Useful, accessible information on circulation and audience development for magazine publishing professionals.

December 2nd 2016

is the 337th day of the year and there are 29 days remaining until the end of the year.



The Liberal Democrats have won the by-election sparked by Zac Goldsmith's resignation over Heathrow Airport expansion.

Members of Duran Duran have lost a High Court battle over the US rights to some of their most famous songs.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls emerged on Friday as the possible standard bearer of the ruling Socialists in France's presidential election following Francois Hollande's shock announcement that he would not seek a second term.

Andrew Sachs, best known for his role of Manuel, the waiter, in the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers, has died at the age of 86.

Construction of a life-size replica of the Titanic has begun at a Mediterranean-themed attraction in China.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria on Friday, describing the situation in Aleppo as critical and saying that President Bashar al-Assad was unfit to rule.

A cyber attack on Britain's Talktalk Telecom Group PLC broadband affected "a small number of customer routers" on Thursday, the company said in a statement.


1825 – Pedro II of Brazil (d. 1891)
1909 – Arvo Askola, Finnish runner (d. 1975)
1929 – Dan Jenkins, American journalist and author
1929 – Leon Litwack, American historian and author
1941 – Mike England, Welsh footballer and manager
1948 – Toninho Horta, Brazilian guitarist and composer
1968 – David Batty, English footballer
1971 – Rachel McQuillan, Australian tennis player
1973 – Lee Steele, English footballer
1973 – Jan Ullrich, German cyclist
1986 – Adam le Fondre, English footballer


1999 – Charlie Byrd, American guitarist (b. 1925)
1859 – John Brown, American activist (b. 1800)
1723 – Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (b. 1674)


1409 – The University of Leipzig opens.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French.

1848 – Franz Joseph I becomes Emperor of Austria.

1908 – Puyi becomes Emperor of China at the age of two.

1939 – New York City's LaGuardia Airport opens.

1962 – After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to comment adversely on the war's progress.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.

1991 – Canada and Poland become the first nations to recognize the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellín.

The Good Old Days - Part II.
Click here to read.

For previous 'Straight Talk' articles, click here.

Day 337 of 366: Armed Forces Day (Cuba)
'Condé Nast is closing Self magazine in print' reports Alexandra Steigrad at with 'the exception of occasional special issues based on health and wellness topics' says Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at the Wall Street Journal.

The magazine was first published in January 1979 and was founded by Phyllis Starr Wilson who was also the editor-in-chief for the first eight years. Other editor-in-chiefs include Alexandra Penney and Lucy Danziger.

Trillions lost due to sales and marketing chasm, claims study.

Eos magazine 'has a solid history of delivering Earth and space science news, research, and announcements to members of the American Geophysical Union' says Chris McEntee at and now the magazine is going monthly.

'The magazine, a derivative of the website, is available only to members of the American Geophysical Union' and for more, click here.
Hearst Is Launching a 10-Person Team Tasked With Building Voice-Activated Experiences.

Daily Mail group refuses to rule out sale of newspaper titles.

Day 336 of 366: World AIDS Day
'The publisher of the Daily Mail reported an 11% drop in adjusted operating profit ' reports 'after its media business suffered from a fall in print advertising revenues and challenging conditions in the property information, energy and financial sectors.'

The reported profit was £277,000,000 up to the end of September. For more, click here.

Share prices were up for Time Inc. not because of the good work that Time is doing, or not doing, but because someone wanted to purchase the company.

'Some shareholders are clearly upset that the Time Inc. board rebuffed the offer' reports Keith J. Kelly which would suggest that some people would be very happy to see the company change hands, and those hands could be Meredith. 'Some media insiders were betting that Meredith Corp. will soon enter the fray and trigger a potential bidding war' says Mr. Kelly at the New York Post and certainly if anybody has the cash to lash, it is the good folks at Meredith and says at least one shareholder “the issue is whether the new CEO and his board will do the right thing on their own — or be forced.” Hey Ho!! For more, click here.
'Bookazines and special interest publications offer struggling print magazines high-margin revenue opportunities' reports but asks the question 'are they cannibalizing the already-dwindling audience for monthly editions?'
In many cases "special issues" use content already bought and paid for and perhaps even used, but by producing a special edition new content can be mixed with old to create a brand new product. For more, click here.

