Memo Pad: Woolmark Goes Social… Smiling Times…Condé Nast to Disclose Numbers

How happy is general manager Denise Warren about early paywall results for the New York Times’ Web site?

The “We Love Wool” Web site.

WOOLMARK GOES SOCIAL: Australian Wool Innovation has launched The Woolmark Co.’s first global campaign with newly appointed social media agency Circul8. The first element of the campaign is the Woolmark “Find Fashion by Feelings” look book, which lets people post their favorite wool outfits at into one of 12 “feelings” categories and vote for the outfits they like the most. The winning outfit will win a $12,000 holiday and wool experience.

Rob Langtry, Woolmark’s global marketing officer, said, “Find Fashion by Feelings is a kick-start to our social media strategy which will become a key element of our ongoing global marketing campaign. Circul8 has captured the essence of Woolmark’s objective to drive awareness and demand for Australian merino wool through this innovative and inspired campaign.”

This story first appeared in the July 22, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

People can visit the look book and search for outfits by emotion. For example, “Find Happy Looks” returns a colorful selection of fashion from around the globe, while “Find Dark Looks” shows the moodier side of wardrobes. The public can vote for their favorite look and all voters go into weekly draw to win an “Emu Australia” wool prize pack worth $400.

The “We Love Wool” Facebook page,, launched in early June, has grown to more than 15,000 fans. The “We Love Wool” Facebook fan page provides consumers, retailers and designers a touch-point to connect on all things wool.

For Woolmark, the campaign continues a tradition of quality in design. In April, the company’s 1964-designed brand mark was awarded “Top logo of all time” by Creative Review magazine. AWI is the marketing and product development umbrella organization for Australian wool growers.

— Arthur Friedman

SMILING TIMES: How happy is general manager Denise Warren about early paywall results for the New York Times’ Web site?

“Very, very pleased,” she said on a second-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

Is that all?

“Extremely happy,” she said later on, before repeating that she was “very, very pleased.”

The Times reported Thursday that, from mid-March to the end of June, it had 224,000 paid subscribers for its Web site. The results — Warren’s glee notwithstanding — are a very solid start. Warren said that most subscribers have bought into the Times’ cheapest digital package — unlimited access to the Web site and smartphone for $15 a month —and conceded that sales have slowed after an “outstanding launch in the beginning.” She did not provide details.

In addition to paid subscribers, the Times said it has 57,000 digital subscriptions to e-readers like the Kindle and an additional 100,000 readers who are getting free subscriptions sponsored by Lincoln through the end of the year.

Web traffic wasn’t greatly affected despite the metered system. Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson said that the Times’ Web site had about 33 million unique visitors a month in the second quarter, “which is generally in line with the 11-month average leading up to subscriptions.” She conceded that page views declined but said that it was less than internal projections. She did not elaborate.

Importantly, digital advertising for the Times Co.’s News Media

Group went up 15.5 percent in the second quarter. Overall, digital advertising now represents 28 percent of the total advertising pie for the Times Co., an increase of about 2 percent year-over-year.

Noticeably absent from the Times earnings call was any mention of the Times Magazine group. Back in the first quarter, Robinson boasted “double-digit” ad page gains for Hugo Lindgren’s redesigned Sunday Times Magazine and Sally Singer’s T. In the second quarter, the Times magazines fell 4.5 percent in ad pages, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Overall, the Times’ second-quarter results painted an otherwise familiar picture: the Times had a net loss of $119 million, which is due to a $161 million writedown of assets within the News Media Group. Revenue was down 2 percent to $576 million and advertising revenue fell 4 percent to $302 million. Circulation revenue was flat at $234 million.


NUMBERS, NUMBERS, NUMBERS: Condé Nast on Thursday became the first magazine publisher to say it will disclose comprehensive digital sales numbers for the first half of the year. The publisher said it would release single-copy digital sales and digital subscription figures to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The numbers will be released in August.

The announcement is a breakthrough for media watchers who want a thorough record of how magazines have been selling on tablets such as the iPad. It’s been a challenge to fully measure how magazines have been performing since ABC does not require publishers to release digital-only sales numbers. So far, publishers have been inconsistent in what they do or do not disclose. For instance, Wired, which released single-copy sales numbers from June 2010 to December 2010, stopped releasing figures to the ABC Rapid Report for all of this year; The New Yorker, which has been on the iPad since October, has never disclosed digital single-copy sales.

Single-copy sales, however, only paint a limited picture. Now that digital subscriptions are available — the one thing publishers said was necessary to make tablets a real business since single-copy results have been poor — all eyes will be on those sales. But since subscriptions for Condé titles started on the iPad in June, there will only be one month’s worth of iPad subscription data for its magazines on it: GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Glamour, Self, Allure, Golf Digest and Wired. (Brides began selling digital subscriptions in July for the iPad.)

So why has Condé decided to be so open about this? Condé Nast consumer marketing chief Monica Ray said that “from the beginning, we’ve always intended to be completely transparent.

“I’m thrilled with our results,” she continued. “I’m sure that has something to do with my impetus to put all of this into the statement. It’s also part of our business, so of course we would put it on there — why wouldn’t we put it on there?”

When asked why Condé hasn’t been consistent over the last year with how or when it discloses figures, she said that it was waiting for the subscription model.

Ray also said that the company has made no decision on whether it will disclose data more frequently than its statement to ABC, which is released twice a year.

It also appears that Condé Nast may not go it alone.

“We, too, plan to do that,” a Hearst spokeswoman told WWD. (Hearst had a subscription deal with the iPad starting in July, so that will not figure into its data for the first half of the year.)

Time Inc. was less definitive.

“We’re working closely with ABC on developing the best way to analyze tablet data,” said a Time Inc. spokeswoman.

— J.K.

NEW AT NICOLE: Allison Hodge joined Nicole Miller as vice president of communications and marketing, succeeding Eric Delph, who has left the company. Hodge was previously a managing director at HL Group, where she worked with such brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Rachel Roy and Halston. At Nicole Miller, she will spearhead areas such as public relations and advertising, and report to both Miller and president and chief executive officer Bud Konheim.


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