Last Martha item

swaLast Martha item: I guess it should come as no surprise that an image I posted on this weblog almost two years ago is getting lots of hits today. In June, 2002, the first news items about the “scandal” corresponded with my acquisition of Photoshop Elements. So, my first, and frankly best, expermintation with illustrating a blog post, was the one on the left. (You can click here for a larger view.) I titled it, “Martha in Orange,” and it appears to be responding to the image search for “Martha and Jail”.

Corporate crimes, personal crimes

umbrellaCorporate crimes, personal crimes: Dan Ackman of points out the irony that Martha Stewart has been convicted of crimes that were personal, not corporate, and the market value of her company has been shaved by one-third, while Tyco, whose CEO Dennis Kozlowski is accused of corporate crimes that put nearly $170 million of stokeholders’ money in his and another executive’s pockets, has seen its market value double. Such is the price for being a leader of a cult of personality. Speaking of which, note that in the picture to the left, taken today as she left the courthouse after a meeting with her probation officer, Martha whips out an umbrella bearing the logos of her media properties: a sure sign that she’s a student of the “no such thing as bad publicity” school of promotion.

Flunking maganomics

Flunking maganomics: After months of trying to explain that it is a positive development when an industry receives more revenues for selling less product, I had given up trying. Until a few months ago, every time MediaPost’s Larry Dobrow reported that “advertising pages are down” in magazines with the buried lead that, oh, by the way, advertising revenues are up, I would comment that such a development in any other sector would be touted as “increased margins,” “more productivity,” and “the end of discounting.” But, my cause is a lost one. Again, today, he does so again.)

To Dobrow, more revenue for less advertising pages does not mean the obvious: that publications were giving away unsold inventory last year. To him, it does not mean that such inventory is now being sold. To him, it means that “there’s really no reason for me to think that things will get better sooner…” (as he quotes someone saying).

I will go on record once more as saying, “Revenues are the only metrics that matter in magazine publishing. It is the only thing that pays salaries. It is the only thing that is reflected on a company’s income statement and balance sheet. The number of advertising pages is a smoke and mirrors metric. Get over it.”