim Casella
27. Patrick Connors and yours truly
Faces in the crowd: Bravolebrity Caroline Stanbury who, so we’re told, celebrated her 40th birthday with a 70s-themed blow out earlier this week in London (She is one of stars of Bravo’s Ladies of London, one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures). I would have loved to chat with her, but she looked like she was on mission on her way back to the Garden Room. Cheerio!
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
This literary tapestry of the human experience will delight readers of all backgrounds. Designed by the legendary Milton Glaser, who created the I ♥ NY logo, 100 Years brings together color, type, and text to illuminate the ebb and flow of an entire life.
When Mashable’s Amanda Wills starts at her new professional home just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, it will mark a memorable step for both her and the expanding CNN digital news desk. She is the first senior news editor for that side of things to be based in New York.
From today’s announcement by lead homepage editor Carl Lavin:
Amanda will work with digital staffers, news-gathering teams, social, video and show teams based in New York, as well as staff across the entire CNN world. She will be an engine of high-quality distinctive work tailored for the mobile digital consumer.Wills will work with teams in Atlanta, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
One item that jumps out on Wills’ resume is the fact that she earned an Alex Haley/Playboy Interview Scholarship while at the University of Tennessee. The scholarship is given by the College of Communications to an up-and-coming journalism major with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
That honor no doubt helped Wills land a 2008 editorial internship at Playboy magazine in New York. She has also worked for The Tennessee Journalist, Scripps Networks Interactive, earth911.com and HGTV.
Photo via: LinkedIn
In the March 2013 Los Angeles magazine feature “In the Footsteps of a Killer,” Michelle McNamara, the late wife of comedian Patton Oswalt, shared at one point how she first became enamored with amateur sleuthing.
Her personal passion would lead to the creation in 2006 of the blog True Crime Stories and, at the time of her death, an in-progress book with Harper Collins expanding upon the Los Angeles magazine investigation of the so-called East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker (EAR/ONS) killer. The unknown assailant has been linked to dozens of rapes in northern California, ten murders in southern California and a first killing in Santa Barbara between 1974 and 1986. From McNamara’s piece:
My own obsession with unsolved murders began on the evening of August 1, 1984, when a neighbor of mine in Oak Park, Illinois, where I grew up, was found murdered. We knew Kathleen Lombardo’s family from our parish church. She was out for a jog when she was dragged into an alley. Neighbors reported seeing a man in a yellow tank top and headband watching Kathleen intently as she jogged. He cut her throat.
Several days after the killing, without telling anyone, I walked the block and a half north from our house to the spot where Kathleen had been attacked. I was 14, a cheerleader in Tretorn sneakers whose crime experience began and ended with Nancy Drew. On the ground I saw pieces of Kathleen’s shattered Walkman. I picked them up. Kathleen Lombardo’s murderer was never caught.
What gripped me that summer before I started high school wasn’t fear or titillation but the specter of that question mark where the killer’s face should be.
As McNamara had with her blog and separate lead-up efforts looking into the man she renamed the “Golden State Killer,” her Los Angeles magazine piece generated passionate responses. One reader, who claimed to be a a child of one of the killer’s victims, expressed their anger at the case being needlessly revisited. Another reader, astonishingly, sent in a letter typed out on sheets of toilet paper.
Through these efforts, McNamara was following in the footsteps of retired detective Larry Crompton, who had stayed on the EAR/ONS case and self-published the 2010 book Sudden Terror. Along with the original Los Angeles magazine article and associated items, another good way to remember McNamara is to listen to a 50-minute podcast she did with Los Angeles magazine editor in chief Mary Melton. It’s unclear at press time whether HarperCollins plans on completing and publishing McNamara’s manuscript.
Screen grab via: lamag.com
Spotted on Facebook by former Houston Chronicle staffer Alan Bernstein’s brother, the circa-1943 photo of Allerton Avenue in the Bronx shows a row of buildings, one of which has a sign dangling above that reads ‘Music Records.’
Per a blog post by Bernstein, dad took over that very store five years later and ran it until the turn of the 1960s. From a media connections point of view, there’s much more to the photo, as Bernstein reveals a little later:
The photo turned up at a recent reunion of residents of the hulking co-op apartment complex seen in the rear of the picture. According to online sources, [Whitman] Bassow was a New York journalist when he took the photo. Later he became Newsweek magazine’s correspondent based in Moscow, reporting on the Soviet Union. I became a journalist after graduating from college in 1976.