'Like many other platforms' says Max Willens at 'LinkedIn has swung back and forth between serving up traffic to publishers and not offering much traffic at all.' However the platform has 'significantly increased the traffic [it drives] for business-focused publishers.' This is making some publishers take another look and say Mr. Willens 'A number of them have dedicated staffers full time to tending the platform, covering certain topics more frequently, and even considered pulling resources away from other platforms, like Twitter.'

For more, click here.

new media
startup is

- eventually.

Red Magazine partners with Sofa Workshop to create sofa collection.

Day 334 of 366: Unity Day (Vanuatu)
'Bauer Media has appointed Matt Batchelor' reports for the 'newly-created role of Director of Agency Relations and Trading.'

Mr. Batchelor said "he hates Bauer but the money is brilliant so what the hell!" - NO - he didn't - fake news alert! What he actually said was “I’m very excited to join the Bauer Media team and look forward to applying my experience to the new role and the impressive roster of Bauer brands.” For more, click here.


Fake news... news that is not true... lies... fibs... porkies, call it what you will, is not a good thing. One of the current purveyors of this is president-elect Donald Trump, who has claimed millions of people voted illegally, without offering any proof. Now he claims because of this, he won the popular vote. Mr. Trump never has been, nor will he ever be, a person that can be admired but in this time of fake news coming from so many sources, shouldn't the president-elect be above all of this? D.B. Hebbard at Talking New Media says 'signs are that the president-elect will continue to use social media to spread untruths, forcing journalists and editors to come up with new strategies for reporting both the lies and the facts' - as usual D.B. is not wrong, but how is the dilemma to be solved, click here to find out.

The good folks at Dead Tree Edition are spreading tiding of joy and comfort. 'Based on new data about its customers’ behavior' says their report 'the USPS recently added $1.1 billion to its estimate of how many Forever Stamps it has sold that will never be used for postage' - that is a lot of stamps.

Perhaps there are other things the post office could sell us that we don't want to use... for more, click here.
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Overheard at the bar of a
recent publishing event:
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Man1: "The election of Trump was good for one thing."

Man2: "What's that then?"

Man1: "My constipation."

Man2: "Why's that then?"

Man1: "Ever since I heard he had been elected I have not stopped shitting!"

Good Housekeeping’s Jane Francisco Looks to Modernize Women’s Magazines in New Role at Hearst.

Why the New York Times, so often dissed by Trump, could have huge influence over him.

Adam Moss Earns Editor of the Year for Guiding NY Magazine’s Election Coverage.

How Hearst’s Executives of the Year Are Building a Magazine Company for the Future.


Day 333 of 366:

New call to release photojournalist held for three years in Egypt.

B.B.C presenter John Humphrys 'known as the “Rottweiler of Radio 4” for almost three decades' says Chris Johnston at The Guardian has revealed 'his departure from the agenda-setting show [Today] could come next week, next month or next year.' With comments like that we think less of a Rottweiler, more of a poodle. For more, if you care, click here.
'Edgar Bronfman Jr. is making a bid to buy Time Inc.,' says Keith J. Kelly at the New York Post and has bid $18.00 a share for the company, which given the share price of Time Inc. over the past year is not a bad offer. However notes Mr. Kelly 'the Time Inc. board is said to have rejected the offer.' Why is is the words "this", "space" and "watch" have sprung into our collective CircSpot minds? For more of Mr. Kelly's report, click here.
We knew Rogers Media was shifting more to the consumer side if things, and so it has come to pass, in a big way. 'The B2B brands that are up for sale are Cosmetics/Cosmetiques, The Medical Post, Canadian Grocer, Benefits Canada, Canadian Insurance Broker, Advisors Edge, Advantages, Corporate Risk, Conseiller, Pharmacy Practice+, Professional Santé , Quebec Pharmacie , Monday Report (on Retailers) and Marketing Magazine' reports Some of these have already been purchased including Marketing Magazine, sold to Brunico Communications and  Cosmetics and Cosmetique ha also been acquired. For more, click here.

M&C Saatchi’s chief creative
officer Andy DiLallo in shock
exit after less than two years.

Berlin Magazine
Goes Full

Glamour Brasil Reels From Racism Accusations Over Social Media Post.

British Photographer David Hamilton Found Dead in Paris.

Ad envy: Luxury magazines’
real strength

The French satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo is to start a German edition. Initially the German edition will be a straight translation from the French but says 'material originally created in German will follow. The magazine does not plan to open an office in Germany and the German edition... will cost €4 ($4.22). Für mehr, klicken Sie hier or pour en savoir plus, cliquez ici.

