A Profitable Niche: In-Flight Magazines

Posted November 29, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

We all know magazines are struggling and so is the airline industry. Few have been spared by the recession.

However, according to an article in the Nov. 27th Wall Street Journal, one British company has found a niche that incorporates both of these areas and is doing quite well.

Ink Publishing (Holdings) Ltd. is now the world’s biggest producer of in-flight magazines. They own about 40 titles that cover 17 countries.

They range from budget airlines like Ireland’s Ryanair Holdings PLC to the upscale Bahrain’s Gulf Air.

This year, Ink added two more: UAL Corp.’s United Airlines and Air France-KLM SA.

Although the airline industry has fallen since the recession began, industry officials predict it will resume shortly with a long termannual growth of about four percent.

Ink, along with other airline-magazine publishers, makes revenue only from selling advertisements.

Last year, Ink’s after-tax profit came to $4 million through the end of June 2008.

For the year of 2009, Ink projects a 10 percent increase in revenue but a drop in profit due to the recession and expansion costs. But of which are not permanent or secular changes, only cyclical.

Magazine Publishers of America show data that indicates that U.S. in-flight magazine titles suffered less than U.S. magazines in general and far less than periodicals like business and travel magazines.

The niche found by in-flight magazine publishers is quite unique because with today’s constant distractions it is hard to catch an audience that is forces to stay in one place for any length of time.

The chief marketing and sales officer at Pace Communications Inc. says that more than 80 percent of U.S. passengers read the magazines that airlines put in front of them.

For magazines to compete with all the other options and distractions readers have today, they must be creative and find those rare places, times, opportunities, and groups of people that spend a period of time in one place and would be willing to pick up and read a magazine.


Where I See Myself Journalistically?

Posted November 19, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

Since I am graduating in December (if all goes well), I have been dealing with the sleepless nights and anxiety dreams that come along with the change and uncertainty of leaving college and entering the “real world”. Maybe I’m just an anxious person by nature but I think it’s somewhat scary no matter what.

I have thought a lot about what area in journalism I would want to pursue if that were my major and that was what I wanted to do after graduation.

Print journalism either on paper or online is definitely the medium I would want to go into. Even with the public’s attention span shrinking rapidly and print along with it, I am most attracted to print journalism. Maybe if I learned more about shooting film or audio I would feel differently but right now print is what I am most comfortable with.

I could see myself going in one of two directions:

A) Investigative reporting — In my opinion it is the most useful type of journalism; the best service a journalist can give back to the public. Helping the world by uncovering the truth. I have the utmost respect for investigative reporters. Did I mention I wanted to be in the CIA when I was little?

B) Dance Magazine — If I decided to do something that would be purely fun. If I was not concerned with helping the world is any real way or making much money, I would want to write for Dance Magazine. I love to dance and would have majored in it but my father only agreed to pay for college if I majored in something that made money — hence, the business major. I would enjoy watching, reporting, critiquing, and photographing dance more than any other job I could think of.


Thoughts on Brian Farnham’s News Model — Patch.com:

Posted November 13, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

Brian Farnham’s news model, Patch.com, takes hyper-local to the internet and creates a formula for the process that can be recreated in basically any town.

Personally, I think the idea is great. It sets up a system so that communities that do not have good local coverage can create a way of getting it and set it up relatively simply — he claims it takes about a month to set patch up in a town. I hope it continues to grow and I really hope it moves on to areas that need it most, the poorer towns and more corrupt towns.

I was wondering where and how did they come up with the name “patch”?


Thoughts on Michael Rosenblum’s News Model:

Posted November 12, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

I disagree with Rosenblum’s comments about newspaper and TV — that they are dead. I may very well be wrong and kicking myself for saying this years from now. But, in my opinion as long as there are people who would rather get their news by reading a printed paper or watching TV than get their news online, there will be newspapers and TV. It is very possible that myself (and our class) are unlike the rest of the population that is our age. It is true that most now do not seek the news, they wait for it to come to them. Going out to get the newspaper or having it delivered to one’s house does not appeal to most younger audiences. But I think Rosenblum would be surprised by how many prefer the print version.

