Friday, October 7, 2005

African-American Magazine Summit Draws More Than 100 Publishers, Ad Execs  

Target Market News

(November 16, 2005) Target Market News' third annual African-American Magazine Summit attracted a capacity audience at the Time & Life Building in New York this week. The event was co-sponsored by Time Warner, Essence Communications and Magazine Publishers of America. More than 100 publishers and marketing executives heard presentations and panels offer insights on the latest trends in black magazine publishing.

Special Report: The African-American Magazine Summit
More than 100 publishing and marketing executives attended this third annual conference produced by Target Market News, and co-sponsored by MPA, Time Inc. and Essence. The full-day event, which took place November 15 at the Time-Life Building in Manhattan, examined the latest research, trends and opportunities for African-American magazine publishers and advertisers. Following are selected coverage of the event. Click here to view the African-American Magazine Summit photo gallery.

The African-American Magazine Market: Interpreting the Latest Trends and Research Data

Aiesha Powell, Research Director of Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and JET, presented the latest research that examines the relationship between black consumers and magazines.

Citing MPA research, Powell stated that 18 consumer magazines targeting the black/ethnic community launched in 2004, a 63% increase over the previous year. She noted that there substantial opportunity in this market, referring to the wide breadth of publications addressing the evolving needs and passions of African-American consumers.

“African-Americans have a passion for print that other racial/ethnic groups cannot rival,” said Powell.

She revealed that African-Americans spend 30 more minutes a week reading magazines than non-Blacks; that nearly half of them have read a magazine the previous day; that in a typical week, an African-American adult will read approximately 4 magazines—reading more magazines that Non-Hispanic Whites, Asian/Other Races, Hispanics or all U.S. adults; and that in a typical month, African-American adults read about 15 magazines, nearly 30% more than the national average. A number of other studies done by Mediamark Research Inc. reinforce the fact that African-Americans are avid consumers of magazines.

African-Americans are also heavy consumers of other media, including TV, newspapers and radio. Powell remarked that many times, advertisers feel that by executing a media plan comprised only of TV, newspapers and radio, they are in fact already over-delivering the African-American population. Powell warned that while from a data standpoint that assessment is accurate, the media plan actually delivers “exposure” rather than “effect.”

Powell pointed to the unique relationship African-Americans share with their magazines. “Our biggest and greatest opportunity lies in our ability to prove to advertisers that there is a difference between “reaching” and “selling,” she said. Consumers’ trust in a magazine enhances the value of media exposure, which in turn leads them to take action.

Powell then presented new research from the MPA-commissioned Northwestern University Magazine Reader Experience Study, which illustrates the intimate connection between African-American readers and their magazines. The study shows that the top experiences that motivate them to read magazines are: “I build relationships by talking about and sharing it”; “I’m touched”; and “It grabs me visually.”

The Relationship Between Editorial Excellence and Business Success

(l-r) Angela Burt Murray, Essence; Derek Dingle, Black Enterprise; and Sheryl Tucker, MONEY

In a panel moderated by Target Market News President Ken Smikle, Black Enterprise VP, Executive Director Derek Dingle, MONEY Executive Editor Sheryl Tucker, and Essence Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt Murray discussed financial coverage in their magazines, brand longevity and hiring African-American talent.

Tucker shared that a few years ago, MONEY did a lot of investing coverage, but when the market started to crash, people were no longer as interested in the financial world. MONEY then had to reevaluate the needs of their readers. “We found there are two kinds of people: those who believe in planning, and those who don’t,” said Tucker. MONEY is a magazine for the former, and the editorial focus has since shifted to stories that address their readers’ financial well-being.

Dingle described the evolution of Black Enterprise from a magazine for entrepreneurs and African-Americans in corporate America to what it is today, a magazine focused on the accumulation of Black wealth. “Our end game is to build multi-generational wealth,” stated Dingle. In light of this, the magazine has lately increased its coverage of investments and home ownership. And, Black Enterprise has expanded beyond the magazine to a radio program, TV program, Internet portal and events, all of which are driven by the magazine’s editorial mission to be “the ultimate guide for financial empowerment.”