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Content marketing specialists know there is a great return on investments especially when teamed up with a quality telemarketing... Ronen Ben-Dror explores some options. Click here to read.

Native advertising is here to stay, probably. It is a good thing, possibly. So why can't Glen Martin decide whether he likes native or not? Click here to read.

We act as if “native advertising” is something new, so what is it and how should we best use it... an introduction to "native advertising!" Click here to read.

Just how safe is your data? With so much data held by publishers, could it be "hacked?" Elaine Tyson and Roy Beagley asked the people that know, the fulfillment bureaus themselves. Click here to read.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that more than a third of web traffic is fraudulent and BPA says only 40% of ads measured are actually viewable, but how much of a problem is this? Click here to read more....

Telemarketers are well aware of the Personal Identifier Question and recent changes in rules regarding the PIQ have caused somewhat of a debate in the industry. Ronen Ben-Dror of Blue Valley Telemarketing takes a look at what gives. Click here to read more....

Customers of telemarketing services often commission work without undertaking even the most elementary checks. What should the informed customer look for when choosing an outbound telemarketing agency? Click here to read,

Publishers need to address the USPS's suggested increase before it is too late. Click here to read,

Social media channels today are playing an interesting role in the future and the publishing world now views social media as a positive exchange with subscribers, so To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That Tis the Question Click here to read more....

How Well Do You Know Your Audience? The more you know, says Ronen Ben-Dror, this could eliminate the battle of qualifying leads. Click here to read more....

When executing a direct mail program, you should give lots of thought to the requirements of merge/purge. This could end up saving you a great deal of money, not forgetting making your life a great deal easier. Karen Tyson explains...

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Planning Your Audience Development Efforts by Kinjal Husges. Click here to read more....

To develop a realistic circulation forecast based upon current economic, industry, and company conditions is part of any circulation director's job. Benefit from the accountant's view and read Peter Sangiorgio's 5 Simple Tips to consider when developing a Circulation Budget. Click here for Peter's insight.

Businesses that put their customers front and center will ultimately win and the secret to successfully scaling CRM practices into any large organization is to really understand your markets. Benefit from Pam's years of experience and learn how to segment your file and become a success. Click here for Pam's insight.

Sending out a direct mail campaign requires a good lettershop operation... Karen Tyson explains....

For years the concept of earning and deferring income has confused many, but it is not that difficult. Get the facts behind earned and deferred income from Peter Sangiorgio. Click here to read more....

To be added to the weekly alert, complete the form below. Or click here to send an email.

Cash flow is probably the most important resource any business has. Benefit from Peter's insight and knowledge. Click here to read this exclusive article.

Circulation can be an asset on a sales call. Peter Lenahan explains what to do, and as importantly not what to do in this exclusive article. Click here!

How to manage a telemarketing campaign and make it work for you. Karen Tyson explains....

While all major publishers maintain marketing databases, it is just as important for small publishers too. Pam would argue it’s more important than ever to maintain a database as a tool for identifying, developing and implementing strategy. Click here!

Getting a direct mail package printed takes advance planning. Karen Tyson has some thoughts and ideas as to how to make this sometimes daunting prospect easier to handle... Karen Tyson explains....

Rebecca Sterner is one of the most respected people in the audience development job function. Now you can benefit from Rebecca's knowledge on Setting Up an Auto Renewal Program. Click here.

Enjoy and benefit from this exclusive article for written by Peter Lenahan who explains why the circulation staff keep the sales force motivated, and how that benefits all concerned. Click here!

Reader's response: One of most intelligent articles I have ever read on ad sales and the all-important relationship with circulation. Well said. Harry S, Sacramento, Calif - via email.

Free magazines are different from "Controlled" as we all know, but the distinction is becoming less and less relevant to advertisers. Click here!

Evaluating how a campaign is working while agents are in the process of communicating with current or potential clients, live monitoring is an essential tool. Can companies afford to waste all those efforts on a careless approach to monitoring the campaign? Of course not. Click here to read more....

An accurate call list is an extremely important aspect in waging a successful telemarketing campaign. Scrubbing the list is the responsibility of the publishing company and the telemarketing agency. Click here to read more....

Virtually all marketing campaigns are most successful when they employ a multi-channel approach to a targeted audience... even in the "all-digital" world. Click here to read more....

