Our real hillbillies
                                                                 
          Dec. 19, 2002

Dear Editor:
Aren't "The Osbournes" the hillbillies in the L.A. mansion . . ?  I'm so confused.


Cynthia Qualich
Media Director
Mercury Communication Partners
Brookfield, Wisc.


Hey, you forgot us
                                                                 
          Dec. 17, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I'm writing in reference to the interesting article by Jeff Bercovici regarding the launch of STA's magazine for college students, Xplore (Xplore, for college kids with loose feet, From Jungle, a travel title enters a crowded field.)
   I just wanted to let you know that, unfortunately, you've missed mentioning one of the biggest players in the student travel market - Student Traveler Magazine.
   Unlike Outside, National Geo Adventure, or Frommer's Budget Travel, our magazine is already focused directly on the student travel market, and we've been there for six years now.
   Unlike STA's Xplore, we are completely independent and have grown from a small magazine written by college travelers for college travelers to one of the most widely-distributed magazines for young travelers.
    We are freely distributed on over 750 college campuses in the United States, are expanding from 50,000 to 100,000 circulation in our next issue, are published five times per year, and are truly the voice of the independent student traveler.
   I'm sure Xplore will be a great, high-end publication for STA, but for all the students who truly want advice from independent sources and inspiration from travelers like themselves, they'll still pick up our magazine in their study-abroad offices first.
   If you're interested in seeing print copies of our recent issues, please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for taking the time to cover the travel magazine business, especially for adventurous and student travelers.

Jeff Booth
Editor
Student Traveler Magazine


Hey, you forgot us
                                                                             Dec. 17, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Your magazine was remiss when Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, was not mentioned in your article on travel magazines that target younger travelers. In your article on Jungle Media’s new travel magazine, you failed to mention that Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, invented that genre.
   There had never been a travel magazine specifically designed for 18-35 year-old travelers before Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, launched in August 2001.
   Our magazine just celebrated its one-year anniversary issue not too long ago.
  However, unlike Jungle’s new magazine, which will be distributed by STA travel and is only for 18-25 year-olds, Places has full newsstand and bookstore distribution and has gained a large following from people of varying ages who represent the new travel culture, anywhere from 18-49. It has always been Places intention to be a voice, and a magazine where younger travelers and readers could find a design style and editorial content that they could personally relate to. Looking towards the future, we will continue to innovate and revolutionize the genre.

Paul W Jacob
Publishing and editorial director


Please, stop the NY Post headlines

                                                                 
            Nov. 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
  Just wanted to say that I found your headline about "flop sweat" re: Donahue quite objectionable.  (Deathwatch for Donahue Television: He's oozing flop sweat, sure. But don't dig just yet)
   You are, after all, not the New York Post.
   On the whole you are a good site and I enjoy your news and insights but this was uncalled for.

Eileen Wise
PR Manager
The Economist
London

The editor responds: We are indeed not the New York Post


Hey, you guys got it wrong

                                                                 
            Nov. 8, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Your Nov. 6 story on how the New York Post is taking readers away from the Daily News is a portrait in journalistic inaccuracy, far below Media Life’s usual standard of excellence.
   For one thing, you state that the rivalry “really heated up two years ago when the Post lowered its newsstand price to 25 cents.” According to your report, this prompted the Daily News to respond “by launching a free afternoon edition, the Daily News Express, but folded it a year later.”
   Search your memory and you’ll realize that the launch of the Express by the Daily News came first and that it sent the Post into utter panic and prompted them to slash their newsstand price. 
   What’s more, the reason the Daily News folded Express, which had been distributed at major transportation hubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, was that post-9/11 security precautions made delivery impossible.
   Once the Post realized that it could sell its paper more successfully at a quarter, a stunning exercise in money-losing publishing, it stuck with this price for one apparent reason: Maybe, just maybe, it could gain enough cheap circulation to achieve parity with the Daily News and begin competing with us on the advertising front. 
   Maybe. But meanwhile the Daily News continues to run three times the ad pages the Post runs for the simple reason that we work for our advertisers and the Post doesn’t.
   As for the Post being up 10.5 per cent in the Sept. 30 ABC audit and the Daily News being down 2.5 per cent, try this explanation on for size: In the comparable post-9/11 period, the Daily News, because of its incredible editorial coverage, registered a series of million-a-day sales. 
   Even at its near-giveaway price of a quarter, the Post had no such success. That we were down only 2.5 per cent against such a formidable performance represents a magnificent achievement for the Daily News and is reflective of why we outsell every newspaper, including The New York Times, in the five boroughs.
   You suggest that the circulation losses we are incurring are “mortifying” for the Daily News. 
   In truth, the only thing that’s mortifying us is that a respected news medium like Media Life would inadvertently mislead its readers into believing that this is the case.
   Everyone has come to expect more from you, just as readers and advertisers expect more from the Daily News than from the Post.

