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digital moves

Publishing Head Larry Kirshbaum's Exit from Amazon May Be a Good Sign for Paperbacks

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2013 12:43 PM

Amazon has been making headlines a lot lately, mostly for new, exciting ventures like charitable e-commerce site AmazonSmile, new, original programming for Amazon Instant Video and it's futuristic new headquarters. But this week the company hit an uncharacteristic speed bump. 

Larry Kirshbaum, previously the head of Time Warner Book Group and head of Amazon’s New York and Seattle adult and children's publishing imprints, announced his exit from the e-publishing giant—a move that also signifies Amazon's efforts to scale-back its publishing operations, according to a report from Shelf Awareness. Amazon’s publishing performance, at first perceived as a full-scale assault on the industry, has not panned out as planned, despite initially signing top authors like Timothy Ferriss (“The Four-Hour Chef”), Penny Marshall (“My Mother Was Nuts”) and Billy Ray Cyrus (“Hillbilly Heart”).

“There’s a lot of fallout to parse here, but it’s worth noting the beating that even a company like Amazon can suffer when engaging in disruptive entrepreneurship," Slate notes. “In 2012, Barnes & Noble announced it wouldn’t sell books published by Amazon. After that announcement, indie booksellers followed suit.” Even more traditional retailers like Walmart and Target chose to not stock Amazon-published books.Continue reading...

end of an era

The Devil Waves Bye-Bye: Condé Nast Kills Internships as 'Unpaid' Debate Goes Global

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2013 11:07 AM

Interns take heart—the era of your unpaid servitude may be over, but so may be your job prospects. 

Following multiple lawsuits and a global debate on the ethics of unpaid labor in the name of "experience," Condé Nast, the publisher of such leading glossies including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, announced that it is abolishing its internship program starting next year. Over the summer, two former interns, one with W magazine and the other with The New Yorker, filed lawsuits claiming they were paid below minimum wage. 

It's yet to be seen whether other companies will follow suit, but there's no doubt that others will be looking to dodge the bad headlines and nightmarish PR spin that Conde and others, like Hearst, have had to endure in the last few years.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

HGTV Magazine Mobilizes Print with Digimarc Share App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 21, 2013 12:27 PM

As more print brands succumb to the realities of digital, consumers are increasingly looking for more ways to engage with content and have shareable experiences.

So in the November issue of HGTV magazine, readers will encounter the brand's usual "High/Low List" in an all-new way: with the ability to buy items right off the page and share their purchases with friend on social media via the Digimarc Discover app. 

Previously, MasterCard teamed up with Wired magazine to enable direct purchases from within the brand's digital edition.Continue reading...

end of an era

New York Times Ushers in New Era with Official Rebrand of International Herald Tribune

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 15, 2013 02:37 PM

The iconic International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times, has been officially rebranded as the International New York Times.

Immortalized by Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard's classic Breathless, with a star turn in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," the rebrand is a survival tactic to support the mother-ship and evolve into a global news entity in a world rendered virtually borderless and increasingly downsized by digital.

“Today, our future is global,” wrote publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. "With today’s action, we are creating a single, unified global media brand, which will allow us to expand our digital hubs, grow our editorial team, add more international voices in news and opinion, and increase the coverage provided by some of our best writers from around the globe.”

The Times Co. has pared back recently, selling the Boston Globe and its portfolio of regional papers, divesting About.com and its investment in the Boston Red Sox in a strategic goal of preserving and growing the flagship brand.Continue reading...

brand challenges

McDonald's Promotes Reading, Healthy Eating with Happy Meal Books—But Is It Enough?

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 04:27 PM

McDonald's certainly can't win with some critics. Its new promotion involves giving away millions of books that will advance both children's literacy and their understanding of healthy eating. But all some people see are a cynical way to sell more fast food.

Which, of course, is what McDonald's is in business to do. It'd be tough to make a mass business, employ all those workers and pay all those taxes with a trade that offered only, say, hand-made artisan sandwiches of artichokes and avocados with a chaser of kombucha.

In lieu of toys, McDonald's US plans to distribute more than 20 million paperback books inside its Happy Meals in the US during the first half of November, a gambit which could make it the country's "largest children's book publisher for the month," as Ad Age observed.

The move is "yet another effort to appease criticis who have lambasted its Happy Meals for the food quality, the licensed toys and kid-targeted marketing," noted USA Today. The brand launched a similar effort back in the UK back in January, where it received much the same criticism.Continue reading...

social media watch

Pinterest Woos Print Brands with 'Pin Now, Read Later' Article Pins

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2013 12:42 PM

At 4 years old, Pinterest is stepping up and out of the photo-centric ‘virtual pinboard’ model it has risen to success with, adding ads in the form of ‘promoted pins,’ and now article pins to woo publishers and readers.  

Pinterest is aggressively seeking to leverage its more than 5 million daily article pins from brands like BuzzFeed for whom the pinboard has become a top traffic referral. The new article pins will give brands the ability to include headlines, authors, story descriptions and links to the source from the pin itself.

“The addition of the more useful article pins is only one of many changes taking place at Pinterest this year, as the company moves to turn its growing traction into a real, monetizable business," TechCrunch notes. “The move to expand the focus to articles and news content, then, could potentially position Pinterest as a modern-day bookmarking tool akin to Delicious, or even a competitor to 'read it later' services like Instapaper or Pocket.”Continue reading...

digital moves

Tesco Looks to Boost Own-Brand Digital Services with Low-Price Hudl Tablet

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 23, 2013 07:39 PM

It there’s one thing the world needs, it’s another tablet. At least that’s what some executives at Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer thought. The brand has turned out its own device, the seven-inch Hudl, which is supported by Google’s Android, Reuters reports. The hope is that it “will boost online shopping and drive sales of [Tesco’s] digital entertainment content."

Tesco is doing its best to bounce back from a tough year that saw it combat a global horse meat scandal and failed grocery ventures in the US and China. Unfortunately, the Hudl won't have a much easier road, with such major competitors as Apple, Samsung and Amazon to face. But the retail giant hopes to make inroads in the market with its low-priced offering.Continue reading...

digital moves

Under New Owners, Maxim May Get its Own TV Network

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 16, 2013 02:49 PM

Maxim Magazine is reportedly heading to television as new owners Darden Media Group aim to launch a Maxim-branded TV channel and an indie music label. The publication will stick around too, as it remains one of the largest men's magazines despite a downturn in circulation and recent cutback from 12 to 10 issues annually.

One pay-TV operator is already on board with two more reportedly in the wings as Darden’s plan to distribute Maxim TV to 35 million households by year’s end comes to fruition. "Although the publishing industry has seen seismic shifts over the past several years, the opportunities to create powerful, transmedia brands that engage consumers and advertisers on multiple platforms is significantly on the rise," Darden said in a press release.

No stranger to programming, Maxim has produced one-off programs for cable including "Hot 100" for VH1, video content for its website and YouTube, apps for mobile and Xbox Live, and has plans to roll out similar apps for PlayStation 3 and set-top devices like Roku.Continue reading...

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