Murray said that they are also increasing financial coverage at Essence, as women are starting their own businesses in record rates, and are buying homes—and even second homes. This however, is not the publication’s primary emphasis. According to Murray, Essence uses fashion and beauty to tell the world the story of the African-American woman.

In terms of brand longevity, Tucker believes while not all brands offer a lifestyle component or foster an emotional connection, it’s still vital to the success of a brand to be personally relevant. “Without [that], a magazine is going to die,” she warned.

Murray, on the subject of African-American talent, stated, “Companies should be held accountable for holding them in the ranks.” She remarked that recruiting and retaining top talent is critical to success.

Dingle also expressed the need for more African-American talent, especially writers, in the magazine industry. At Black Enterprise, they are working on creating a pipeline by teaching the younger talent about business. Dingle also encourages publishers to share talent to grow their pool of talent.

Grabbing the Internet Dollars and Other Ways to Leverage Your Brand for Cash

(l-r) Tariq Muhammad, Black Enterprise, and Roy S. Johnson, Sports Illustrated

Tariq Muhammad, Director-Interactive Media, Black Enterprise, and Roy S. Johnson, Assistant Managing Editor, Sports Illustrated, were bullish on economic prospects of migrating hard copy brands to digital platforms.

“We help our readers 24/7,” said Muhammad. “That’s the mantra of our site.”

Johnson stated, “Right now, most of my efforts are focused on creating broadband content for It’s become a huge profit center for us.”

As an example, he pointed to the “Inside the NFL” three-minute video program on, featuring Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King. The segment is edited from the HBO program of the same name. While HBO does not sell ads, the feature on was sold, according to Johnson, for a six-figure sponsorship deal. “It was new money that was just found,” he said.

Johnson also urged Summit attendees to create new products even at the risk of cannibalization of the hard copy magazine. He said photo galleries were popular, and he advised enhancing them with audio content. After Rosa Parks died, Johnson called friends at Essence and suggested that they create a photo gallery with audio on the magazine’s website about the civil rights pioneer.

Muhammad advised Summit attendees to analyze their web traffic and pay particular attention to interactive functionality on their sites. “The community tells you what they want to read,” he observed.

Muhammad also said that magazine executives did not necessarily need any specialized training to become more deeply involved in the digital side of publishing.

“My technical background comes from Captain Kirk and ‘Deep Space Nine,’” he joked.

Click here to view more photos from the African-American Magazine Summit.


Greenlight Given for 'Weekend' and 'Men’s Vogue'
By Nat Ives

NEW YORK ( -- In a show of confidence in what’s proved to be a challenging time for publishers, two major magazine companies have given the green light to titles that launched as tests this year.

Hearst Magazines said it will publish five issues of Weekend in 2006. Weekend, a lifestyle tome that published twice in 2005, is considered by some an imitation of Time Inc.’s wildly successful Real Simple, not least because both had Susan Wyland as founding editor in chief.

Weekend will have a rate base -- the paid circulation guaranteed to advertisers -- of 300,000 and a cover price of $3.99. (Despite any resemblance between Weekend and Real Simple, the similarities do not extend to rate bases; Real Simple, established in 2000, now has a rate base of 1.8 million.)

Men’s Vogue
Separately, Conde Nast Publications said it will proceed with its foray into a Vogue for George Clooney types everywhere. Men’s Vogue, whose single September issue sold an estimated 150,000 copies on the newsstand and contained 164 ad pages, will publish one spring issue next year, go bi-monthly next fall and print 10 issues during 2007. It will have a rate base of 300,000 and a cover price of $4.95.

William Li was named publisher; he had been associate publisher at Conde Nast sibling The New Yorker since April 2004. Mr. Li will report to Thomas A. Florio, who was named publishing director of Men’s Vogue in addition to his position as VP-publisher for Vogue.

Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, continues as editorial director of Men’s Vogue. Jay Fielden, editor in chief of the September debut, will continue in that role; he had previously been arts editor at Vogue.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

The Re-Launch

My people, my people....The JJ is back - as a blog! Been holding onto some stories for a minute and they're towards the end. Newer items are at the top. Will be updating periodically. Don't forget to scroll to the end and check out the job opportunties.....enjoyceinglife, JD


BET Books Purchased by Harlequin
Target Market News

Vampire Huntress Author LA Banks To Pen Scarface's Early Life

AG Interactive, Def Jam launch Def Connect mobile phone video channel
Target Market News

Fulani Down, But Not Out
Village Voice Blogs

Post-Suede (Mag) Silver Lining
STAYING TOGETHER: The sad story of Suede magazine now has a happy postscript.

Beauty and the Bleach
Los Angeles Times

Please, Save Us From the Pimps

Blacks Pin Hope on DNA to Fill Slavery's Gaps in Family Trees
New York Times

Atlanta's John Smith Elected Chair of Black Newspaper Publishers
Press Release

The Africa Channel Signs Deal With Cox Communications for U.S. Cable Carriage
Target Market News

What is Right in America - All of Our Young People Are Not Lost
Joseph C. Phillips Column

Real Women Seek Dates, Must Love Technology
New York Times

New York Jails Banning Forced Gynecological Exams for Female Inmates
Black America Web

Christian Retailers Hammered By Price-Cutting Giants (Wal-Mart, Costco, Target)
Ad Age

All Rock, No Action - An African Criticizes Those Trying to Help Africans
New York Times

Racial Disparity Found in Ex-Convict Job Opportunities
Democracy Now!



PowerFlow Media - Where the Power of Public Relations Meets the Flow of Marketing

Third Quarter 2005: Events featuring PowerFlow Media clients author and journalist Farai Chideya (NPR's News & Notes with Ed Gordon,, ArtsTalk, Call To Womanhood, Heart & Soul Editorial Director Yanick Rice Lamb (Rise and Fly: Tall Tales and Mostly True Rules of Bid Whist), Lori Robinson (I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse), Moore Black Press (More Than An Athlete by Etan Thomas, The Subtle Art of Breathing by asha bandele), Audra Woodard (Dear Diary Letters From Lana) Fortune Writer Cora Daniels (Black Power Inc: The New Voice of Success), and Evelyn Coleman (Born In Sin).

PowerFlow Pop Quiz: Be the first with the right answer to the question at and win a prize!

BET Books Purchased by Harlequin

Target Market News

BET Books being sold to leading romance novel publisher Harlequin
Linda Gill joins company as general manager

(October 6, 2005) BET Books, the publishing arm of Black Entertainment Television, has announced the sale of its book publishing assets to Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. The new ownership deal, expected to close November 30, 2005, positions the imprints Arabesque, Sepia and New Spirit to take full advantage of the world’s largest publisher of women’s fiction; and strategically position itself for growth within the U.S. and around the world. 

Company officials say the acquisition will realize a positive gain for all parties, particularly the authors. “This acquisition will fast track a key strategic initiative for Harlequin by offering greater breadth in publishing niches which have the opportunity of creating future growth for the overall Harlequin franchise,” said Donna Hayes, Harlequin Publisher and CEO. “The BET editorial strategy dovetails perfectly with that of Harlequin – romance, women’s fiction and inspirational publishing.” 

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 25 languages and sold in 94 international markets. The company produces over 115 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,300 authors from around the world.

“We are excited about the opportunities ahead,” said Linda Gill (above), BET Books Vice President and Publisher who will join Harlequin and retain the position of General Manager. “Merging the publishing programs of our highly acclaimed three imprints with the nascent African-American program at Harlequin is a wonderful challenge which I welcome along with the unparalleled contributions of our authors, outstanding editors and staff.” 

Publishing 86 titles in 2005, an increase of 25% since its first full production year in 1999, BET Books has garnered literary praise as the leading publisher of African-American romances with the strong brand Arabesque; and forays into new genres with Sepia, particularly the African-American inspirational fiction imprint New Spirit. 