Les Goodstein,
President and Chief Operating Officer
Daily News 
New York

The editor responds: The sequence of events recounted in our story was indeed wrong. As Media Life reported at the time, the decision to launch the Daily News Express, announced in August 2000, preceded the New York Post's cover price reduction. Media Life regrets the error.


Arrghh!  #&^!#@ the record industry

                                                                      
       Nov. 5, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Arrghh...
   The RIAA has a flackmeister second only to the MPAA's. (Nobody beats Jack!). (Web Shorts: Online music sales show drop)
    Maybe online CD sales are down because online no longer offers a benefit. Check prices for new releases and you will find the chain discounters now easily undercut online prices. 
    So what's the benefit of buying online?
    CDs released this week are running $10.99-11.99 at Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, BestBuy, CircuitCity, etc. Tough for an e-com retailer to match those prices because they can't pick, pack and ship for 5-10 percent of the sell price (i.e. equal to the local sales tax) and still make a profit. 
   Nor can they match the "buy today, play today" aspect.
   As for the overall decline in sales, the RIAA and the industry shrug off the weak economy and lack of real hits in favor of blaming Napster, Kazaa and CD burners for their woes.
   Humbug. 
    My survey sample (*) says: "There aren't as many CDs worth buying as there used to be. Who wants to buy a whole CD for one or two good songs? And they keep playing all this nasty stuff on the radio..."  
   Forty-fives may be gone but the basic concept has taken on a new life as .mp3 files. Too bad the RIAA and the labels haven't figured it out. 
   Or don't want to...
 (* Son (23), May 2002 college grad, daughter, 19, college freshman, and their friends.)

Davis Stewart
New York


HR pinheads and older media people

                                                                         
    Nov. 4, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Lorri Hromas's letter to the editor concerning the lack of jobs for experienced media people should be required reading by all the clueless pinheads who work in HR and perpetuate the myth that experienced people won't be happy in lower level positions.  

Roy Moskowitz
CEO 
Reciprocal Results 
New York


Let's rethink needs of older media people

                                                                             Oct
31, 2002

Dear Editor:
  Having bounced around ad agencies and media departments for some 18 years now, I find it hard to understand why everyone assumes older, more experienced professionals won't consider a lower salary in order to find a job (Older media folks face hard job times: Workplace: Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?).
Where is it written that once someone attains a certain salary level, or job position, they are never willing to accept less? 
It sounds as though ad agencies and media companies aren't willing to take the chance they'll get turned down by experienced job applicants because they aren't offering what these people have lost. 
What's a few no's when ultimately you'll find a yes and get the experience clients deserve?
Three times now I've taken a lower salary/job position when I wanted to change jobs. All three times I have been amply rewarded in time, especially when business was good. 
If companies are worried these employees will not be happy with their "reduced" circumstances, they need to rethink.  
This is a career people are happy they chose. Unlike many professions, where you hear people say they are just in it for the money and are waiting to have another life, media people love what they do. 
We work with people who are happy to be here. Big salaries are great, but just working in the business for a reasonable salary is enough for some people. 
Companies should start interviewing the available talent and making them job offers despite their past salary/job position. It is the only way these companies can provide the quality product they've promised their clients and the only way the next generation can truly learn from those in the know.

Lorri Hromas
Media Director
marcom advertising
Houston
(Former broadcast director
western international media, 
now initiative media)


Real reason senior media people have it tough

                                                                             Oct
31, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I read this piece (Older media folks face hard job times: Workplace: Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?) and it was interesting, but it seemed to overlook one of the key reasons why senior people aren't finding jobs in media: The function has always been viewed as "back office," to be staffed with the least expensive, i.e., most junior, people available.
    Now that the congloms are under enormous profit and market pressures, I doubt that they'll hire senior people ever again.
   Clients will suffer (as usual), but as the last paragraph aptly notes, “I don’t think anyone at the top is happy about how they are doing business right now, but they don’t have a choice."
    As a matter of fact they do have a choice, but it would be at the expense of their bonuses, so it isn't going to happen.

Bill Huey
Principal
Strategic Communications
Atlanta


Good riddance to 'girls club'
                                                                             Oct
30, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Glad this awful show is cancelled (Fox spikes Kelley's 'girls club':  Television: Quick end to critic-trashed legal eaglette series) .  
   How on earth could the show possibly have cost $1.7 million per episode?  No one was on it who would have gotten a large salary. The sets were static.  
  We're in the wrong end of the business!  Anyone can write bad stuff.
     
