Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Texas Monthly, Quiz 10

Posted by Scott On April - 2 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Simply choose the cover that out sold the others.

Click on the cover to see full image.

The winner is ....

Newly Possible Synergies Enhancing Retail’s Value
By Cathie Black, President, Hearst Magazines

There’s no rush of excitement quite like the one I get at a newsstand. On city street corners, in airports, in retail venues from bookstores to big-box stores-anywhere print lives-I see people reach for magazines, get hooked by a cover or cover lines, story or photo or table of contents, and then buy the magazine.

The thrill of watching the engagement process unfold never wears off! And here’s why: For all the exciting innovation that digital has brought to media companies, our bottom line in magazines is still built from brands that flourish first on America’s retail racks.

From a publisher’s point of view, there is simply no better showcase than retail for our products. Consider what we reap from each and every newsstand that sells magazines: Newsstands are a critical source for new readers. Our covers attract retailers’ consumers. There is no sampling universe quite like it. Newsstands give Hearst the chance to captivate readers anew each month, simply by putting our magazines in their light. (And from the retailer’s standpoint, many research studies prove that a market basket that contains a magazine or two will be a bigger check at that retail outlet than one without magazines.)

Newsstands are also the venue where publishers try new things, from introducing titles to testing brand extensions. We continually adapt to changing consumer tastes by evolving or reinventing brands. This is something newsstands have helped us do well for decades-actually, make that a century, as we have seven magazines that are more than 100 years old and must constantly adapt their content, look and feel.

There is simply no better measure of our success-or red light for a need to improve-than what happens at the newsstand. Newsstand sales are still the most precise barometer of our performance. The truth can be tough, but it is never clearer than when people cast their votes with their pocketbooks.

What happens at the newsstand is the very pulse of print. People either like a magazine or don’t; they buy it or don’t. Either way, consumers have an immediate, unfiltered reaction to our product. That reaction gives us invaluable information.

Retailers represent a critical revenue stream for magazine companies, but their impact is far greater than sales figures tell. Retail outlets magnify brand power by making brands both highly visible and instantly accessible, and that adds significantly to a brand’s cultural and commercial influence. How can we quantify that? We can say, for example, that Cosmopolitan is the top-selling young women’s magazine on college campuses. It is also the top-selling young women’s magazine in 60 countries around the world, which explains the iconic status that inspires a young woman in Portland to feel the same connection with the brand as her counterparts in Peoria or Petaluma or Paris.

Hearst firmly believes in the power of the retail channel; that’s why we constantly use retail strategies to drive our growth. It’s also why six of our magazines (Cosmopolitan, O, The Oprah Magazine, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen and Marie Claire) are in the top 50 of all magazines sold at retail.

Last year, we tested a new title, Food Network Magazine, in a multi-platform launch with major emphasis on its newsstand performance. We knew that with our partner, cable TV’s Food Network, we had a strong brand. But only retail sales of test issues could tell us whether consumers would buy a print format.

In less than a year, Food Network Magazine has become one of the top-selling food titles on the newsstand, expected to generate more than $12 million in retail sales in 2010. And that’s not all. The magazine turned out to be both Advertising Age and Folio:’s “launch of the year,” plus garnered a National Magazine Award nomination in the category of General Excellence-quite a feat for a magazine less than a year old. The pages are packed with great-looking advertisers who have also responded very positively to the lively and service-oriented format.

Another retail strategy we’re using to drive growth is the “bookazine,” a magazine generated from branded Hearst content. As part of our overall strategy to offer consumers and advertisers multiple access routes into Hearst-branded content, we are also planning more products that convert digital content to print.

Our first digital conversion bookazine entry debuted in February; it’s a collection of recipes based on our successful food Web site, The publication, called Light & Delish, features 138 easy recipes at 400 calories or less. With a cover price of $9.99, the bookazine (which one Hearst editor describes as “a hybrid between a magazine and a soft-cover book”) is a stand-alone print product that also drives readers to for more recipes and tips. Hearst is very excited about this new direction in retail print.

Hearst, like every other media company, is innovating to thrive in a print-digital-broadcast-podcast-text message-uploaded-downloaded-wired-wireless world. One thing is certain: There is still no feast like a magazine when you’re hungry for something to read. We see that every day at the newsstand.

George Lois… reading a magazine on the iPad.

Posted by Scott On March - 30 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

George Lois, Esquire magazine’s legendary art director from 1962 to 1972 was asked in The New York Observer (March 22 issue) “What does he think about reading a magazine on the soon-to-be-released iPad?”

His answer:

“It’s O.K., I guess. But magazines will never die because there is a visceral feeling of having that thing in your hands and turning the pages. It’s so different on the screen. It’s the difference between looking at a woman and having sex with her.”

Canada’s History

Posted by Scott On March - 28 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

After ninety years as The Beaver, the re-branded April/May 20010 issue debuted on newsstands March 29th, 2010 as Canada’s History.

The re-launch attracted lots of media attention, including a joke on the Jay Lenno show, a skit on the Colbert Report, and a feature in Maclean’s.

Distributed by Disticor Direct, newsstand sales of this magazine have increased dramatically.

