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

Sept 27th 2016

is the 271st day of the year and there are 95 days remaining until the end of the year.


The leader of Colombia's FARC rebels has apologised to victims of the country's half-century civil war.

NASA has discovered what is believed to be plumes of water spewing from the surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa... meanwhile the worst drought to hit East Africa in 60 years continues.

A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Air Canada and WestJet "colluded" to introduce a charge for a first checked bag fee.

Actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are splitting up after 11 years together, the couple said in a statement on Monday.

Beyonce and Justin Bieber lead the nominations for this year's MTV Europe Music Awards, earning five nods each at the major music event; British singer Adele got four nominations.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday
she wanted more clarity about the British government's position on leaving the EU.

Video streaming service Shomi announced Monday it will shut down at the end of November, two years after it launched.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said said she was skeptical that a no-fly zone could be enforced in Syria, given the situation there.

The collapse of the latest Syria ceasefire has heightened the possibility that Gulf states might arm Syrian rebels with shoulder-fired missiles.

Herschell Gordon Lewis, the horror filmmaker known as the "godfather of gore," died Monday at 87.

The operator of Alton Towers has been fined £5m over the crash on The Smiler ride that led to two people needing leg amputations.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held a debate in New York.

1271 – Wenceslaus II of Bohemia (d. 1305)
1601 – Louis XIII of France (d. 1643)
1765 – Antoine Philippe de La Trémoille, French general (d. 1794)
1843 – Gaston Tarry, French mathematician and academic (d. 1913)
1896 – Gilbert Ashton, English cricketer (d. 1981)
1907 – Bernard Miles, English actor, director,
producer, and screenwriter (d. 1991)
1924 – Fred Singer, Austrian-American physicist and academic
1927 – Sada Thompson, American actress (d. 2011)
1934 – Wilford Brimley, American actor
1944 – Ian Garnett, English admiral
1947 – Barbara Dickson, Scottish singer-songwriter and actress
1952 – Katie Fforde, English author
1957 – Bill Athey, English cricketer, footballer, and coach
1966 – Uche Okechukwu, Nigerian footballer
1992 – Luc Castaignos, Dutch footballer


2012 – Herbert Lom, Czech-English actor (b. 1917)
2009 – Charles Houston, American physician
and mountaineer (b. 1913)
2007 – Dale Houston, American singer-songwriter (b. 1940)
1985 – Lloyd Nolan, American actor (b. 1902)
1921 – Engelbert Humperdinck, German
composer and educator (b. 1854)
1700 – Pope Innocent XII (b. 1615)
1590 – Pope Urban VII (b. 1521)

1066 – William the Conqueror and his army set sail from the mouth of the River Somme, beginning the Norman conquest of England.

1825 – The world's first public railway to use steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, is ceremonially opened.

875 – The merchant sailing ship Ellen Southard is wrecked in a storm at Liverpool.

1908 – The first production of the Ford Model T automobile was built at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan.

1922 – King Constantine I of Greece abdicates his throne in favor of his eldest son, George II.

1928 – The Republic of China is recognized by the United States.

1938 – Ocean liner Queen Elizabeth launched in Glasgow.

1941 – The SS Patrick Henry is launched becoming the first of more than 2,700 Liberty ships.

1954 – The nationwide debut of Tonight Starring Steve Allen (The Tonight Show) hosted by Steve Allen on NBC.

1968 – The stage musical Hair opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, where it played 1,998 performances until its closure was forced by the roof collapsing in July 1973.

2007 – NASA launches the Dawn probe.

2008 – CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk while flying on Shenzhou 7.

2012 – United States: a mass shooting takes place at Accent Signage Systems, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, killing 6 people, including the gunman who committed suicide, and wounding 2 others.

The Good Old Days.
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For previous 'Straight Talk' articles, click here.

Day 271 of 366: French Community Holiday (French community of Belgium).


Gannett seem to be desperate for a major city "daily" presence and if they cannot purchase the Tribune Group in Chicago, then perhaps the other end pf the country may provide the answer.