Rosenblum says himself that he grew up watching TV. I believe those who grew up watching TV are more likely to make the jump to internet and to do it faster. However, those who did not grow up with a TV or if they did grow up with it they did not watch it often, have difficulty transitioning to online news. All the clutter and distractions of the internet are overwhelming and not welcome to those who usually get their news from a print paper or from the radio.

However, Rosenblum had some very interesting points in terms of not being afraid to make money. Journalists need to understand the business side of the industry. Journalists should not be afraid to acknowledge that in order for them to continue doing what they are doing and do the best possible job, they need to be making money doing it. Take doctors for example. They are doing the ultimate good for people — saving lives. Yet they do not hesitate to charge an arm and a leg while doing so. They know what they are worth and show it by charging their patients outrageous sums. I am not saying we ought to mistreat our readers/viewers/listeners, but we definitely need to acknowledge what we are worth and find the most lucrative way of doing business in this industry. With all that said, I do believe that there ought to be some differentiation between the two, the journalists and the business. I do not think it is good for the reputation and the integrity of the industry if one completely breaks down that wall. There need to be a balance.

Locating Tweets

Posted November 10, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized


According to a study at the University of Iowa, Twitter has become so popular that in October it reached 26 million tweets a day.

That does not affect the average user, with his or her followers and followees. However, Google and Microsoft invested money into Twitter in the hopes of being able to use it for their own gain. If there are so many tweets per day and no way to organize or search through the mass of information, well that does companies like Google little good.

Now, however, Twitter is adding a GPS type locater to the tweets sent. Users will be able to locate where tweets are coming from with as narrow a scope as a two block radius.

Since that adds another level to the already much invaded privacy issue, users will be given the option to opt in or out on whether their location is searchable along with their tweets.

Even with the “opt-out” feature, I find the idea frightening. Remember back when we were in elementary school and chat rooms were popular, didn’t your parents scare you with stories about not giving up any information about yourself because you never know who you’re really “talking” to?? It seems like we’ve all forgotten those lectures.


New York Post Down 30 Percent

Posted November 9, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized


In just the last two and half years, The New York Post‘s circulation has fallen about 30 percent.

As recently as three years ago, the editor of The New York Post since 2001, Col Allan, was being congratulated for beating The Daily News — their main rival — in weekday circulation.

They managed to boost circulation from 440,000 to 700,000 in just six years, and loose almost all of it even faster.

This is no surprise, newspapers are doing poorly, we get it. However, The New York Post is doing worse than most. In the most recent numbers according to the New York Times, The New York Post has dropped 30 percent to 508,000 in circulation.

The Post — although not a paper I would ever touch with a ten-foot-pole, I know, I know, I’m stuck up — I do have respect for its history, as the longest running American daily. It was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1801.

Donald Forst, former editor of New York Newsday, The Village Voice, and The Boston Herald, said that with all the online news sources, it is harder than ever for a paper to be a must-read.

We need to figure out what makes a paper a “must-read” so we can create one ASAP.

Although The Post has not made a profit in decades, Murdoch has made no mention of giving up just yet.



Col Allan, editor of The New York Post



Brian Farnham, some questions

Posted November 9, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized



The Patch method uses a hyper local focus, focusing on towns like Livingston, NJ. Since the focus is so narrow, individual towns, was it difficult to initially attract attention or did this maybe make it easier?

How would one go about creating a local Patch edition in one’s town? I grew up in Monsey, NY, a town that could desperately use good reporting and hardly ever gets any.

In 2007, you were editor at Time Out New York and were quoted saying, “If you do a sex issue and no one cancels, you’re probably not doing your job.” Do you believe in catering to your public, going where the money is? Or do you believe in writing what you feel is important and newsworthy and hoping that your readers will feel that too?