Martha Sheridan
Tolbert/Sheridan
Atlanta, GA


AOL's pop-up doubletalk
                                                                             Oct
28, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I read with interest Toni Fitzgerald's article entitled Demise of pop-ups, coming real soon: New media: Stampede kicks in as sites noose pesky ad format.)  
   On balance, the article was a good one, however, let's be clear in regards to America Online.  
    A moratorium on pop-ups?  Not exactly.  
   What AOL's press release communicated was that they were stopping the sale of pop-ups but that they plan to honor commitments to existing advertisers.   What appears to be a movement to give their subscribers what they want is really a clever  PR ploy to placate their customers and cajole them into believing that pop-ups really going to go away.  A half truth.
   When read carefully, one sees that AOL is really not committed to ridding itself of pop-ups.   AOL ,while no longer selling pop-ups evidently will have no problem pushing them on their subscribers just so long as they're used to promote their own company or one of the other sibling companies.
     So while we applaud those companies that have elected to drop pop-up ads, let's be clear that AOL's announcement is just clever PR. 
      Is any one else out there tired of being prompted with a pop-up ad every time we go to sign off the AOL service? 
    I know I am.

David J. Brown
SVP/Director of Media Services
Marsteller Advertising
New York


Your Ethan Alter nails it
                                                                             Oct 1
8, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Ethan Alter's take on "RHD" is right on (Robbery Homicide Div.,' dark, doomed: First-rate CBS copper far bleaker than 'CSI' model).
    Good and thoughtful TV reporting.

Allan Priaulx
Markham/Novell Communications, Ltd.
New York


MSNBC just doesn't get it
                                                                             Oct 1
6, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Your analysis is right on (For MSNBC, back to the drawing board, Expect more changes as makeover sputters.) 
    Uppermost, they don't get it. The DC area sniper is a story they should be all over, but they have studio folk talking--talking when they have a zillion NBC people covering the story on the scene. Imus more than anyone else on MSNBC gets NBC journalists to talk almost off the record which is fascinating. 
    Putting Donahue in Jersey in a little studio is like having a gourmet chief work in McDonald's.  He needs an audience. Moreover, Donahue admitted during a Katie & Matt interview that he doesn't like to call people getting them on the show (Dah?). This interview was on the heels of a similar interview with Al Roker.
    It sure doesn't help you fix MSNBC. They have the strongest cadre of affiliates and don't use them either. 
   In other words, for G.E. and NBC, MSNBC is a pimple on the ___. This is a a fascinating thing. Even with the resources of NBC, the No. 1 network news broadcast in the a.m. and p.m., and having the No. 2 web site, they can't figure out cable.

LOUIS P. KASMAN
 CMC/APR/CBC
Ann Arbor


What's really wrong with 'West Wing'
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Heidi Vogt wrote a very good article ('West Wing' is heading south, Mon Dieu! At hands of 'Bachelor' too! Good grief.)
  
I don't think it's time to panic about "The West Wing." It's a strong show and even my conservative pals watch it. Heidi's article didn't refer to the specific cells within the demo that tuned out "WW" for 'The Bachelor' but I would venture it was F 18-49, which would make sense. 
   What "WW" has to watch out for now is how much more of a decline will occur after Rob Lowe leaves the series later this season. He was part (some say all) of their hunk quota.
   I think NBC can live with second place though. Like Heidi's article mentioned, it's a different mindset between these two shows. If I were at NBC selling "WW,"  that's a key point I'd point out to advertisers.


Bob Jenkins
RLJ Communications
Chevy Chase MD


What's really wrong with 'West Wing'
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I saw your article on 'The West Wing" ('West Wing' is heading south, Mon Dieu! At hands of 'Bachelor' too! Good grief.) and have to comment on the lack of NBC promotional support behind the show. 
    I am an avid fan of the show and have been watching it from the beginning. However, I did not even know when the season premiere was going to be on. 
   Why ? Two reasons.
   Number one, I am a Tivo owner and don't watch live television anymore.
    Number two, I did not see one ad anywhere reminding me of the premiere of the season for the show. If they can't get their core audience to the show, how are they going to maintain or grow their numbers ?
   I don't think they have to sack the President, or change much of the cast, to keep it fresh. There will always be plenty of current events to pull from to write a very good show. 
    What they need to do is reach their audience more effectively and more often and remind them that the show is on.
   Also, since they appear to be competing against reality programming, why not try a reality spin of their own and have "President" Bartlet appear in "newscasts" in other time slots ?

