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December 13, 2017

Publishing News

Conde Nast Adds Nielsen Catalina Data for Audience-Based Buying
Condé Nast announced that "it has licensed product-level purchase data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) to enhance audience-based buying capabilities for its CPG, beauty, and OTC advertisers. Condé Nast will be the first company to use this purchase data to predict future consumer behavior. This relationship enhances Condé Nast's proprietary data and optimization platform, Spire, with the addition of NCS data, allowing advertisers to access standard and custom purchase-based audience segments and optimize campaign tactics such as creative execution or ad placement type based on real-time brand sales trends while a campaign is in flight. Using an automated technology bridge between NCS and Condé Nast's data, Condé Nast will also be able to combine NCS data with its own first-party and client data for audience profiling..." MediaPost: "Karthic Bala, head of data strategy at Condé Nast, told Publisher’s Daily: 'Over the last year and a half, Condé has been building the AI technology that can be used to optimize campaigns in real time to increase performance... The decision to partner with NCS follows the acquisition of 1010Data in 2015 and the acquisition of CitizenNet in 2017. Data partnerships with Jumpshot, IMS and Crossix also support the move. 'The in-flight optimization platform that NCS provides is a big incentive to launch now and this will help us give our customers the ROI they desire,' says Bala. The data from NCS will increase a client’s campaign success by immediately pinpointing the right buyers. By creating an automated technology bridge between NCS and Condé Nast’s data, the company can offer incentives to potential advertisers, such as providing them with data to help with advantageous ad placement. It also allows them to tap into specialized segments of readership inclined to invest in their product, 'based on real-time brand sales trends while a campaign is in flight,' he added. 'The rapid speed of change in consumer’s purchasing behavior has created a significant need with regard to the evolution of audience-based buying strategies in contextually brand-safe environments,' stated Craig Kostelic, chief business officer of The Lifestyle Collection at Condé Nast. He sites the partnership as a move that will heighten the company’s understanding of purchasing behavior to increase revenue."

Advance Publications Board Meets Today; More Changes Could Be Ahead for Conde Nast
NY Post: "The Advance Publications board meets on Wednesday--and that has elicited plenty of worries that changes are coming to Condé Nast in 2018. After a tough 2017, Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg will present on what he expects the year ahead to hold for the [the company]... Hearing the pitch will be family members, including Steven Newhouse, head of AdvanceNet; Jonathan Newhouse, CEO of Condé Nast International; and Donald Newhouse, the patriarch of the family, who runs the newspaper side. Sauerberg is under pressure to turn things around with a 'transformation plan.' The recent budget process was designed to shave $100M in costs next year. At Condé, the past year saw the departure of former No. 2 executive Jim Norton, whose ad sales revamp did not reverse the overall ad declines, and the promotion of Pamela Drucker Mann into the No. 2 slot. The quarterly meeting will be the first since the death of S.I. Newhouse Jr. on Oct. 1. The newspapers across the Advance empire, which include the Staten Island Advance and the Star- Ledger in Newark, NJ, just underwent another cost-cutting consolidation of back-shop operations in recent weeks. Condé Nast operations will be very much the center of attention at the board meeting, sources said. One big open question is who will succeed Cindi Leive as editor-in-chief of Glamour. Interviews were still being conducted last week and no clear leading candidate has emerged, sources said. A Condé Nast spokeswoman declined to comment."

Fast Company's Editor of 12 Years Leaving for New Opps
TalkingBizNews: "Robert Safian, who has been editor of Fast Company magazine for the past 12 years, is leaving to pursue a new opportunity. Sami Main of Adweek reports, 'Safian will stay with his team through the end of its upcoming issue, but will look into other opportunities that he’s continually turned down over the years. 'I consistently told people I wasn’t looking to leave Fast Company,' he said, 'but now it’s time for me to explore the opportunities I’d been deferring for so long.' That said, Safian doesn’t have an immediate plan; he’s been approached him with advisory boards, management consulting or media investment opportunities. While he hasn’t made a decision yet, he may decide to leave the media industry, as he was intending to do before joining Fast Company at Joe Mansueto’s invitation (Mansueto Ventures has owned Fast Company and Inc. since 2005). 'One of the benefits of working at Fast Company is that you get to have insights and connections into so many different kinds of businesses,’ said Safian. ‘You can’t help but open your eyes to the new ways you could provide service.'"

PopSci's Redesigned Site Sees 70% Traffic Jump in October
Popular Science is touting a 70% YoY jump in unique visitors to its newly redesigned site during the month of October. "Pageviews per visit rose 64%, and the site’s bounce rate decreased 21 points YoY. Popular Science’s total brand audience saw a 39% average monthly audience growth increase for October," according to the release.

