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AMI’s Distribution Services Inc. Names New CEO

John Swider promoted to president and chief executive.

American Media Inc.’s in-store magazine merchandising and distribution unit, Distribution Services Inc., has promoted John Swider to president and CEO, replacing Mike Porche, who is leaving the company.

Swider [pictured] joined AMI when the company acquired Globe Marketing Services, for which he served as president. “John has a long background with similar responsibility, including production and transportation into the wholesale network,” DSI chairman Mike Roscoe tells AD. “His experience will flow easily into his new role at DSI.”

As chief executive, Swider will be responsible for all DSI operations, including newsstand circulation, national distributor negotiations and sales analysis. Porche, who has been with DSI for more than 25 years, will remain with the company through the end of the year.

More Work Needed to Improve Newsstand

According to Roscoe, a “perfect storm” of circumstances have afflicted newsstand performance over the last several months, including the economic recession, the shut-down of Anderson News, market saturation (especially among celebrity titles) and competition from non-print media. “The bad economy has had people spending less in supermarkets and other retail locations,” says Roscoe. “In magazine sales, there is a fair share attributed to planned purchase, but a lot has been impulse buying, which we’re not seeing as much of lately.”

Roscoe also attributes the decline in newsstand sales (in the last two years industry newsstand revenue of audited consumer magazines fell to an annual level of approximately $2.7 billion—off about 16 percent) to the contraction of magazine retailers, including a number of independent retailers. He says there were approximately 175,000 magazine dealers in the market 10 years ago. Today, he says, the number is closer to 100,000.

“We’ve got to work to regain some of the lost dealers and lost sales space,” Roscoe says. “I think we’re pretty much over the wholesale disruption.  We all need to be more careful about cover prices—they’ve risen too much too fast. The time when someone was buying two or three or more magazine at once is over.”

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