On October 16th last year, a new regulation from the FCC went into effect. Ronen Ben-Dror asks how does the FCC rule affect you in the B2B environment? Click here to read more....



WWD does good email subscription promotions.  This one is hard to resist.  It’s got a good subject line – “URGENT:  Prices Going up in July.  Lock in Lower Rate Today”.  The email subject line is just like envelope teaser copy – it has to pull prospects into the promotion and this one accomplishes the mission.

The copy and design is clean, colorful and loaded with benefits – the biggest of course is “Beat the prince increase!  Last chance for Current Rate”.

And, if you order with this offer, you can also save 20% on the 6 month online access price and pay only $59.  It looks as if this might actually be a last chance.  And, it’s always good to think a last chance offer might actually be a last chance for something.  This offer was overused in mail efforts – but you don’t see it as often in email. The offer is used to good effect here.

There’s a prominent Subscribe button to make ordering easy.  Following that is a picture of the web site and arrows that call out the features of the site.  Clearly, WWD offers a lot for the money.  And as subscription promotions are all about the offer, this is a winner. To see a larger version of the offer, click here.

This TV Guide gift effort is colorful and loaded with smart ideas – a two for one offer, special donor renewal price, holiday gift cards, multiple premiums and a reply-by date to move prospects along.

This is a very good email offer for a subscription to the print edition of WWD.  There is a lot to recommend the creative.  First, the email looks the way you expect WWD to look – smart, elegant and intriguing.

Second, the copy is filled with proven direct marketing technique.  The headline says “Summer Special for Industry Insiders” and that’s an appeal to the recipient’s ego.  It’s very flattering to be considered an industry insider and to be recognized as such by an industry leader such as WWD is even more appealing.  If done correctly, flattering prospects is a smart move.

There is a very strong subscription offer being made and the email leads with that offer – a 34% price saving on a six month subscription.  Offers drive promotions and it’s important as a marketer to remember that fact. 

You can’t miss the call to action – a GET IT NOW button to order coupled with a prominent respond by date.  This technique generally moves prospects along to order as it creates a fear of missing out.  Direct marketers have used reply by dates for years and years in mailed offers.

There are also benefits offered in addition to the special subscription price – more content, a new, bolder look and “extras” such as daily email of top stories and three issues of Beauty Inc.

This email offer uses smart direct marketing technique developed through many years of print campaign testing and marries it to the immediacy of email.  It’s difficult to ask for more.

We recently received an interesting direct mail package offering a subscription to House Beautiful magazine.  It’s interesting for a number of reasons. Click on the picture below for more details.
The New York Times wants me back - nice. An outer envelope that perforates on the right, left and top which then revels a single order form and a postage paid reply envelope (not shown.) It is an interesting offer '50% off for 16 weeks' - the 50% off I understand, but the 16 weeks has me a tad confused... more than a quarter, less than a half and not quite a third. If it was intended to get me thinking, it did.

I can get all the digital elements my little heart desires and access to Ordering is made easy, I can phone, go online even use the USPS and try and reduce their losses.

Sadly, the reason I canceled my subscription weighs heavier on my mind as does the all-singing, all dancing offer I received, so for the moment NYT - thanks, but no thanks. To enlarge the image on the left, click on the image.
We recently received the regular offer from Opera News and this offer, like our old nanny Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. '3 Risk-Free Issues' always a vote grabber, a free gift offer of a CD, an involvement device, savings of 68%, and a reply by instruction. We may have died and gone to heaven!

Inside, or the reverse depending on your point of view, 'Free' is mentioned not once, nor twice but four times in as many paragraphs and an excellent re-stating of what we are going to get, or not if we don't reply in ten days. The Free issues are even restated on the reply card. Whoever wrote and designed this should be sent a bag of onions, because they sure as hell know them. It looks good, does all the right things and Opera News mail it regularly, so we can conclude that it works for them. (Click here or on the thumbnail to view larger image.

We received our monthly renewal offer from TV Guide this week, and it does all the right things and looks good, and makes ordering very simple. As with many publications the actual renewal date is not mentioned, something which annoys me as a subscriber, but pleases me as a marketer - can you tell I am a Gemini? IF you click on the image above, you can see what happens at the ordering stage, although this is made as simple as possible. Interestingly, for an online order form, and a renewal form at that, TV Guide offers a Bill Me option.
Here's a good offer from Oracle Magazine for a qualified controlled publication. It has good benefits copy and makes requesting Oracle Magazine easy with a couple of "Subscribe Now" buttons.  There is interesting PS copy offering a new publication for those who might be interested in Java Magazine as well as Oracle. The design is clean, uncluttered and attractive. To view the offer, click here. Not sure why the publisher is only offering six free issues, but given the quality of the promotion there must be a very good reason.