Brian McFadden-DiNicola
Associate Director
Paradysz Matera Digital
New York


Writer needs a ratings lesson
                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I am amazed that Ms. Vogt's reporting on "West Wing" ratings perpetuates the shallow and misguided view of measuring audiences. 
   Even the most junior media buyer understands the importance of demographic and psychographic audience characteristics as critical criteria for reaching a target audience. 
   Perhaps she hasn't noticed the lack of fast food advertising on "West Wing" or maybe she feels a guest shot by the" Osbornes" would remedy the lack of household ratings relative to "Bachelor."  
   A veteran ABC Television sales exec, I used to ask the question when agencies based their budgets on household ratings:  "What kind of households does your client want to reach;  ranch, colonial or perhaps some lovely Tudors?" 

Chris Westerkamp
Apogee Consulting
Los Angeles


Much longer life for paper checks, thank you

                                                                             Oct 1
5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    To paraphrase Mark Twain, Media Life Magazine's October 9 report on the death of paper checks is greatly exaggerated. 
   Paper checks will be with us for a long time because the economics of shifting to digitized checks have not been demonstrated by the Federal Reserve or any other advocate. Legislation to create the legal framework for digitized checks is advancing based on the blind faith that electrons are always cheaper than paper.
   Ironically, this legislation would authorize paper "substitute checks,"
which could be produced from the digitized version of the original check for presentment to the bank on which the check was drawn.
     Instead of eliminating paper, this innovation would increase paper in the U.S. payments system -- hardly a way to save money or trees.
     Much of the case for getting rid of paper checks is based on eliminating check transportation, but that cost is much less than the several billion dollars a year MLM reported. The Federal Reserve recently estimated annual check transportation costs of $200-$250 million per year. 
    Even if paper check volume dropped by half, much of that cost would remain because of the substantial fixed expense of maintaining an overnight delivery capability for the remaining checks.
   Digitizing a check, only to reproduce it a few hours later in another city as a paper substitute check, entails substantial technical problems which will add to payment processing costs. A major supporter of digitized checks, the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization, acknowledge these technical problems in a letter to the Federal Reserve last year. 
   Finally, not only are consumer groups protesting the digitized check legislation, but so too are business groups concerned about increased check fraud.
   While the United States is steadily moving towards electronic payments, the paper check remains a proven and low-cost way of making many types of payments.

Kimberly Hoover
Counsel to AirNet Systems,
 a provider of overnight check transportation
Washington, D.C.


Leave NBC's Thursday to experts
                                                                             Oct 1
2, 2002

Dear Editor:
   Brilliant Robin! (How NBC can fix Thursday night Television: Bold moves are needed. Move 'Friends' to 9 p.m. )
   Now all you have to do is convince CBS to sit there and twiddle its thumbs and not counter-program to keep the time period match-ups exactly the same. Or even worse watch "Survivor" drive the final nail in the coffin of teetering "ER" at 8 p.m.
   NBC is so stupid; why are they paying Zucker a gazillion dollars when there are guys like Robin who can come up with NBC's Thursday night Salvation just like that--and probably do it for half the money?
     Now, any suggestions for Fox's Friday night Robin?

Dave Woodall
Media Director
smith/phillips/dipietro
Yakima, WA


Rocking Robin, right on
                                                                            
Oct 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I think this is very clever and well thought out and would do better than the current line-up and stop the hemorrhaging until NBC development can properly fill the gaps. 
   I hope enough media buyers and planners forward this to NBC.

Bobbi Blair
BBI
Santa Monica

Sorry, John Durham
                                                                             Sept. 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Message to John Durham: I like the honest demonstration of frustration in your column. But you can't blame the cat for chasing the mouse. That's what they do.
    Media types can't be blamed for seeking the best deal. That's how they're evaluated.
    Your beef is really more that there hasn't been acceptance of the efficacy of online advertising. No money in the market leads sellers to desperate measures. And, its the sellers who make performance buys available.
    Sorry, but its not going to change without more pain (shakeout) and/ or change in the basic model.

Bob Rose
Partner/ Director of Media and Marketing
Seiter & Miller Advertising
New York


Right on, John Durham
                                                                             Sept. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
  
  John Durham's commentary yesterday on the pay-per-performance issue for on-line advertisers  (Performance-based thievery, let's call it: Pay-for-clicks proponents are guilty of shoplifting) strikes a very familiar "history repeats itself" chord.
   As the media matures, smart media pros will recognize the value in branding and CPM buys on the web.  The marketplace originally guided buyers to a 70/30 split for performance vs. CPM buys. 
   That will likely come to pass, but not until this economy--which  does have a significant impact on the way we buy--starts swinging in a more confidently positive direction.
    The approach by agencies, for now, is to take the path of least resistance, even though that path leads the client to the wrong place.
     My advice, John: Stick with it. You'll come out on top.

