media brands

96-Year-Old Forbes Media Heads to the Auction Block

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 01:47 PM

Forbes Media is the latest victim of a dying print industry.

Perhaps best known for ranking wealthy individuals worldwide, Forbes is on the block for an estimated $400 million to $500 million in a sale being handled by Deutsche Bank. Former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who serves as editor-in-chief told employees on Friday that they’d received numerous inquiries about a sale. 

The venerable, 96-year-old brand, founded by financial newspaper columnist B.C. Forbes in 1917, has been confronted by declining ad sales and dwindling profits as print-based media brands struggle to transform content, platform and purpose in a world wired 24/7.

B.C. Forbes was succeeded by his son, Malcolm, who was known for his expensive tastes including hot air balloons, Faberge eggs, Victorian art, real-estate and a motorcycle collection—all of which was sold off along the way, including Forbes’ longtime headquarters, which was sold to New York University in 2010. Forbes began making changes to its privately-held structure in 2006 to augment its digital presence by selling a 45 percent stake to Elevation Partners, the private equity firm co-founded and backed by U2 frontman Bono and Roger McNamee for close to $240 million.Continue reading...

digital moves

Brides Serves Up Authentic Experience with Digital Scanner

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2013 10:41 AM

A major downside of the Internet is the escalation of selling and buying counterfeit goods, with $250 billion lost annually in the US to sales of faux items, according to Accessories Magazine

The design and fashion industries have been hardest hit, with the bridal industry alone losing hundreds of millions of dollars with close to 600,000 fake wedding gowns bought online each year, the New York Times notes, but one brand, Brides Magazine, hopes to change that. The 79-year-old publication is doing its best to combat slowing print sales by full-on embracing digital, and with that, some industry-saving upgrades to its Wedding Genius app. 

The 'Brides Against Counterfeiting' feature allows users to scan a website of a retailer or manufacturer to view an AuthentiGuard Prism—an embedded code that verifies an authorized retailer. 

"This initiative will also protect our advertisers by pinpointing and reporting counterfeiters who are illegally marketing brand names online," Brides vice president and publisher Michelle Myers told Ad Age.Continue reading...

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...

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