Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 05, 2021

port of callThe rumors started back in September: High-falutin’ magazine publisher Conde Nast was going to launch a business magazine.

Unfortunately, they’re not going to call it “Vogue Business” or “Business Vogue”, as I and other wags suggested (inspired, of course, by the brand-extension of Vogue into men’s and teen editions). Instead, they’re going with Conde Nast Portfolio, and they’re going to go gangbusters, building up a long-form business journalism pub in a generally shaky sector.

Of Condé Nast’s magazines, only a few — Wired, The New Yorker, Golf Digest and Condé Nast Traveler — attract much business advertising, and Condé Nast Portfolio is intended to fill that void. “This is a place where business advertising can find a home,” Mr. Wallace said.

Not only that, but adding Condé Nast Portfolio to Condé Nast’s portfolio is expected to help the company attract high-end advertisers who already have established relationships with its other high-end magazines. Portfolio expects men to account for 60 percent of its readership and for the median age of all readers to be 42, making the company, now heavy on women’s publications with fashion and beauty advertising, more appealing to a broader base of national advertisers.

And the “Help Wanted” sign is up:

The magazine expects to hire 75 to 100 writers and editors and about 50 people on the business side. The Web site will have its own staff, but the print writers will be expected to contribute to it.

Hmmm. Conde’s HQ building is not far from my workday neighborhood. Looks like another target at which to toss my resume.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/05/2021 11:50:27 PM
Category: Publishing, Business | Permalink | Feedback (3)

The office building where I’ve been doing my consulting thang is directly across the street from the sparkling new Hearst Tower. As such, I’ve been trying like mad to snap a quality photo of the imposing glass-and-concrete edifice.

No dice. The street-level vantage points get obstructed after a block, and the views from my office windows are too close-up to get a full-building shot.

Fortunately, the Hearst corporates have put up a gallery of shots of their pride and joy. And I found a decent image (not great, because it doesn’t capture the ornate lower-portion stonework) from today’s New York Times gushing profile of the media company’s fulfillment of founder William Randolph Hearst’s dream of a midtown skyscraper.

I’m amused by the title of the article: “Hearst’s New Home: Xanadu in Manhattan”. It obviously refers to Citizen Kane’s fictional Xanadu, based on the real-life William Randolph Hearst’s palatial homes. And yet, that linkage isn’t mentioned in the actual story. Either some editor inexplicably scrubbed it out, or else the headline writer injected additional insight into the presentation. Perhaps the Times is giving its readership extra credit for recognizing the reference, without making it explicit.

Yes, I’m drooling over the architectural wonder, same as everyone else. I’ll have to drop in sometime to check out the atrium. Oh, and maybe, I dunno — drop off a resume? The magazine media bug still infects me, after all.

Even if it’s only a small slice of the Hearst empire these days:

Hearst has been known mostly for its magazines but, while the company generates nearly 60 percent of its revenue from advertising, magazines are expected to represent only 16 percent of its after-tax cash flow this year. Its 12 newspapers and 28 television stations contribute similar cash-flow numbers. According to the company, Hearst generates nearly half of its cash flow from having invested wisely in cable TV channels alongside the Walt Disney Company.

In fact, much of its business is conducted in a maze of partnerships and investments more typical of European family media dynasties than American media conglomerates. For instance, Hearst publishes Smart Money with Dow Jones, runs a magazine distribution business with its publishing rival Condé Nast, and in cable channels holds 50 percent of Lifetime, one-third of A&E and 20 percent of ESPN…

The ESPN stake, acquired for around $170 million in 1990, has been especially lucrative. Hearst’s investment is now worth as much as $3.5 billion, estimates Laura Martin at Soleil Securities. And Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, says: “In many respects we’re joined at the hip. We don’t really intersect with any other company in the world the way we do with Hearst.”

I used to forget about Hearst’s chunk of ESPN, because the network is routinely referred to as a “Disney company”. Fundamentally, it is, of course, especially the way it’s integrated with ABC and other Mouse House properties, operationally; but Hearst gets its share of the checks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/05/2021 11:25:24 PM
Category: Media, Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (3)

only daddy speaks that way
“Entourage” gears up its third season this coming Sunday. And drat it all, I don’t have HBO.

Oh well. I did pre-order the first two seasons on DVD, and expect to find that in my mailbox later this week. I’ll have to cozy up this summer to someone who has HBO and sneak peeks at the new episodes.

In the meantime, I can amuse myself with Interview With Ari, the promo interactive site produced by Brooklyn’s Deep Focus marketing agency. It’s a slickly-produced piece of viral:

[Jeremy] Piven taped several hours of questions and responses. After users log on to the site and register for the interview, they are shown into Ari Gold’s office, where he is seated at his desk. The applicant types into a dialogue window and elicits spoken responses from Mr. Gold, like “So here’s your chance: What do you want to say to the master?” and “That sounds like we’re on the same page, baby.”

Ian Schafer, the founder and chief executive of Deep Focus, said that Mr. Piven, whose character is known for his put-downs and one-liners, ad-libbed much of the taping.

Yes, of course Ari utters his trademark “hug it out, bitch” from behind the desk. Coming against the backdrop of that unsettling Warhol-esque self-portrait gives it a little extra oomph.

Despite all those hours of work, cyber-Ari doesn’t seem too on the ball. During my test interview, I tossed in wise-ass comments like, “I’ll ply you with cocaine 24/7″ and “How did you bag that hotty wife of yours?”, just to provoke a hostile reaction. And yet, his assessment of me was that I was “too nice a guy” to work for him. (I guess I don’t know from Hollywood meanness…)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/05/2021 10:04:13 PM
Category: Internet, Advert./Mktg., TV | Permalink | Feedback

the medium's message
As enthralled as I am that the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals have begun tonight, I have to get one last bit of negativity out of the way.

A memo to OLN’s sales department: Next year, try to squeeze a couple additional spots per advertiser for the playoff spree. Honestly, I’m sick to death of seeing the same exact fucking commercials from Round One to tonight. The cute fairy zapping the car in vain; the latent homosexuals crowing about their crappy burnt meat dishes at TGI Friday’s; the ironically-hip hateration family in a boat. I hated all of them the first time they rolled, and seeing them dozens of times since has deepened my loathing. And I’m tired of switching the channel to avoid them.

At this point, I welcome the programming switch to NBC, starting with Game 3, just in the hopes that some different TV ads will flash in front of my eyes.

Okay. That was a good release.

And now, Game On. This has the makings of a great series: The scrappy Oilers against the stacked Hurricanes. I’m looking forward to one for the ages, no matter who wins.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/05/2021 08:48:23 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV, Hockey | Permalink | Feedback