October 13, 2015 Last Updated 7:54 am

MPA unveils, with few details, its Print Magazine Sales Guarantee effort to spur print ad page sales

Morning Brief: The Department of Justice recommends ending monitoring of Apple’s eBook business; The Village Voice sold to wealthy owner of the Reading Eagle

The MPA last evening unveiled a new Print Magazine Sales Guarantee, though it gave few details in its announcement about the particulars of the program. The initiative is said to guarantee results for advertisers or their money back (or space back)

MPA-PMSG-300The Wall Street Journal, though, had a few more details than either the MPA’s own press release or website were willing to offer. To qualify for the program, a print ad campaign must reach “approximately 125 million adults 18 years old and over an average of three times during a 12-month period, be it through ads in a single title or across a company’s entire portfolio of magazines,” according to the WSJ’s report.

“While many industries have sat back and lamented the disruption caused by technology, magazine media leadership has twice now put aside its wildly competitive culture to aggressively lead and transform the marketplace,” said Nancy Telliho, interim president and CEO, MPA in the announcement for the program/

The program involves MPA members, meaning the largest of the consumer publishers in the US, and is modeled off of similar programs that have been created at some of those same publishers – Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast and Meredith, according to the MPA’s FAQ for the initiative.

“The Print Magazine Sales Guarantee makes our case to the advertising community that if they are looking for the best ROI possible, magazine media is an ideal investment,” said Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp. “This new industry-wide guarantee demonstrates the value of the magazine media ecosystem to advertisers. It’s a win/win for all of us.”

The U.S. Justice Department has called off the dogs, telling Apple that Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general, would no longer be needed to monitor its behavior.

AppleiBooksStore-400Bromwich was appointed; after it was ruled that Apple has conspired with the five major publishers to fix the prices of eBooks. Those publishers, one by one, settled with the DOJ and admitted to wrong doing, while Apple’s team of lawyers continued to fight the ruling, and sometimes the monitor’s efforts.

But things may have finally come to an end, with the court finding Apple in compliance.

“In spite of the challenges he encountered, the Monitor was not deterred from evaluating Apple’s antitrust compliance program, recommending improvements, and seeing his recommendations implemented,” the monitor and Apple wrote in a joint letter. “The Monitor observes that Apple has now implemented meaningful antitrust policies, procedures, and training programs that were obviously lacking at the time Apple participated in and facilitated the horizontal price-fixing conspiracy found by this Court.”

“Over the past two years, Apple has developed and implemented a comprehensive, engaging, and effective Antitrust Compliance Program,” Apple said in its portion of the letter.

The Village Voice, a once great NYV weekly, has been sold to Peter D. Barbey, president and CEO of Reading Eagle Company, though his investment firm Black Walnut Holdings L.L.C.

VV-cover-DTThe Voice has been owned since 2005 by New Times Media, known for its unique brand of alt-weekly publishing. New Times immediately began the process of firing the newspaper’s best talent in order to cut costs. In September 2012, several executives bought Village Voice Media’s papers and formed Voice Media Group, and more layoffs ensued.

The owners had been looking to dump properties, so this look like the best possible end result for the Voice.

There is not much left of the Voice’s once impressive roster of writing talent, so this will be a rebuilding effort, and at least for the near term, the former owner of the newspaper will continue to sell national advertising into the pages of the tabloid newspaper.

After the sale of its namesake newspaper, Voice Media Group still owns the LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Miami New Times, Houston Press, Phoenix New Times, the Dallas Observer and New Times Broward-Palm Beach. The publisher said no further sales are contemplated at this time.

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