BET Books was formed in 1998 with the acquisition of Arabesque, and the BET cable network developed 13 made-for-television movies based on Arabesque novels which are now available on DVD and VHS. “BET Books has consistently grown during its tenure at BET, and we’re proud of the new authors who have launched their literary careers with us, as well as the best-selling authors who were able to see their characters come to life on the small screen,” said Scott Mills, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of BET.  “We wish everyone well in this new opportunity with one of the publishing industry’s most strategic companies.”

Kensington Publishing, which has previously provided sales, distribution and management services will continue to solicit orders for BET Books through November 30, 2005.

Vampire Huntress Author LA Banks To Pen Scarface's Early Life


St. Martin's Press Best-selling Vampire Huntress
Legends Author, L.A. Banks, who also writes the hot,
four-book 'white-collar crime' series, "Betrayal of
the Trust" for Kensington/Dafina as, Leslie Esdaile
Banks, and numerous romance titles under pen name,
Leslie Esdaile, has just inked another deal!

L.A. Banks has been contracted to write the
novelization of the Universal Studios classic movie,
Scarface, by Dark Horse Publishing. Banks' project
is scheduled for release in 2006, and will focus on
the character Tony Montana's life two years before
he came to America during his early rise to kingpin

This current deal is her second foray into turning
classics that have been represented on the big and
little screens into novels. Her first project was
creating original novels based upon the famed cable
television series, Soul Food, by Paramount Studios,
with the novels published by Simon and
Schuster/Pocketbooks. The Scarface project will
utilize her adept handling of crime characters and
her ability to develop dark, psychological profiles
found in her Vampire Huntress Legends.

To learn more about the full breadth and depth of
Banks' works, visit her website at

AG Interactive, Def Jam launch Def Connect mobile phone video channel

Target Market News Thursday Sept. 22

(Sept. 22, 2005) AG Interactive, the new media subsidiary of American Greetings Corporation and Def Jam Enterprises, today announced Def Connect. The service offers six channels of exclusive, made-for-mobile video content including Comedy, Poetry, Ride With Funkmaster Flex, Entertainers Classic Rucker Park, Ralph McDaniel's Video Music Box, and History Makers.

Def Connect considers itself the most comprehensive Hip Hop video service available for mobile platforms today. AG Interactive and Def Jam Enterprises created hundreds of hours of new video content through exclusive partnerships in media and entertainment, dramatically expanding its Def Jam Mobile portfolio.

"AG Interactive provides the widest range of mobile content to consumers worldwide through the most extensive distribution channels including mobile, instant messenger, and online," stated Bryan Biniak, senior vice president, AG Interactive.

"With Def Connect, we're providing original programming to both entertain as well as merchandise Def Jam Mobile's market-leading portfolio of mobile personalization, games, news, and messaging products."

"The hip hop lifestyle has proven to be a global financial powerhouse," stated Russell Simmons (above), CEO, Rush Communications. "The launch of Def Jam Mobile represents more than music. It represents the entire hip hop lifestyle including games, film, television, video, comedy, sports, fashion, and news."

Def Connect will be distributed through carriers globally on a subscription and pay-per-view basis, launching first on O2 in the United Kingdom. Def Connect takes advantage of the proliferation of rapidly expanding wireless networks which enable consumers to access media and entertainment.

Def Connect will provide new episodes for its six channels on a weekly basis, keeping the content fresh and providing something new for hip hops fans to look forward to.

Fulani Down, But Not Out

Village Voice Blogs
By Tom Robbins | September 19, 2005

Moments after Lenora Fulani and five close allies lost a lop-sided vote booting them from the executive committee of the state's Independence Party yesterday, she was asked what effect it had on the New York City party chapters, where she and her adherents still hold sway.

Fulani held up her right hand, forming a goose-egg sign with her fingers. "Zero," she grinned.

Leaders of the party who engineered Sunday's purge during a five-hour meeting at the Best Western motel near Albany Airport agreed. "We have local autonomy," said state chairman Frank MacKay. "This doesn't affect the county committees."

Fulani's ongoing clout with the city's branch of the party means that Mayor Mike Bloomberg's reelection campaign team will still be dealing directly with her crew, including ace political director Cathy Stewart, and election attorney Harry Kresky, both of whom were voted off the board Sunday.