Paul Benjou
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare
New York


Trivializing 9/11
                                                                             August 20, 2002

Dear Editor:
    With all due respect to your opinion about not forgetting the blackout of '77, you trivialize a world event that could be considered the most catastrophic in U.S. history, let alone NYC. ("Lest we forget the blackout of '77/ Commentary: Lessons from watching people behaving badly," by Richard Laermer)
       While not everyone physically viewed our city crumbling, we were ALL affected by 9/11 as New Yorkers and as U.S. citizens.
   A comparison to 9/11 is not a justifiable comparison. This appears to be controversial for controversy's sake.
   Your is a disappointing view of NYC.

Katie Greco
Associate Media Director.
MediaVest
New York

The editor responds: The article was a commentary and as such reflected the author's viewpoint, not that of Media Life. But that said, I must agree with the letter writer that the argument presented in the commentary suffered mightily from a lapse of logic.


Wallenstein attacked, again
                                                                                August 5, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Question: Does Andrew Wallenstein have any idea that Def Leppard WAS NOT A GLAM-HAIR-LIPSTICK WEARING band???
   If he ever really followed the band, he would have realized that the statements he made not only about Def Leppard but about the VH1 movie, "Hysteria," were not only biased by his opinion of what music is supposed to be about but also NON-FACTUAL IN NATURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please do us readers a favor and do not insult our intelligence by having some, over 50, bald, fat, moron write columns about which he has no idea what he is writing about!
Thank you for your time and attention!

Dianna Pisano


Misleading study
                                                                                August 2, 2002

Dear Editor:
  I read and enjoyed today's article titled "As content Improves, more folks are paying." 
   However, I was disappointed with the attached ranking of "Top 25 Sites Ranked by Paid Content Revenue," compiled by comScore Networks in association with the Online Publishers Association.
     According to comScore's methodology, they utilize a "proprietary technology network," tracking SSL transactions among its panel of 1.1 million U.S. internet users.
    This study fails to take into account the fact that a significant portion of purchases for Economist.com subscriptions are offline transactions. 
   Also, due to the international appeal of Economist.com, a significant percentage of our subscription revenue is from non-U.S. customers.
    The title of the ranking is misleading, since it does not mention that this is a US-only study (although the study clearly defines itself as "Online Paid Content - U.S. Market Report").
    The title of the study itself is misleading and seems to have been misinterpreted. By "Online Paid Content," they seem to be referring to people transacting online for content, which is what their methodology supports.  However it is easy to see where people would think this refers to total subscriptions for online content sites.
     In your July 11th article, "Yes, folks will pay for content," you published the "Top 25 Subscription Content Publishers" from the Intermarket Group. We were ranked 19th overall.
    This ranking more accurately reflects Economist.com's position as a market leader in subscription-based content. The ranking published today fails to take into account both online subscriptions transacted offline, and non-U.S. subscriptions. I hope that you may consider this and look forward to reading your next article.

David Grossman
Marketing Executive
Economist.com
New York


Bark! Woof!
                                                                              July 31, 2002

Dear Editor:
    I've been reading Bark! for several years and was tickled to see Jeff Bercovici's well deserved write-up.
 WOOF!

Paul Benjou
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare, Inc
New York


The lonely lot of liberals
                                                                                    July 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
  
  I read your really fun story on the Lone Liberal.  Incidentally, the LL wears a mask because he, like all liberals, is loath to admit it or to truly be identified as a liberal.

Tom McAlevey
Tulsa, OK


Doubtful value of  the PPM
                                                                                    July 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
    
Re: "More folks listen to more radio" (7/23/2002 in Media Life Magazine by Kevin Downey).
   Kevin!! Did you write this article directly from Arbitron's press release?
   Any media planner worth his/her salt knows that the PPM is a nefarious instrument that will, no doubt, cause the over-reporting of radio ratings.
   Why? Because coming into contact with a radio signal does NOT translate into actual listening.
    Example: You and I catch a taxi at 8:45 a.m. at Central Park South.   We have a stimulating conversation all the way to Times Square. 
   Surprise! Even though you are a loyal Don Imus listener (WFAN/660 AM), your PPM registered WSKQ/97.9 FM. 
   Why? Because the cab ride took more than sevenminutes, and that's what the taxi driver had on his radio.
   Advertisers on WSKQ have virtually no chance of reaching you effectively with their spot schedules, but you just got counted in WSKQ's unduplicated audience (cume) anyway.
    You get the picture, I'm sure.

