Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘New and Net-worthy’ Category

Covers as Social Media Tool

Posted by Scott On February - 28 - 2018

This article was forwarded to me by a client, and I thought it noteworthy.  It came from Free Port Press.

The editor of New York magazine is of course right, but keep in mind, the newsstand has never been a significant piece of New York’s rate base story.  So he has the luxury of being provocative and a bit cavalier about the newsstand.  With that said, the cover certainly has multiple purposes these days, that’s for sure.

The magazine cover – once a key element in making a title stand out on the newsstand – has evolved to a new purpose.

“The cover is no longer really to sell magazines on the newsstand,” explains Adam Moss, EIC of New York Magazine.

“As newsstands have become so much less important to all of us, the cover has a different function. It is basically the brand statement of what we make,” Moss says in an interview with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni. “It declares what we think is important or interesting; it declares our voice. Also, it’s an amazing document for the purposes of social media. Social media takes your cover and distributes it all over the place and it becomes an advertisement for the magazine that’s actually more important than it was originally meant to be when it was to stimulate newsstand sales.”

Coming from Moss, the longest-serving editor-in-chief of New York Magazine, this statement has a particular resonance. What it tells us two things:

  1. He is keenly aware of the changes in the industry and the impact of social media; and
  2. He is not lamenting those changes but rather embracing them and the new opportunities they bring.

He is, as Husni reminds us, a charter member in the “Print Proud, Digital Smart” club, understanding the true role of print in the changing media landscape. Moss balances print with digital in the spirit of a true leader.

“By hiring good people who know things that you don’t know,” he tells Husni. “And then you learn from them and try to help them think about things in a certain way, but essentially you let them do their jobs. As everything gets more complicated, the role of an editor is to hire specialists and let them do their thing.”

When we talk about the changing role of the magazine cover, that “thing” is relying less on eyeballs at the newsstand and more about showcasing the brand and making the cover image socially irresistible.

“Social media takes your cover and distributes it all over the place and it becomes an advertisement for the magazine that’s actually more important than it was originally meant to be when it was to stimulate newsstand sales,” Moss continues.

He’s careful to not speak in terms of “good” or “bad” regarding the changes in the magazine industry; rather he takes a balanced approach.

“I try not to think in those terms [of good or bad], because everything is both,” he explains. “Things change; there’s no fighting the things that change. And you just have to adjust to them and think of them as opportunities and not as problems. And I think basically most of the changes have been, not all, but most, have been for the better.”

Designing covers in the new magazine market means understanding the significant change that’s taken place. Of course, consulting the newsstand experts on your team is always a positive; just be sure you’re talking to the social side as well. Exceptional cover design is a collaborative endeavor and one of the most visible parts of the magazine industry.

The New York Magazine is one title that continues to get it very, very right.



Let the Mocking Begin

Posted by Scott On October - 19 - 2017

It was just a matter of time until some clever art director would do a mocking/mock cover like this one.

The Harvey Weinstein revelations have been very damning of Hollywood culture.

Bad Week For RollingStone

Posted by Scott On September - 21 - 2017

On Sunday, September 17th, Jenn Wenner announced that he was putting his remaining shares in the iconic American brand RollingStone up for sale.  Then, on Tuesday, September 19th, an Appeals Court, overturned a lower court ruling, regarding the infamous Rape On Campus story.   According to the NY Times:

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan ruled that a lower court had erred in dismissing a defamation lawsuit filed by three former members of the fraternity at the center of the 2014 article. In the earlier decision, a judge ruled that the three men — George Elias IV, Ross Fowler and Stephen Hadford — had not shown that the article was “of and concerning” them personally, apart from the fraternity…But in their decision, a panel of appellate judges wrote that “while it is a close call,” the district judge was incorrect when it came to two of the men, Mr. Elias and Mr. Fowler, and sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.

If you have been following the story, RollingStone has already been forced to settle two other cases as a result of the Fake News story, resulting in payouts of nearly $5 million dollars.  And imagine the legal expenses that were incurred over the years fighting a losing battle.  The Columbia Review of Journalism completely debunked the story.  And now RollingStone is facing additional costs to defend themselves in two more defamation suits brought by the Fraternity brothers who were implicated by the article.