My father told us many times about realizing sometime around 1960 that communists were meeting upstairs from the music store. He had been a civilian draftsman for the Navy during the big war and certainly had no empathy for communism during the subsequent Red Scare that seized our country’s conscience. Some of the communists had dropped into the store to convince my dad that the Soviet Union was utopia. He enjoyed calling the FBI to report on their doings.
To see the photo in question, check out Bernstein’s article. He shares many more memories involving the Bronx store and a second one operated by dad in Hialeah, Fla., where one part-time employee would go on to later front KC and the Sunshine Band.
Image via: heykcsb.com
Scholastic Scher Foord as vp, creative, for Scholastic.com. Foord previously served as executive director, UX and design for Condé Nast.
Prior to her stint with Condé, Foord worked for Time Inc. as special projects director for its Style and Entertainment Group.
“Scher brings exceptional skills in all facets of digital experience strategy and visual design, coupled with an incredibly thoughtful and collaborative manner,” said Scholastic chief digital marketing officer Dani Nadel, in a statement.
Foord will report to Nadel.
Justin Chang recently kicked things off at the L.A. Times, his new place of employ, with a widely shared slam of the Garry Marshall-directed Mother’s Day. Now, just in time for the real thing, Variety has announced a replacement for their departed co-chief film critic.
He is… one of the most interesting names still left in the bunch, Owen Gleiberman. The longtime former EW critic starts May 9 and will be based in New York. From today’s release:
Gleiberman shares the title of chief film critic with Peter Debruge, who will be relocating back to Los Angeles from Paris at the end of June.
“Owen is a rock star,” said Debruge. “When Owen loves a movie, his enthusiasm is contagious, and when he doesn’t, he’s liable to start a fiery debate, which is as it should be at Variety, where we take cinema as seriously as he does. I can’t wait to welcome him aboard.”
Gleiberman will be joining Debruge and others on the Variety team who are traveling to the Cannes Film Festival.
Thanks to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter’s traditional early access to film review opportunities, as well as the criticism slots afforded by the trades’ exhaustive coverage of events like Cannes, they are – arguably – one of the lucky media platforms where film criticism still matters. This is a great, late-career stage home for Gleiberman.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Devil Is in the Owen Gleiberman Details
Photo of Gleiberman via: Variety
Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) is all in on video.
The entertainment division of the media giant announced it was backing three filmmaker incubator programs, revamped its video streaming service The Scene and renewed dozens of its short-form digital series.
CNE’s incubator deals include production and distribution for film studios Indigenous and Big Script as well as the film series Project: Her.
The Scene has been redesigned to be mobile first and the app available via the iTunes App Store. CNE also inked new content deals for The Scene with the NBA and CNN’s Great Big Story.
As for returning video series, Vogue’s 73 Questions, GQ’s Most Expensivest Shit and Bon Appetit’s Eat, Stay, Love are all coming back.
The Society of Publication Designers (SPD) has announced the six finalists for its Magazine of The Year award.
Finalists include Eight by Eight, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Elephant, New York and More. The winner will be announced May 6 at the SPD Gala at Cipriani.
Below are some of SPD’s favorite work from the finalists.
Veteran Associated Press staffer Sonya Ross has sued the AP for allegedly discriminating against her because of her race, sex and age.
In an unfortunate ironic twist, Ross most recently served as the AP’s race and ethnicity editor. She has been with the AP since 1986.
Ross, who is black, claims the AP denied her chances for advancement and created “a climate of hostility towards African American employees.”
“Ms Ross has continued to work at AP under conditions that have been extremely stressful and humiliating,” said the suit. “She senses antipathy toward her on AP’s part, and believes AP wants to destroy her credibility in the media industry in retaliation for her complaints about her former boss, and for triggering the investigation that led to this finding of discrimination by the federal Department of Labor.”
The AP has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving The Players’ Tribune and Reuters. Details are below.Chris Bernard has joined the Players’ Tribune as senior vice president, athlete relations. Bernard previously worked for the Knicks as vice president, player development, marketing and team operations. Reuters has named David Gaffen energy markets editor in charge. He most recently served as U.S. markets editor. Gaffen has been with Reuters since 2009.