Looking forward to your visit.

Michael Rosenblum, some questions:

Posted November 6, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized


In your blog post “This Is Why It’s All Over…,” you write, “The web is about everyone participating with everyone all the time… The web changes the way things work.  And you have to either conform to what the web does or you die.”

I completely agree that when it comes to the web — eBay, craigslist, dating sites, facebook, etc. — are made better  and basically live on the continuous participation of the public. However, are you saying that if television and newspapers don’t start acting like the web then they will fail? That seems to be what you are saying. I enjoy the internet and all it offers, I don’t watch television so I should not comment about it, but I don’t think newspapers ought to start acting like the web. Their purpose is to bring the public the news and I think it can stop there. Some people may want to comment and voice their opinion and that’s fine, they can do it online. Why should newspapers change? Maybe I’m missing something.

I really like the idea you posed to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia. I think the larger the net we throw out gathering up ideas for how to keep journalism alive, respectable, and actionable, the better off we will be.

I am a business major and believe if journalism students wish to do well in this area they really need to understand how the industry works and have a good sense of business. However, would you suggest that the same people who are going out to report and cover stories should be the same ones dealing with the business side of the company? Although it would cut costs, I think there needs to be a clear differentiation between the reporters and the money-handlers. Both the reporters and business people, need to understand each side of the coin but I don’t think the same people should be working both jobs. Do you?

I understand that journalism needs to recognize itself as a business or else it will not survive. However, you’re not at all worried that there will be some backfiring, unethical activity, lack of integrity without that wall between the two?


Thoughts on JRN 24/7

Posted October 30, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

The JRN 24/7 class has been very informative.

I’m a business major with a marketing concentration and minor in journalism.

What I hope to do after I graduate in December — a.k.a my dream job — would be to work marketing for a non profit organization that is doing something good for the world. However, that would be ideal and the job market still has not improved yet and the pickings are slim. Whether I end up working to get third world countries medical help or flip burgers for the time being, I hope one day I’ll get the chance to make a difference.

The connection I see between marketing and journalism may be obvious but the more I study the two areas the more I see it.

Communication is the key to both.

Journalism uses communication to get news and information out to the public so that they can use it to make informed decisions.

Marketing uses communication to find out what the public needs and wants are so they can communicate back to the public why they ought to purchase products and services based on the needs/wants they expressed previously.

Some may see the two types of communication to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. One working for the good of the public and one for the bad. However, that depends on how you view marketing. If your goal is to market cigarettes to children, then yes I would agree — you are somewhat evil. But take those same methods and skills and market a program that is fighting global warming or helping the homeless or feeding the hungry etc and you can convince (communicate to) people why they ought to care and support these programs so that they can go out and make the difference they are trying to make.

Now, back to JRN 24/7, learning about Journalism as an industry has been interesting to me because if one wishes to communicate to the public or to a target market and get oneself heard, then one needs to understand the industry including what worked but doesn’t anymore, what worked and still does, and what new ideas are coming out that may be incorporated to get your message out there too. Advertising and the news have always been two sides of the same industry and to understand one, you need to learn about the other as well.



Future of Time Inc. Includes More Cuts

Posted October 30, 2009 by sgilbert247
Categories: Uncategorized

According to the New York Times on Friday, this past week Time Inc., owned by Time Warner, plans to eliminating yet more jobs and is expecting to cut $100 million in cost.

Since 2007, they have closed four magazines including Business 2.0, Cottage Living, Southern Accents and Life. Many of the magazines have decreased the weight and quality of the type of paper they use. Last year the company cut 6% of their staff, a total of 600 employees. Last week, Fortune announced that they were decreasing their issues published per year from 25 to only 18.

Good news: Time Inc. does not plan on closing any more magazines in the near future. Some of its staff reporters are covered by union contracts which means they are eligible for severance packages in case of layoffs — two weeks pay for every year of employment with additional benefits for long time employees.