There has been much speculation that the costs involved in this case led to the earlier sale of a minority stake in RollingStone.  And perhaps contributed to Wenner’s decision to put the remaining shares up for sale.  Selling this damaged and bleeding brand will certainly be complicated by the revival of these defamation suits.

Here’s a toast to all the Fact Checkers of the world.


Closer Magazine Loses Lawsuit over Topless Photos of Kate

Posted by Scott On September - 6 - 2017

Closer, the French gossip magazine, lost a court battle in France yesterday regarding photos showing the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middelton, topless.  The court ordered the defendants to pay damages to the duchess and her husband Prince William, however, the amount was significantly less than the royal family had requested.  They were seeking 1.5 million Euros.

The court ruled that three photographers, and three newspaper executives, invaded the privacy of the duchess, formerly known as Kate Middleton, by taking and publishing the photos.

Two executives of Closer magazine were slapped with the maximum 45,000 euro fine, plus the two executives, along with two photographers working with a celebrity photo agency, were collectively ordered to pay an additional 50,000 euros in damages to Kate and the same amount to William to boot.

The magazine was reported to be a sellout, according to reports from overseas.


New Boss at St. Joes

Posted by Scott On August - 18 - 2017

St Joseph Communications has announce a new boss at the helm.  Welcome Mr. Douglas Kelly.  Douglas Kelly will immediately assume the position of President of St. Joseph Media.

From the Official Press Release:

Mr. Kelly, who is currently SVP, Strategic Content Labs, at St. Joseph Media, takes over the position from Douglas Knight, who recently retired after leading the division for 10 years.

Three and a half years ago, Mr. Kelly joined St. Joseph to set up Strategic Content Labs, SJC’s custom content division. Since then, SCL has become a major part of St. Joseph’s product and service offering.

Prior to joining SJC, Mr. Kelly was Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The National Post, where he lead numerous transformative initiatives, including groundbreaking work in content marketing that helped cement his vision of the opportunity that has defined his focus at St. Joseph: To grow its roster of premier media brands alongside Strategic Content Labs.

“I want to thank Doug Knight for his leadership and Tony Gagliano for his confidence in me as we enter a new, exciting chapter for SJM. I am honored to be working with teams at such venerable titles as Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine, as well as associates right across the Media Group and larger company,” said Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Kelly will lead a talented senior management team at Media that includes Jacqueline Loch, VP & Group Publisher of Women’s Brands; Karl Percy, General Manager & VP Finance; Duncan Clark, VP Strategic Development; Ken Hunt, Publisher Toronto Life; and Darlene Storey, VP Consumer Marketing & Production.

Reporting to Tony Gagliano, Mr. Kelly will also be joining SJC’s Executive Leadership Team. He will continue to lead Strategic Content Labs, along with his duties as President of SJM.
As well, Jacqueline Loch will be working with Tony Gagliano to identify and bring enterprise-wide business opportunities that could include SJC’s other major divisions, Content and Printing. Ms. Loch has agreed to add this to her current responsibilities.



Paris Match Wins Censorship Fight

Posted by Scott On July - 14 - 2017

news_green-125x125A French court denied a bid by a Paris prosecutor who called for Paris Match magazine to be removed from sale on newsstands.  At issue: images from the terrorist attack in Nice, on the one-year anniversary of the Bastille Day massacre.  Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, drove a rented truck into a crowd of people as they watched a fireworks display late on July 14th, 2016, killing 86 people.  More than 300 people were injured in the brutal attack.

A French journalist’s union, SNJ,  condemned the prosecutor’s request, warning that it was a curb on press freedom.

Managing Editor Olivier Royant said the magazine “aims to fight tooth and nail for the right of citizens, and first and foremost of victims, to know exactly what happened during the attack”.

A group representing the families of victims had complained that the magazine was being insensitive for “morbid sensationalism.”

The judge did ban the future publication of two particular images either in print or in digital forms.