Consumers Place Trust In Publishers' Sites
MediaPost: "While most people get most of their news and information from social platforms, the sites and apps owned by publishers are more trusted, according to a recent study commissioned by Digital Content Next, a trade association representing premium digital publishers, and conducted by Magid Associates. The study, 'Trust as a Proxy for Brand Value: Understanding the Role of Trust in Digital Content Consumption'...found Facebook’s newsfeed to be the #1 destination for digital content, but only 55% trust the content they find there. 62% agree 'there’s so much random content on social media, there’s no way to tell if an article is credible or not.' Most consumers, including Millennials, say publishers’ websites are better sources of news than search engines, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Apple News. 'This research confirmed consumers lack trust in social-platform content, and that it's spilling over into their perceptions of brand sites and apps,' stated Jason Kint, CEO of DCN. 'While we don't recommend that publishers walk away from the relationships they have with the platforms, we do recommend they urge the platforms to better utilize and protect trusted news and entertainment brands.' A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll also found Americans increasingly confident in the press. 48% of 14,300 adults polled said they had a 'great deal' or 'some' confidence in the press in September, up from 39% last November. Fake news can endanger that trust: 82% of those surveyed in the DCN survey agree that 'there's a lot of fake news on social media.' Higher trust in brand sites 'results in a trust halo effect for advertisers. Brand sites provide a significant boost in advertiser trust and positive perception compared to social media and YouTube,' DCN stated. Its survey, in October, was among 1,000 online respondents in the U.S. who had a home internet connection, engaged with social media and brand sites/apps weekly or more and were between 18 to 64."

Conde Nast Named 'Luxury Publisher of the Year'
Luxury Daily has named Condé Nast its "2017 Publisher of the Year" for Condé Nast's "innovative approach to tackling some of the thornier issues facing the media industry this year, including the digital revolution and smart use of video. "Condé Nast won over runners-up Hearst Magazines and Meredith Corp.," LD states in a summary on its site. "In a time of uncertainty for media, with constant stories of layoffs, title closures and other media horror stories, these three publishers have withstood the trials that 2017 presented with an eye toward innovation and capturing a youthful audience. The award was decided based on luxury marketing efforts with impeccable strategy, tactics, creative, executive and results. All candidates selected by the editorial team had to have appeared in Luxury Daily coverage this year. Judging was based purely on merit." Article offers more specifics on the accomplishments of each publisher during 2017.

British GQ, Universal Music Test Shareable Podcast Formats
Digiday: "Universal Music and Condé Nast men’s magazine British GQ are testing podcast formats that can be broken down into chunks for sharing and include images and graphics to accompany each chapter, rather than full 30-minute or hourlong shows. The idea is for people to be able to listen to bite-size chapters of audio if they don’t have time to listen to a full podcast, and share them with friends. GQ’s first podcast, launched in October, offers sports commentary, a departure from its usual editorial fare. Called “Strike,” the weekly podcast is hosted by Elgar Johnson, GQ Style deputy editor and football aficionado. To encourage people to share the podcast more, GQ worked with podcast platform Entale, which helps edit and publish “Strike.” The podcast is divided into chapters named after each conversation topic, so users can skip to the parts they’re most interested in.The aim is to widen GQ’s audience to include sports enthusiasts, particularly Premier League football fans, and tackle serious issues within sports, like how athletes deal with homophobia or address mental health issues..."

Opinion: 2017's Most Buzzworthy Trends
Writing in Folio:, Steve Smith's picks for the year's most noteworthy media trends include voice-activated devices; a reevaluation of social media and the "era of chasing scale"; the growing importance of first-party data; the growth of OTT and skinny bundles in TV; and the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Smith elaborates on each.

Anna Wintour Toasts Graydon Carter At His Farewell Dinner
NY Post: "Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast, had a few humorous remarks at the farewell to Graydon Carter at Balthazar last week--dismissing at least for the moment talk of tension between the longest-serving editors in the Condé universe.Carter has already turned over the reins of Vanity Fair to new editor Radhika Jones, who started on Dec. 11 and will herself be fêted by Wintour at a dinner on Thursday. Wintour recalled the long-running feud that Carter has with Donald Trump, who was tagged as 'short fingered vulgarian' by Spy in the 1980s when Carter was its editor. 'It is inevitable, I suppose, that two men of such improbable hair should find each other and battle,' she said. 'But I would guess neither imagined this argument would make its way to the White House. The irony, of course, is that there’s very little to argue about,' she said. 'Only one of these leaders has gone from success to success, carried by his intelligence, his style, and his ability to juggle a huge amount in his capable, extremely long-fingered hands.' It was a long night. One insider said that there were up to 40 toasts to Carter--although Wintour’s distinguished itself as one of the longest."


Retail News

Low Gas Prices Driving Consumer Optimism, Especially Among Men
MNB reports that "The National Associated of Convenience Stores (NACS) is out with its December 2017 Consumer Fuels Survey, reporting that 'low gas prices continue to push consumer optimism to high levels and this optimism will likely translate into more holiday travel and shopping... For the third consecutive month, 61% of gas purchasers say they feel optimistic about the economy, tied for the highest level recorded over the past five years of the monthly surveys. Optimism is largely uniform across regions but there is a significant difference by gender: Men are far likelier than women to say that they are optimistic about the economy (69% vs. 53%).'"

