A message to this weblog’s seven readers

An announcement to this weblog’s seven readers regarding upcoming events : Beginning this Friday, August 13 and continuing through Sunday, August 22, I will be carrying out an experiment much like the one Steve Rubel tried when he went a week only getting news via weblogs. Except in my experiment, I’ll be trying to go a week without getting news from any source. (Except, perhaps, I may watch some Olympic softball coverage.)

My last post before my experimental blog-fast will be on Thursday evening when I will post links to a few sites where all the news here comes from anyway.

A few days after completing my week away from blogging (if successful, let’s call it a blogless coup), from Sunday, August 29 through Thursday, September 2, I will be in New York City and will be dropping the whole magazine news thing (for one week only) in order to blog about the folks I’ll be meeting during the Republican National Convention. While I will not be “credentialed” as a journalist or blogger (why bother?), I will be attending several convention sessions and will be reporting for NFIB.com, one of Hammock Publishing’s clients, and blogging here throughout the five days. I hope not to write about the things you can see on TV but will primarily focus on blogging about activities that will prove I’m a cyber-hayseed in the big city.

Always low prices. Always.

Always low prices. Always: The wait for Time Inc.’s WalMart channeled All You magazine is over on Friday, reports DMNews (via iwantmedia.com).

Quote:

“This is definitely not a partnership,” Oshin said. “This is definitely a Time Inc. initiative. Wal-Mart has no editorial involvement or financial involvement. So essentially this is not a partnership in the traditional sense. It is a Time Inc. title being distributed at a sole retailer. “It was not that we chose Wal-Mart,” she added. “It was that Wal-Mart was the largest distributor of magazines. An ongoing dialogue with them suggested that this was the first time a Time Inc. magazine would address their market.” A full-page, four-color ad in All You costs $13,470 — gross and non-negotiable. “You can call all 60 advertisers in this [premiere] issue, and they all paid the same rate, including Wal-Mart,” Oshin said.

Let’s do the math (as always, my math is strictly back of the envelop and as innacurate as, say, the math of most news reporters). Hmmm. Let’s see: 500,000 guaranteed circ. at $13,470 gross…equals, what, $27 CPM.

Now, reaching for the year-old SRDS on the floor next to my desk (the current edition is guarded by those who actually use it for something other than blog fact checking), I flip to section 49 and, again using the back of an envelop, I estimate the following 1-time, 4-color, published page rates (translation: “not non-negotiable”) for some of the other magazines in the All You space:

First for Women – $33
Family Circle – $48.50
Good Housekeeping – $52
Ladies Home Journal – $46

Apparently, All You is a bargain proposition for advertisers (who don’t want to negotiate) as well as readers. (PS. I wonder if any of the non-negotiation on pricing extends to non-negotiation on bundling the ads with other Time Inc. titles?)

Absolutely, positively big magazine news

Absolutely, positively big magazine news: For most of the readers of this weblog, the interesting aspects of the magazine world relate to publishing and editorial. Yet, how magazines get from the printer to ones home is fascinating to magazine geeks (a term coined by the 17-year-old in my household) like me. So, here’s an alert to the folks who don’t follow this “post-press” life of magazines. The following is big news:

Quad/Graphics announced an agreement on Monday, August 9, to sell our Parcel Direct division to FedEx for $120 million, payable in cash. The transaction is expected to close as soon as possible after appropriate regulatory and legal conditions have been met.

“In six years, we have grown Parcel Direct from a tiny upstart into a leading parcel expeditor and now we are pleased that a premier company like FedEx will build on our record of growth,” said Thomas A. Quadracci, President & CEO of Quad/Graphics. “Our companies share similar business values, especially our commitment to customer and employee care. We have full confidence in FedEx as a growth-oriented business and top-level employer.”

Parcel Direct has built a profitable business by specializing in the consolidation and delivery of high volumes of lower-weight, less time-sensitive packages. Its unique business model capitalizes on the efficiencies of automated equipment and processes to expedite packages from businesses to consumers in two to six days using the U.S. Postal Service for in-home delivery. Parcel Direct employs approximately 450 employees from 12 distribution centers coast to coast and generated $250 million in sales in 2003.

In short, Quad has pioneered the means to combine and “co-ship” multiple magazine titles (and catalogs) in order to by-pass the U.S. Postal Service and drop the publications into the mail stream as close to your mailbox as possible. This strategy saves publishers both time and money. In the big picture of shipping and transportation, this may be a small transaction, but in the world of magazine distribution, it will be interesting to follow what can happen if Fed Ex applies its leverage and creativity to this facet of the business.

(Disclosure: Hammock Publishing has been a customer of Parcel Direct for a long time.)