Monday, October 12, 2009

Some surprised ad buyers demand more transparency in wake of Gourmet shutdown

It seems that some media buyers were surprised, and dismayed, at the recent closing of Gourmet magazine. Setting aside the fact that buyers and analysts should probably see their jobs as being aware of the financial health and trends in magazines companies, according to a story in MediaWeek, the decision on October 5 by Conde Nast is making some of them demand that the magazines signal their plans so as not to blindside advertisers and agencies.

Brenda White, senior vp, publishing activation director, Starcom USA, said:
“Some [closures] have come out of left field, if you will. I think there’s going to be more intense conversation about the numbers behind everything. I think we’re going to have a little more transparency going forward.What we’ve learned over the past 12 to 18 months is that things change pretty quickly. They need to keep buyers in the loop as far as what’s going on in their business. What I’ve said to Condé Nast is,‘We need to be given a heads-up before it breaks.’"

Other buyers said Gourmet’s closing shouldn’t come as a shock and that it was unrealistic to expect publishers to be franker about their magazines’ financial health.

“Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are in media-lockdown mode, these things have been rumored for months,” quipped one buyer, who declined to speak for attribution. Demanding more financial disclosure is a “nice thing to say to clients to make yourself seem like a big hammer in negotiations, but [I] don’t know in practice how realistic that is,” the buyer added.”

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