October 21, 2015 Last Updated 7:05 am

‘Earnings recession’ begins with disappointing earnings reports from IBM and Yahoo

Morning Brief: Texture by Next Issue issues app update to add reading times under select articles, Inkling issues update to make its iOS app more stable under iOS 9

The first batch of earnings reports are starting to come in, and so far things are not looking rosy. IBM posted a 14 percent fall in sales, driving down its stock yesterday, and Yahoo missed investor expectations and reported that its foray into programming would lead the company to take a $42 million charge against earnings.

The Street, in reporting the IBM results, warned that an “earnings recession” would weigh on stocks (though today the markets look to be up a bit).

But earnings season really heats up next week as many of the major tech companies report their results and the leading media companies begin to spill the beans.

MagzterGold-700None of this would normally mean that much to publishers except that it is still fall planning, and any idea that 2016 will be a soft year will not be appreciated.

In the magazine business, there is much uncertainty about where we are going. The Meredith-Media General deal may still happen, but it just as likely won’t. So what happens then? Does Meredith spin-off print in order to make itself a more attractive buy-out target? Does it double down on print by finally buying some of those Time Inc. titles it once was said to be considering?

The fall, late summer really, is the time when publishers have to make decisions about some of their titles – do they shutter weak ones, cut staff, lower their rate base? Time Inc. has already announced that it will shutter All You after the final December issue appears, and the Columbia Journal Review said it would stop producing its bi-monthly print magazine and only print two special issues a year.

“A digital-first approach should enable us to reach a broader audience than ever before. As a nonprofit with a mission of influence, this is our foremost goal,” said Elizabeth Spayd, editor in chief and publisher of CJR.

Just what is going on with print and digital media sales? The June batch of publisher’s statements were mixed, but most titles continue to show little growth in the area of digital circulation. Momentum towards digital edition sales has not just slowed down, but in some cases gone into reverse.

Magzter, the large digital newsstand, is currently promoting a 90 percent off sale on certain titles including Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Elle, Esquire, Car and Driver, Marie Claire, Bloomberg Businessweek, and others. As Magzter is a revenue-share newsstand, a 90 percent sale either means that these publishers have agreed to take nothing for a chance to sell a few extra copies, or that the digital newsstand is getting desperate to attract readers.

A couple of publishing related app updates this morning:

Texture-thedonald-810Texture, the recently renamed digital newsstand app from Next Issue Media has been updated.

The app has some weird reviews inside Google Play from readers who may have mistaken the app for another.

Another reader complains about the fact that many of the magazines found inside the digital newsstands are PDF replicas. One good feature of the Google Play app store is the ability to respond directly to reviews and so someone from Next Issue did just that:

“…some of our titles are presented in “replica” format, identical to the print editions. Others are formatted differently and include interactive features, layers and bonus content such as slideshows and video.”

It is interesting to hear of complaints about replicas in the Android world since so many publishers who initially produced interactive digital editions for the Apple Newsstand settled on replicas for other platforms. Clearly there are some readers with Android devices who would like to see more native digital publications.

Here is the app description for the latest update for Texture:

What’s New in Version 5.2.0
It’s been an exciting October with the debut of Texture, a new look, and the addition of Highlights with stories and collections recommended by our Editorial Team. Now, we’re layering on a few more great features:

  • Maximize your reading time.
    You’ll start to see a timer underneath select articles, letting you know how many minutes it’ll take to read.
  • Open stories from our emails faster.
    Look out for regular Texture emails full of recommended stories just for you. Now, tapping a story will take you straight to the Texture app faster than ever.

Oh, we also changed our name to “Texture” under the app icon on your home screen to complete our brand transition.

Two other platforms have been updated, as well:

Zinio just this morning had their bug fix app update released by Apple, and…

Inkling issued an update yesterday to improve the app’s stability under iOS 9.

  • John Paris 12 months ago

    Hi, I’m a regular TNM reader and enjoyed this article as I have many others. Just a minor correction from your friends at Magzter though, our current Fall Sale is “Up To 90% Off,” the discounts do vary by publisher!