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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Magazine Launch--Extended Retail Industry Journal 

Thought I'd add a bit of launch news, though it's more than a little self-serving.

Retail Systems Alert Group, a client of GRID Media, is launching ERI--Extended Retail Industry Journal in May. This new journal provides in-depth analysis of the effective integration of people, process and technology throughout the retail value chain. The magazine will be bi-monthly in 2005, with an anticipated frequency increase to monthly in 2006.

I don't think this qualifies as a vaporzine (only Rex Hammock can tell me for sure) since we're selling ads (contracts, even!), editorial is underway, we've selected a printer, and are ready for the premiere issue to hit the streets in combination with the Retail Systems 2005 trade show and conference.

We're also doing a Show Daily for the event. So, busy times.

We're very excited about the magazine's positioning and execution, and we think it will add serious value to readers and advertisers in the retail technology market space.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Puzzled Observers 

McGraw-Hill looks to leverage J.D. Power name

When McGraw-Hill bought J.D. Power, "the move puzzled some observers," according to the article linked above. Or at least one observer, an analyst from a brokerage.

"The two main [McGraw-Hill] acquisitions last year were clear strategic fits [Capital IQ and Grow Network], while the J.D. Power acquisition is not as obvious a strategic fit, in our view," said a report written by Lauren Rich Fine, first VP at Merrill Lynch, and others at the investment firm.

I love "puzzled observers," especially analysts. Let's see: Business Week covers a lot of consumer products and technology businesses, and M-H publishes an array of b2b magazines and information services. J.D. Power is a major brand name in the research/ratings of consumer products and services.

How could a smart publishing company ever think to leverage that? I'm puzzled...what's the connection?

Uh, adding value to audiences, advertisers and shareholders?

Grab: [J.D. Power] made its name collecting ratings information in the automotive industry. Today, about 65% of its revenue still originates from the automotive sector.

J.D. Power has expanded, though, to serve the finance and insurance, health care, construction, telecommunications and energy industries. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company said it will begin conducting customer satisfaction surveys of the after-sales service and support of technology products.


But Ms. Fine, of Merrill Lynch, notes: "We do not view this acquisition as a natural extension of [McGraw-Hill’s] existing assets in the information and media segment."

Perhaps this is why Merrill's symbol is a bull.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Happy Ides of March 

Ides of March

Certainly a better day than Pridie Ides! If you've got a minute, click the link and learn why Romans couldn't get their dates straight. Kalends, Nones, Ides... Could be a cool volume/issue dating system for those dinosaur rags we're all creating. Or not.

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I'm so relieved 

Trades roll along

Trade magazines aren't dead yet. Yay!

Sean Callahan's piece in BtoB (a trade magazine) notes that "these dinosaurs marked for extinction still roam the earth."

But: the venerable print medium is suffering something of an identity crisis. The crisis can be boiled down to this: Should print magazines emphasize their strengths or should they try to become more interactive, emulating the Internet? Or to put it in a more Zen form: Should magazines become more, or less, magazinelike?

While it's nice to have an article (in a trade magazine!) supporting the continued viability (sort of) of trade magazines, the whole thing kinda misses the point. I know of very few 'pure' trade magazine publishers. Most b2b companies have been 'integrated' media companies for some time, offering far more than ad pages to marketers and printed editorial pages to audiences.

The more I read this piece, the more I wonder about its true point. If you can figure it out, let me know.

Some additional grabs:

"You have to be a hell of a salesman to have someone commit to a 12-time, four-color spread in a trade magazine," said Dick Ryan, president-CEO of Zweig White Information Services. "We're trying to anticipate demands from the advertising and marketing community, who have voted against run-of-the-mill, ROP pages. They still want to use us to reach an audience, and they still want to do it through a magazine. But you can't hold your nose about working with a marketer on content anymore."

Bruce Morris, exec VP at Source Media, said his company is "media agnostic." The company offers print, online, events and subscription information products. It offers all of these products because an audience exists for them. "When the readers don't want print anymore," he said, "that's when we'll stop offering it."

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