1) Quorum: Demonstrating its indifference to one of the nation’s largest employers, Congress failed to act on fix vacancies on the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, causing it to lose its quorum. It’s yet another example of USPS’s “Congressional oversight” turning into “Congressional overlooking,” except when there’s a chance to name post offices. And it's another reminder to publishers of magazines and daily newspapers that our primary means of distribution is still at risk.
|Leaked Google document showed its preference for web sites|
associated with print brands.
|Wholesaler's bankruptcy led to empty magazine racks.|
5) Antitrust: The U.S. Justice Department didn’t bat an eye when Quad/Graphics turned the large-publication printing market into a virtual duopoly by buying out Brown Printing. But it dithered for nearly the full year about the proposed merger of ailing paper makers Verso and NewPage, finally approving the deal on Dec. 31 -- but only after a major divestiture. These, after all, are the same antitrust geniuses who, deciding Amazon’s 90% share of the ebook market wasn’t big enough, went after Apple and major book publishers.
|A destroyer of printed books and magazines? Nope.|
7) Accountability: Advertisers began awakening to the reality that they were being duped by social-media marketing enthusiasts (“Let’s get everyone on Facebook to join the conversation about our toothpaste!”), content-marketing hucksters, and advertising impressions targeted at bots. Kraft even fired most of its advertising agencies, apparently deciding that targeting ads to people who Google “gang rape” is not the best strategy for selling “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product" (Velveeta).
8) Measurement: With the rising emphasis on accountability came a growing interest in measurement. The advertising industry started pushing for new ways to measure how many people see a web ad, and for how long, after realizing that a majority of the advertising “impressions” served by ad networks were never visible to an actual human being. Meanwhile, the MPA moved the goalposts on the measures of magazines’ success, emphasizing growing web audiences and omitting the depressing news about trends in ad pages.
9) FutureMark: The closure of FutureMark Paper, which was the only North American manufacturer that made coated paper containing mostly recycled fiber, provided stark evidence of a troubling development: Publishers, and perhaps the public, seem to have lost interest in using environmentally friendly paper. Or perhaps they are having trouble distinguishing between “green” and “non-green” papers.
10) Native advertising: Pundits, editors, and marketers spent the entire year debating whether native advertising was a savior or sellout for publishers. It would help if the debaters could agree on a definition for what they’re arguing about. Is it native only if it masquerades as editorial content? Does native necessarily involve the co-opting of journalists? What’s clear is that marketers are becoming disillusioned with banner ads but still see the web sites of reputable publishers as attractive venues for engaging the hearts and minds of potential customers.
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