So far Bloomberg has contributed some $260,000 to the party's city coffers for the 2005 election. More contributions are expected in coming weeks. Bloomberg won the 2001 election with 59,000 votes cast for him on the Independence Party's Row C. The party's line is considered crucial to Bloomberg, a former Democrat, as a means of offering anti-GOP voters an alternative to voting for him on the Republican line in November.

While former Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, along with Ed Koch, and Al D'Amato, publicly called for Fulani's removal, Bloomberg ducked the debate. On Sunday, he told reporters that since he's not a party member he shouldn't get involved. "I don't think I should be commenting on somebody else's party," said the mayor.

MacKay and several upstate party leaders said the ouster was sparked by Fulani's refusal to separate her party position from allegedly anti-Semitic remarks that have infuriated Jews and others. The Fulani controversy had damaged the organization, said Tony Orsini, an executive committee member from Erie County. "It's starting to affect us in Western New York," he told the meeting.

"This isn't pleasant, but it's been percolating for some time," said Jeffrey Graham, mayor of Watertown in Jefferson County near Lake Ontario. "Upstate, we say enough is enough. We're tired of hearing about it."

Fulani's forces aimed their harshest comments at MacKay, who endured a steady onslaught of hoots, hollers, and personal attacks during the meeting. "Anyone who thinks I'm enojoying myself is out of their minds," MacKay, who lives in Suffolk County, told the gathering. "But trust me, [Fulani's remarks] are offensive to Jewish members, to other groups, to Americans."

In a weighted vote by the party's county chapters, 76 percent of its members voted to remove Fulani, Kresky, and Stewart. Votes against the measure came almost solely from New York City committees that Fulani backers still control. Also ousted were Fulani allies Jessie Fields, a candidate for Manhattan Borough President on the Independence line, attorney Gary Sinawski, and party treasurer Debra Holland.

At the party conclave, Fulani's group lost an initial parliamentary procedure motion to hold separate votes on the removal of each of the committee members by the same 3-1 margin. After that loss, the Fulani's forces appeared resigned to the outcome.

While numerous pro-Fulani speakers, many of whom were bused to the meeting in three white vans, took the floor to condemn the removal motion, no further serious tactical moves were made.

Asked why they hadn't fought harder, Kresky responded: "We did everything we could."

But the Fulani group, which follow the teachings of controversial so-called "social therapy" guru Fred Newman, may also be banking that Sunday's vote will create a public perception that they are now effectively removed from the party's entire apparatus, including the city organization, thus allowing people angered by Fulani's remarks to vote on their line in the November election.

That view got a boost from a New York Times account of the vote which said that Fulani's ouster "removes a stumbling block" from Bloomberg's campaign.

Post-Suede (Mag) Silver Lining

STAYING TOGETHER: The sad story of Suede magazine now has a happy postscript.

Many of the designers, photographers and stylists who gave the short-lived urban fashion magazine its distinctive look stuck together after its demise in February, and now they've started a creative agency called Chandelier. Richard Christiansen, the agency's creative director and the group's nucleus, said the name was a term coined during the Suede days to describe a particularly lavish layout. "Chandelier was the total embodiment of decadence — over-the-top, completely outrageous layers of design," he said.

Chandelier's charter clients include Baby Phat, Iceberg and a custom magazine that Christiansen declined to name. "We really want to focus on accounts that love color and pattern and over-the-top design," he said. "There's not many people who are that brave out there."

But the birth of Chandelier is not without its own soup├žon of drama. Manhattanites in the media and advertising industries received news of the launch in the form of an oversized brochure that arrived on their desks Thursday. The brochure was filled with examples of Christiansen's team's work, including page after page of images created for Suede. Unfortunately, the copy — "When a fashion magazine closes its doors, what happens to all the great people? They start an agency." — was taken as a snub by some former Suede staffers, who saw it as an attempt by the Chandelier crowd to take credit for all the good parts of the magazine. Christiansen said that was not his intention, and that the wording would be changed: "The press kit was not designed to deflect anyone of credit or recognition."
— J.B.

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