Nancy Haynes
Communications Director
Collins, Haynes & Lully Advertising
Charlotte, NC


The real cost of webcast music

July 22, 2002

Dear Editor:
Have you ever had one of those moments when you see something on paper and say, "Wait a minute, that can't be right!"
     I had one of those moments when I read about KPIG shutting down its webcasting services due to the ".07 cent per song" royalty fee.
   For those of us who work in the broadcast business but don't deal with royalties on a daily (or even lifetime) basis, the numbers just didn't add up for $3,000 in month royalty expenses for KPIG given .07 cent per song.
   On a straight-ahead basis, at .07 cent per song, KPIG could readily expect to pay about $8.73 in royalties per month (approximately 12,840 songs/month times .0007). That's a far cry from $3,000 a month. 
  What isn't being said?
   With a little due diligence, you can always find the missing piece to the puzzle that brings it all together.
   Essentially, for the laymen among us, a royalty is not due for each song played by a webcaster, it is due for each time one person hears one song played by the webcaster. If 1,000 people hear that last song you played, you owe 70 cents. So, it is more accurate to say that webcasters owe .07 cents per song per person listening rather than .07 cent per song.
   I now see what the fuss is over. Thank you!

Laurin Willis
Manager
Client Research Services
WFofR, Inc.
Richmond


History lesson for Jeff

July 2, 2002

Dear Editor:
   
I find myself uncharacteristically compelled to comment on Jeff Bercovici's recent article:  "Send Jann an Issue of Blender/ A likely model for Rolling Stone as it revamps."
 Jeff, as you attempt to dissect the family tree of music and lad magazines, I just couldn't help but offer a brief history lesson.  I hope you'll then see past the recent American imitators that you mistakenly credit as original and set your sights on the truly innovative British magazines that inspired them.
     Your article says, "When Needham talks about creating 'multiple points of entry on each page' and establishing an 'aggressive and forceful' newsstand presence, he is, in effect, describing a music magazine that already exists."  That's correct, except the magazine that already exists is not Blender, it's called Q.  
   Not only is Q the template that Andy Pemberton used for Blender, but Q has also enjoyed a sizable cult following in America among music listeners who have been buying it on American newsstands for nearly 15 years.
    Then Pemberton says, "Without blowing our trumpet too hard, we've come along and said, 'Well, you can present the information like this, and it doesn't necessarily compromise what you're doing.'  It just makes it more enjoyable." 
  He apparently knows that if he DOES blow his trumpet too hard, someone may notice that he's falsely attributing Q's innovations to Blender.  He's obviously figured out that it's easier to let you (and perhaps some of your readers) blow his trumpet -- secure in the knowledge that you have no familiarity with quality international magazines.
    Are you not aware that Pemberton is an ex-editor of Q?  (He passed through Q's ranks long after Q's editorial voice and visual style were developed.) 
You may also not realize that Pemberton reluctantly acknowledged that he copied Q's editorial and visual style in an interview with former Inside.com writer Simon Dumenco.
     Next, you observe, "What makes Blender fun isn't so much the ubiquitous lists, sidebars and charticles as imaginative features like 'Useful Tips from the Stars' and 'Dear Superstar'."
    Have you ever visited an international newsstand, Jeff?  If you had you might recognize that 'Dear Superstar' is Blender's imitation of Q's long-running 'Cash For Questions.'
    I could go on to point out several other Blender column concepts that are lifted directly from Q's pages (not to mention their entire reviews section, including the ratings system), but I won't.
    Allow me one last observation (you are, after all, writing for "public" consumption).  Your myopia seems to extend beyond the music titles to the lad mags, as well. 
     I seem to recall more than a few articles where you identify FHM as a Maxim imitator.  In fact, FHM launched in Europe in 1994, a full three years prior to the launch of Maxim.  
   In a now-familiar Dennis Publishing strategy (i.e., Blender imitating Q), once Dennis witnessed FHM's unrivaled success in Europe (and now in 15 countries worldwide), they launched Maxim and eventually brought it to America.
    If imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, then Dennis Publishing has flattered Emap to no end.  By the way, are you on Dennis' payroll?
    I've worked in the advertising/media planning/print world for over 14 years now, and am a huge fan of magazines.  Despite my years of industry experience, though, I do not purport to be a magazine expert such as Samir Husni.  But it doesn't take an expert like him to spot erroneous information.  In the interest of journalistic integrity, as well as your professional reputation, I would think you'd take it upon yourself to get your facts straight before putting them out there for all the world to see.