'Gannett may be at it again' says D.B. Hebbard at as the company is 'widely rumored to want to buy The Dallas Morning News.'

This may all seem strange but D.B. says that he can 'see the logic in the strategy, but I can’t see the logic in the way they are going about it.' For more, click here.
The New York Times is backing TheSkimm, the fast-growing newsletter that wants to be more than a newsletter.


'Zoomer magazine has appointed Lori Fitzgerald as its publisher' reports which is good because until the change she had been sharing the role with Laas Turnbull and in addition to that Ms. Fitzgerald was also Director of Sales, Print & Digital.

Another change at Zoomer this time a new person coming to the company on contract and that is 'Ariel Frieman [who] has been brought in on contract to support Zoomer’s integrated sales effort.' For more, click here.

Also, congrats to Becca Tucker who has been promoted to publisher at Dirt magazine, for more, click here.
Meanwhile over at Bloomberg Pursuits Troy Patterson is to be the new style editor. Mr. Patterson has previously worked at Slate, The New York Times Magazine, Spin and Entertainment Weekly. For more, click here.

Day 270 of 366: Johnny Appleseed Day.


Well 49% of it anyway but it is significant for two reasons, firstly, the amount and secondly it is the 'first time Mr. Wenner has admitted an outside investor' into his realm. 'The new investor is Singapore-based BandLab Technologies... founded by the 28-year-old scion of one of Asia's richest families Kuok Meng Ru' reports Advertising Age and the new owner is 'a startup digital music company' says

'Gus Wenner, head of digital at Wenner Media, who is also the son of Rolling Stone’s founder Jann Wenner, said in a statement: “We see an enormous opportunity to diversify the brand into new markets and new areas of business”,' says the International Business Times. Click on any of the links above for more.


The "employee" is Chris Ziegler and the "Apple" is the one run by Tim Cook rather than a Pink Lady, Cox's Orange Pippin, Fuji or Granny Smith. It seems that 'in July, the tech reporter apparently took a job with Apple' reports Keith J. Kelly at the New York Post and you might think "well what's wrong with that?" Well, it seems as though when Mr. Ziegler took the job he 'didn't bother to tell his old boss or colleagues at the Vox Media-owned site' The Verge and worked at both companies for a number of weeks.

As time went by it seems as though Mr. Zeigler decided working for two companies was somewhat taxing and 'started not showing up for work at The Verge' reports Mr. Kelly although Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief says 'that Ziegler only actively worked at both places in July and was “almost entirely absent from our team in August” before they finally discovered where he was working in September.' For more, click here.


'In France, publishers are taking to the barricades to fight ad blocking' writes Lucinda Southern at which hopefully will not lead to 'Les Miserables, the sequel' but you never know. Says Mrs. Southern 'French news publishers believe solidarity is key to staving off ad blocking [and] publishers are taking varying approaches to the crackdown.'

As we all know, content is available all over the place and if you look on a site that is blocked you can usually find it unblocked elsewhere, but not if all content deliverers unify, and that seems to be the thing they are doing. '“It’s important to do it collectively,” Bertrand Gié, head of new media at Le Figaro, told Digiday' and given the amount of money involved it may well be something we will see content providers do in the U.K. the U.S.A. and elsewhere. For more of Ms. Southern's article' click here, but remember, it only takes one Javert and the whole thing could come tumbling down.


Here & Now is a new monthly magazine aimed at the seaside town of Worthing on the U.K.'s Sussex coast. It will be 'delivered to 30,000 homes in the West Sussex seaside town from next week, with a further 6,000 copies available from pick-up points' reports Freddy Mayhew at Press Gazette, but what makes this interesting is this is the third magazine aimed specifically at the town. Says Mr. Mayhew 'It is in direct competition with paid-for monthly glossy the Worthing Journal, formerly the Worthing Sentinel. The area is also served by Johnston Press-owned weekly the Worthing Herald.' For more, click here.

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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.