Paris Match

Metro News Re-Brands: METRO 360

Posted by Scott On July - 4 - 2017

news_green-125x125Metro News, one of Canada’s oldest, and largest magazine distributors, has announced a new corporate indentity…METRO 360.

The new branding is designed to reflect the forward-thinking strategic direction of the company, as it grows its business into the future.

In a Press Release, CEO Daniel Shapiro says:

“While magazine and book distribution will remain a crucial component of our portfolio, METRO 360 is looking toward the future, seeking our large packaged goods manufacturers to represent throughout Canada. We are also actively investing in consumer friendly packaged good companies, applying our core skill set to quickly scale the business.”

Barry Weir, VP and Chief Operating Officer, points out that METRO 360 is already handling a number of products, such as Dream Water and Handfuel. Asked if this might result in new business opportunties for magazines, the answer was a firm yes. “These organic trail mix products expand our network of retailers, and may lead to opportunties for magazines that cover healthy food and healthy living and other niche magazines.”

Glenn Morgan, CEO of Coast to Coast echoes that thinking. ” It certainly makes sense from the standpoint of bolstering their core business of magazine and book distribution. And it positions them for finding new and exciting retail environments for magazines.”

Metro Logo jpeg


Fake Cover

Posted by Scott On June - 28 - 2017

news_green-125x125The Washington Post broke the story that a “Fake” Time Magazine cover, featuring Donald Trump, adorns the walls of a number of Trump golf clubs.  Time Magazine has requested that they be taken down. The cover is dated March 1, 2009.  Problem: there was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time magazine. And there was no issue at all in 2009 that had Trump on the cover.

It is not clear who created this fake Time cover — or why, according the Washington Post.  But what is clear is that the President likes covers of magazines, as long as they are flattering, even if they are fake.

Fake Cover



Pioneer Woman…launch success!

Posted by Scott On June - 21 - 2017

news_green-125x125Pioneer Woman, a new magazine launched by Hearst and Scripps Networks Interactive, has apparently 100% sold out, and is going back to press to print another 100,000 copies, according to Ad Week.

The first issue was published on June 6th, 2017, with the next issue scheduled to go on sale in September of 2017.

The magazine was launched exclusively in Wal Mart…4000 stores in the USA.

Ad Week’s article said:

“Drummond’s blog, which launched in 2006, became a lifestyle phenomenon with millions of fans. Her Food Network show premiered in 2011. In addition to her multiple New York Times best-selling cookbooks, Drummond also has a line of cookware, dinnerware and home products available at Walmart. Drummond’s products are also sold at her own store, The Mercantile, in Pawhuska, Okla., an hour north of Tulsa.”

The cover features Ree Drummond, star of The Pioneer Woman on Food Network.

Fantastic to see a new magazine take off like this one has!


Launch Issue Jun 2017

RollingStone Pays Out Fraternity

Posted by Scott On June - 15 - 2017

news_green-125x125Rollingstone magazine has reached a settlement deal with the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia in the amount of $1.65 million dollars.   The law suit stemmed from the now infamous “fake news” story back in November of 2014 entitled “A Rape on Campus.”  The fraternity had sought $25 million.  This settlement is in addition to the $3 million dollars awarded to Nicole Eramo, a University of Virginia administrator, who was defamed by the article.  Plus, there is still an appeal pending by three individual members of the fraternity who are also seeking millions in damages to their reputations.

In a gesture of good will, it is reported that the  fraternity plans to donate “a significant portion” of the settlement to groups that offer sexual assault awareness education, prevention training and victim counseling services on college campuses.

The magazine chose to fight these lawsuits for years, despite the story being completely debunked by a Columbia Journalism School report.

The legal costs of defending the various lawsuits, and the settlement costs, may have contributed to Wenner Media selling a 49% stake in the iconic American brand to BandLab Technologies, a Singapore-based music company back in September of 2016, and US Weekly to the National Enquirer in March of 2017.

If only they had hired a good fact checker.  Or simply admitted their mistake and apologized right away.

Rape on Campus



About Me

Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy.



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