Shayne Ireland


Trouble with ad spending data

June 26, 2002

Dear Editor:
    
The problem with the reliability of any spending estimate generated by Competitive Media Reporting, including their regular reports given to subscribers to the service is what they use as cost benchmarks.  CMR uses rate card for print (who pays rate card, nowadays?) and if I'm not mistaken SQAD and other cost per point services for electronic media.  They don't account for the negotiability of individual media outlets.  
     This means two things.  CMR overestimates media spending considerably by using benchmarks without factoring in rate negotiation as a variable.  And unless two marketers are running the exact same schedule, CMR's spending reports have limited value as even a relative comparison tool (Despite spending the same benchmark amount, Company A's schedule may be intrinsically less expensive than Company B's, if A's media contains greater weight with properties discounting more).

Roy Moskowitz
CEO
Reciprocal Results


Not the first woman rock editor

June 24, 2002

Dear Editor:
  
  I was interested to read Jeff Bercovici's story about Sia Michel being the "first" woman to edit a national rock magazine.
    It'd be pretty bad if there hadn't been a woman in such a position until 2002. As it is, there were several before her.
   I became editor of Creem Magazine, the national rock magazine, in 1978. But you could make a good argument that I wasn't the first woman to edit a rock title; Gloria Stavers was the incredibly well-known editor of 16 Magazine way back in the early to mid '60s. That beats out Ms. Michel by 40 years.
   My Creem colleague Bill Holdship pointed out the incredible feat you ascribe to Ms. Michel, and we both had a good laugh.

 Susan Whitall


A nasty word or two for Wallenstein

June 22, 2002

Dear Editor:
    It's been a year or so but I just wanted to comment on Andrew Wallenstein's review of my now-defunct talk show, "A.J. After Hours."
    Whoever this is....and I hope you have a direct line to Andrew: Can you please tell him to go fuck himself. Thank you so much. 
   I can't wait to meet the pussy out one night and smack his mouth while we discuss his pussy comments about my show.
What is it, Andrew? Does your girlfriend think I'm cute? Or, worse even, does you boyfriend think I'm cute?
    Please, please, please tell him to go fuck himself or if he has any balls to please email me directly. Fuckin assface.

Truly

AJ Benza


In defense of SmartPlus

June 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
       I enjoyed reading Mr. Everitt's June 18 article "At last, cheaper media buying software." However his reference to our company, Marketing Resources Plus (formerly Media Management Plus). might lead your readers to believe that we do not serve small agencies. 
    Our media buying system, SmartPlus, is used by over 1,000 advertising agencies ranging from $2 to $400 million in media billings. We scale our license fees based on agency size, the number of markets they buy and the number of workstation they use. An entry level system can start as low as $3,000.  
    Although nearly all of our clients subscribe to ratings, some do not.  SmartPlus can operate as a standalone buying system or interface with popular media planning and agency accounting systems.
    With SmartPlus our clients start at any size and grow at their own pace
without the time and cost of relearning a system. Some of our clients have
grown with us for over twenty years.
Thank you.

James Paull

President
Marketing Resources Plus (MRP)
a VNU, Inc. Company


Right on regarding BO $s

May 21, 2002

Dear Editor:
   I am in total agreement with the author about the absurdity of using box office figures in estimating anything but a movie's financial success. The gremlin known as inflation distorts the use of gross receipts as a benchmark to compare the popularity of film from not only different eras, but even from year to year. What I would really like to know is how many fannies are in the seats. How does "The Attack of the Clones" compare with the original "Star Wars" in terms of movie goers actually paying to see it in movie theaters and how each ranks among all time blockbusters in audience quantity, not box office? To put things in perspective a movie released in an era of $10 movie tickets needs only 5 percent of the audience of a movie released when the price was 50 cents to equal its gross sales. Why doesn't someone publish audience figures? 

Roy Moskowitz 
CEO 
Reciprocal Results 

 


 

Very silly 'Battlebots' lawsuit

May 14, 2002

Dear Editor:
  
Hello, I just wanted to take a few seconds and go on record to say that whoever took the advice of the moronic spin doctor/legal advisor that instructed the creators of "Battlebots" to sue Bud Light and DDB for the creation of the Superbowl commercial, should be run down by rabid goats. While I'm guessing that since the suit is to force Bud Light not to run the spots instead of for monetary gain, this was strictly a publicity stunt.....probably covered up by some whining story about intellectual property.
   Truth be told, the creators of "Battlebots" should have kissed the ass of the ad director that created that spot and sent a basket of cash to the client that approved it! That 30-second spot probably did more for the "Battlebots" brand and ratings than all of the billions of cross-network promos Comedy Central has run over the past year or so combined. The creators should have taken it as flattery that a gigantic advertiser like Bud Light thought enough of their creation to include it in a campaign that undoubtedly has cost them a pretty penny......probably more spent than any promotion that "Battlebots" will ever be likely to see again.
    If the creators had half a brain, they would have contacted Bud Light immediately to propose a series of commercials including "Battlebots." I know that the original one was great.....every guy I know loves it and they both have similar targets. Guys that like beer and smashing things up. So, Kudos to the creators.....they really hit one home with this one.