As the product and covers improved, as newsstand dealer expansion was built, as marketing initiatives were executed, newsstand sales responded:

• In 2005 newsstand unit sales increased and revenue increased by 69%
• In 2006 newsstand unit sales increased by 66%, and revenue increased by 87%
• In 2007 newsstand unit sales increased by 15%, and revenue increased by 19%
• In 2008 newsstand unit sales increased by 99% and revenue increased by 138%

The cumulative growth curve over this four-year period was a 540% increase in units sold, and a 796% growth in newsstand revenues.

With a bold and gutsy new look, the magazine is poised to continue its ascendency.

And the Verdict is…

Posted by Scott On March - 28 - 20101 COMMENT

According to ABC statistics, the May 2008 re-do of the classic sold 89,957 copies. Only one other issue in 2008 sold worse.
We never forget our first kiss. It is a special moment, set in a particular time and place. To recapture it and reproduce it is not easy, it seems.

Quote from George Lois Tells the Stories Behind His Twelve Favourite Classic Esquire covers
Woman Shaving, March 1965

“You could smell the women’s movement building at that point, I could feel it in my wife, even, though it was pre-Friedan, Pre-Steinem, Pre-Abzug. There was an article in Esquire called ‘The Masculinization of the American Woman’ — it sounded more negative than it was, but the point was well taken. It was saying the American women were growing balls. To me it was a no-brainer; I’d just get a beautiful woman and have her shaving. I wanted a blonde, and I tried to get Monroe, I tried to get Kim Novack, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I’d explain that I wanted her shaving, and their business managers said to me, ‘Are you crazy?’ Finally we got Virna Lisi, the Italian actress. And we did this beautiful shot. When the cover came out, it was a big hit. A lot of women were arguing about it.”

Marilyn Monroe Shaving

Pools Spas & Patios

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This annual publication debuts its new look on April 26th 2010, with a beefed up page count and a new cover price of $9.95…up from $7.95.

Backed by an aggressive retail promotion plan, the new cover features more benefit-oriented hooks than ever before, and a new red drop down box in the upper right hand corner.

The magazine is distributed by Disticor.

You will find it at retailers such as: Chapters, Indigo, Shoppers Drug Mart, Home Depot, Loblaws, Safeway, Metro/A&P, Costco, Walmart, Zellers and Presse Commerce, and other fine magazine retailers.

British Columbia Magazine

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

One of the more elegant yet newsstand savvy cover designs in their 50 year history, the Summer 2008 issue of British Columbia Magazine eschewed the usual nature shot, but instead produced a warm yet bold typographical cover.

Sell-through efficiency of 62.1% is the second-best ever achieved out of over 200 issues published. Only two issues have sold more units.

Canadian Geographic

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

The December 2009 cover is a classic that will stand the test of time. After undergoing a comprehensive Cover Analysis, spanning 14 years and 84 covers, Canadian Geographic produced this masterpiece.

Like most covers that sell well, they did multiple things right:

Great editorial subject matter, breath-taking photography, great use of the cover real estate for supporting sell lines, red cover slash offering a Free Map, white background for maximum “pop off”, wolf overlapping logo for heart-pounding 3D effect, and a gold frame that drew attention to the Special Anniversary Issue value proposition, plus strong retail promotional support.

We were so confident this issue would sell extremely well, that we took the cover price up to $7.95 from $6.95. Sales are forecast to be the best ever in Canadian Geographic’s 80 year history, selling over 29,000 copies. This beats their previous best by over 20% in copies sold, and over 37% in retail dollars.

This cover just won and ACE AWARD (Award for Circulation Excellence) at the 2010 MagNet event for Best Retail Extra Large Circulation category.

The Beaver – Quebec 400

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 20101 COMMENT

The first-ever Special Interest Publication by The Beaver, the Feb/Mar 2008 issue was produced in both English and French editions. It was perfect bound for the first time ever. Cover stock was up-graded. Cover price was raised from the normal $6.95 to $9.95…a 43% premium.

The issue was backed with a strong retail promotion plan and outstanding support from the distribution team, particularly in Quebec.

The issue outsold the previous Feb/Mar issue by 670% in terms of copies sold. Revenues increased by 1002%.

This issue was awarded the ACE Award (Award for Circulation Excellence) for Best Retail Performance at the 2009 CMC event.

It also won the 2009 National Newsstand Award for best Mid-Size retail performance.


Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Legion Magazine was born in May 1926, and can proudly boast that it is the third oldest continuously published magazine in Canada.
The publisher is Canvet Publications Ltd., whose 9 employees serve a readership of almost 700,000. The magazine enjoys a paid circulation (audited by CCAB) of 262,282, as of the Sept 2009 statement.

The magazine is now available on select newsstands, effective with the May/Jun 2009 issue. It is distributed by LMPI.



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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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    Garden Making issue 4 promo at Chapters Our Feature pktNewsstand Marketer of The Year 2010Scott in the countyIMG_3227Can Geo's Overwaite RackCanGeo201006 SafewayGeo201006Chapters End CapWall of Covers at Native PeoplesDay at RacesVespa at BeachCanadian Geo's Great Wall of CoversGarden Making issue 2 promo at Wal-Mart New Release RackGarden Making issue 2 promo at Chapters End CapPools at CostcoWalmart PromotionPools, Spas & Patios at ZellersHome Depot (Pools, Spas & Patios + Canadian Geographic)Garden Making Launch at ChaptersKen Whyte's Wall of CoversBucky