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New York—At today's Fulfillment Management Association luncheon panel featuring executives from the leading fulfillment providers, moderator Joe Furgiuele, founder and president of FCI, presented an FMA member survey that showed circ executives are managing with some difficulty the multiplatform marketing environment. For the four providers represented on the panel, the data that both supports and comes in from this same environment remains a key business development issue.
There were 42 responses to Furgiuele's FMA survey, but they represented 205 titles and an average of 46 million in circulation. Among the challenges respondents gravitated toward was monetizing and managing multiple editions. And in response to fulfillment service ratings, respondents generally indicated that their bureaus were getting them what they needed but there's still lots of work to be done. Nevertheless, the survey did not reveal any burning issues, concluded Furgiuele.
The panelists—Palm Coast president and CEO Mike Duloc; SFG president and COO Tony Pytlak; ESP COO Michael Jordan; and CDS Global CEO Malcolm Netburn—noted that new magazine startup business, with a few exceptions, is largely stagnant. "We're not seeing lots of initiatives," said Netburn.
Duloc said, however, that there has been an increase in SIP activity, with many publishers repurposing content on both the subscription and newsstand sides. "New titles are becoming fewer and fewer, but we're seeing more SIPs," he said.
In terms of file sizes, three of the four panelist companies saw decreases. CDS managed to grow its file size, but Netburn was mostly at a loss for how to explain it. He theorized that as newsstand performance continued to decline, publishers were turning to the subscription side of the operation to meet ratebase.
Traditional sources, again with a few exceptions, have largely been replaced by digital marketing efforts. Pytlak said that there are pockets where these sources are still quite successful, but a developing trend among his clients is an increase in business intelligence usage to reinvigorate traditional sources. Duloc agreed, and said "more frequent, efficient mailings are in."
As expected, digital editions and customer data were big issues. The panelists used a range of proprietary and third-party methods to compare customer data across platforms, and Netburn and Jordan dueled once again on whether fulfillment providers should "own" the data or not. "As a fulfillment house I want to own as much of the data I can," said Jordan, adding, "To an extent, this is a bigger company/smaller company argument. CDS has some massive customers."
Netburn took the position that fulfillment providers shouldn't and event can't own the data, but should rather help facilitate customers' use of it. "It's an atomized world out there. There are lots of places to get data and you should use your fulfillment company to do it all—we don't own the end-to-end."
The Apple/Amazon customer data puzzle remains to be solved. In the meantime, fulfillment providers are helping their partners funnel magazine app and digital edition readers through other channels where possible. "That's the challenge. [Apple, Amazon, et al] don't want us in their systems, but what we want to do is direct customers through other forums," said Duloc.
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