Jessica Acker
Media Planner

 


Youth appeal of Olympics

Feb. 12, 2002

Dear Editor:
   
The NBC O&O's and key Affiliates are pushing the Olympics hard. Additionally, after work on Sunday I stopped into a graduate-student-type pub here in Ann Arbor, and you would think the Super Bowl combined with University of Michigan/Michigan State Basketball was on the TVs--very involved and very exciting audience for X-Game-type events.

Louis P. Kasman
CMC/APR/CBC
Ann Arbor, Michigan


Why we need Relix

Feb. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Music industry executives love blaming Napster and similar services for anemic sales, but the current vapid lineup of boy bands and Britney Spears clones have more to do with it. Record company moguls seem to think that teenagers listen to the Back Street Boys or Britney, but it is eight-year-old girls that do.
     Teenagers wouldn't get caught dead listening to such uncool stuff (except for some musical nerds), the same way that former David Cassidy and Donnie Osmond fans renounced their former allegiance to these performers after they reached puberty during the heyday of FM rock.
    Teens have more disposable income to buy CDs than tweens, but they won't buy the TRL pabulum fed to them.
    Putting marketing dollars behind the type of bands Relix covers would help revive a stagnant music industry.
    Teenage taste-makers would begin buying music again (these taste-makers have allowed performers with little or no commercial airplay to produce platinum selling albums and sell out concerts) and record sales and concert revenue would increase geometrically.

Roy Moskowitz
CEO
Reciprocal Results

Feb. 11, 2002

Dear Editor:
    Just read Jeff Bercovici's article on the "all new and improved" Relix magazine and couldn't agree with his perspective on jam bands more. Both the musicianship and the lack of trendy hype are becoming increasingly refreshing. I forwarded his article to five different people, all of whom are going to now check out a copy of Relix!

Christine Murray

'Port Charles' fallacy

Feb. 4, 2002

Dear Editor:
     Regarding the comments made by Felicia Minei Behr of ABC about reaching the young demographic in your February 4th piece on "Port Charles," this type of thinking is going to be the downfall of the media and advertising industries if they don't wake up soon to a few facts.
  
  The Baby Boom generation is very likely to be offended at the perception of being as set in their ways as their parents at the same age. The "Greatest Generation" didn't grow up in an environment filled with constant advertising messages and more brand competition than ever as the Boomers have.
     While the media gloats over the increasing numbers of Boomers who are getting the AARP letter every year, it ignores the fact that Boomers are better educated than their parents and have experienced far greater media exposure to more vehicles than their parents did. Cable TV is enjoying record penetration.
     Contrary to computer industry propaganda, Boomers own PCs, work with them and are on the internet. Unlike most of their parents, Boomers will not be content to sit by the fire in a rocking chair, using the same brands their parents used or even ones they used themselves when they were in the 18-34 age group. They have more choices in every aspect of their lives than their parents did and they will continue to exercise their freedom of choice.
     Today's 50-year-old is not the 50-year-old of 20 years ago. S/he is always learning to keep up and to get ahead. Many are starting new careers, getting advanced degrees, or opening their own businesses for the first time.
     The times we live in necessitate an open-mindedness previously thought to be the sole property of extreme youth. That means a higher incidence of brand trial and a greater propensity to consume new products than the previous generation.
     Considering also that people 50+ have greater disposable income than an 18-24 year old, it is foolish in the extreme to ignore this audience. Baby Boomers are just as likely to buy new cars, new furniture, appliances, and new food products as anyone younger. Ignore them at your own risk.


Sheila Clemett
Freelance Media Supervisor
New York, N.Y.


The real problems with online buying

Jan. 23, 2002

Dear Editor:
   
The reason why online media buying platforms for traditional media have not taken off (An online classroom for placing spot buys) is not because of the computer skill level of the buyers and sellers. Negotiations require give and take discourse.
    It not a matter of a media outlet listing rate card prices and the buyer accepting it, which is the only way an online buying system could work. And I'm sure the individual media companies would prefer a non-negotiated environment. But that's not what happens in the real world.
    Strong negotiators often need several conversations and proposals to receive a media offer that remotely meets their objectives. And strong negotiators deal with senior staff, not generic sales reps who have no authority to cut the deals they need.
    Some level of give and take can be achieved via instant messaging, but it would not be a time saver. Most people speak much more rapidly than they can type.


Roy Moskowitz
CEO
Reciprocal Results



Letters To The Editor from previous years:

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