Here is the latest offering from People magazine. Nice personalized outer envelope, and a simple and concise brochure showing good covers and copy that sells the subscription. To order, it's old school, snail mail - no mention of ordering via the web anywhere. Nice package and well done to People for knowing that direct mail via the post office is still a good way to get orders.

Click on the image to see large versions.
Here’s what appears to be an advance renewal offer from Vegetarian Times.  It’s a renewal sweeps – smart idea because the original sub order was placed through PCH.  We’re assuming it’s an advance renewal as only one copy of the subscription has been received thus far.  The offer is a strong one –a 78% saving on the renewal plus a chance to win $25,000 (along with other prizes).  Package includes clever “sweeps” techniques on the outer envelope, an offer deadline and small flyer detailing prizes.  Good job, Vegetarian Times!

Click on the image to see large versions.
We received this double postcard from GQ magazine. The card looks great, has a nice cover and a nice free gift, but also has a rather confusing offer. '24 issues of GQ for only $20.00 - that's 83c (plus 17 cents shipping and handling) per issue; in other words $24.00 then. If you add 83 cents to 17 cents, you get $1.00 which if you then multiply by 24 issues you get $24.00. Click on the image to see large versions.
When my subscription of 'The Week' arrived last week, inside the envelope was an offer for 12 issues of 'The Oldie' magazine. As far as I am aware these magazines are independent of each other, but have a great deal in common.

This is a nice way of promoting a magazine that is probably already known to readers of another magazine and would be fairly cheap to produce and execute. Nice offer. Click on the image for a larger view of the outside and inside.
Always nice to get something from 'The Economist' as they always do things so well.

A free copy of 'The World in 2013' is a nice incentive for the readers among us, and a free tablet cover for the tecchies to boot - which also indirectly pushes the digital version.

The predominant red is great as it screamed "ECONOMIST" as soon as I opened my email. Oh and 69c a copy, they got me! [Click here or on image for large version].
'People' really knows how to use it's house file. Good offer, nice creative and use of personalization.

The offer is strong and the order form is pre-populated - what's not to love?
(Click on the image to see larger size and also the order form page.

This is an interesting offer. On the one hand it pushes newsstand sales, you can save $1.00 if you print out the coupon. However if you clicked on the Save $1.00 link you can also subscribe and get eight issues free.

An offer is an offer,
even though this offer
is not publishing related,
it has ignored basic
promotion rule 1-0-1:
Know Thy Prospect!


To view larger size, click on the above image.

A recent offer from People magazine. It looks simple but a great deal of thought has gone into this offer, not least the cover featured on the tablets.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
Let's state it up front - we know the email at the end of the link is spam. Even so, it is a great example of why some design is a good thing in email promotions - even text only promotions. We cannot believe anyone who got this email would even have got so far a clicking a link! Click here to see the email, which is a screen shot taken from our computer.

Rebecca Sterner wrote on CircSpot on how to set up an autorenewal. It just so happens that today we received our auto renewal for Time. In all honesty we had not planned to renew it, but it is done, and although we could cancel it, $81.00 for 56 issues is not worth the hassle of canceling, so we guess the auto renewal worked... at least in our case.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
A reader looked for something on the Times of London web site, and this popped up while the page they wanted to view was loading. He liked it, took a picture, and sent it to us - thanks Glyn C-R of Buckinghamshire.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

A reader subscribed to Fast Company and paid $10.00 for a subscription. After placing the order, they received an email offering a $5.00 credit if she can get another person to subscribe in the next 6 hours. This seemed like a very clever idea to the the person who sent us the information - and we agree.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

Here's a nice promotion from The Nation.  It's quick to read, offers an invitation to receive exclusive free offers - it's a flattering offer and comes from a credible publication.

It ultimately leads you to a subscription landing page offering 4 free issues (very strong offer) plus attractive subscription prices and a choice of format - print or online access.
The promotion is clean and uncluttered with enough enticing benefits to attract readership.

Click on the image above for a larger version.