Fresh Market Names Wegmans Vet as New Marketing Chief
Food Dive: "The Fresh Market has named Mary Kellmanson as its new chief marketing officer, according to a company release.Kellmanson began her career at Wegmans, where she served as VP of marketing and advertising, then moved on Winn-Dixie Stores, where she was SVP of marketing. Most recently, Kellmanson served as CMO of Skeeter Snacks, a nut-free snack maker. She will oversee The Fresh Market’s marketing and brand strategy, along with its PR and communications... Kellmanson hails from the same snack company that Larry Appel, who was named CEO of The Fresh Market this fall, oversaw. The two also held leadership positions at Winn-Dixie at the same time... The Fresh Market certainly has its work cut out for it. After quickly growing to more than 150 stores across two dozen states, the small-box specialty grocer is struggling to stand out on both assortment and pricing in competitive markets throughout the eastern U.S.Under Rick Anicetti, the retailer’s former CEO, who left for undisclosed reasons back in June, The Fresh Market focused less on expanding its specialty offerings and more on lowering prices and offering a wider grocery selection. The company also launched a store remodeling campaign, which is ongoing and includes an expanded center store section with more everyday item--including household and baby products... The Fresh Market, which was acquired by Apollo Global Management early last year, began its remodels last October, and is slowly spreading them across the chain. At the same time, the company is closing poor-performing stores situated in highly competitive areas... Reports indicate that [the] strategy is failing to gain traction. Moody’s downgraded The Fresh Market’s corporate family credit rating in October to Caa1 (very high credit risk) from its previous B3 rating, citing a negative outlook for the chain..."

Amazon, Whole Foods Deal Good for Delivery Startups
Bloomberg: "When Inc. acquired Whole Foods as part of its attack on the supermarket industry, it looked like a crushing blow for grocery-delivery startups like Shipt Inc. and Instacart Inc. If consumers could get their food from Amazon, why would they need a separate delivery service? But rather than make the startups obsolete, the Whole Foods deal helped raise their profile. Grocery chains across the U.S. have enlisted the two companies to help them set up delivery operations, viewing them as key allies in the defense against Amazon. Shipt CEO Bill Smith has watched it unfold from Birmingham, Ala., where he founded the startup in 2014. Amazon’s Whole Foods takeover was a wake-up call for supermarket chains, he said, and business began picking up after the transaction was announced in June.“It was a slow-and-steady approach before the deal, but I think now they know they have to be aggressive,' Smith, 32, said in an interview. 'The deal moved partnering with companies like us to the forefront'"...

Opinion: Amazon 'Not a Lock' to Dominate Online Grocery
Writing in Bloomberg, Sarah Halzack points out that, "At first glance, a recently released consumer survey by RBC Capital Markets offers some justification for those fears, showing Amazon already dominating online grocery shopping. Among shoppers who buy groceries online, the largest share said they buy most often at Amazon. And Amazon has only just begun absorbing Whole Foods' merchandise and its perishables supply chain, which should help it build on its wide lead. But if you step back and look at the bigger picture, I don't think it's a sure thing Amazon will completely dominate online grocery shopping. For one thing, it's important to remember just how uncharted the online grocery realm really is..." Halzack lays out the complicated dynamics and competitive scenario of the online grocery marketplace, including the store-pickup advantage of Walmart and other players.

Retailers Test Meal Kits Through Partnerships
SN: "Meal kits have ballooned into a $5B category, according to a report from Packaged Facts, but they are still a niche that has not proven its viability. For that reason and others, it may make sense for some retailers to bypass the investment of developing their own meal kit lines and instead work with third parties, even though the margins from an in-house brand might be better in the long term, according to some industry observers... Last week Walmart began offering branded meal kits from several different providers through its website, following reports in September that the retailer was planning such a move. And last month Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets said it would begin offering five exclusive varieties of meal kits from Chef’d in its stores. It was the second retail partnership for Chef’d, which earlier this year reached an agreement to supply meal kits in Gelson’s stores in Southern California..."

Consumers Say Whole Foods' Produce Quality Suffering Since Amazon
BI: "Shoppers across the US are claiming that the quality of Whole Foods' produce has tanked since it was acquired by Amazon, and some say they're abandoning the grocery chain as a result.In interviews with Business Insider and in social-media posts, dozens of shoppers have complained about finding bruised, discolored, tasteless, and rotten produce in Whole Foods stores from California to New York over the past couple of months.Shoppers have also reported out-of-stock issues, saying it's impossible to find items that they've been buying at Whole Foods for years, such as frisée, loose carrots, and Brussels sprouts. Several said fruits and vegetables such as avocados are spoiling faster than usual.It's not immediately clear what's changed — Whole Foods says nothing — but many customers think the difference is e-commerce giant Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in August. While some of this may be a matter of perception among customers worried about what the Amazon deal means for their favorite store, analysts at one Wall Street investment bank have noticed detrimental changes at stores they've been routinely visiting, including what they call the "conventionalization" of Whole Foods... Whole Foods told Business Insider it had made no recent changes that would affect the quality or availability of its produce. The company said it had strict processes to ensure that only high-quality produce makes it into its stores and that nothing has changed about those procedures.Amazon did not respond to a request for comment..."


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