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Meredith sees a future for new magazines, particularly tied to a celebrity

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Meredith is drawing from a well of celebrities and influencers to subsidize its print business. Already this year Meredith has announced the launches of two new celebrity-led titles: Reveal by Drew and Jonathan Scott, with the stars of the HGTV show “The Property Brothers,” as well as a new as-yet untitled magazine helmed by Food Network star Ayesha Curry. That makes a grand total of five personality magazines for Meredith.

Doug Olson, the president of Meredith Magazines, said these celebrity titles are consumer-revenue plays. While the other titles under Meredith’s umbrella tend to be advertising focused, the goal for the celebrity titles is to give readers something of high quality and relevant enough to their interests so they will pay the cover price of $9.99 or more, he said. (The newsstand price for other Meredith titles is lower than that.)

This represents the analog version of a digital paywall, Olson said. Building magazines around people who already have significant social media followings, commerce businesses and television programs makes it easier to sell those magazines, he said. But publishers can find it challenging to diversify their relationships with consumers beyond print ventures.

Curry’s new quarterly magazine will hit newsstands in May. With an initial press run of 400,000 copies and a cover price of $9.99, her magazine will tap a mold to that’s been used for other Meredith’s celebrity titles: It will appear quarterly and be sold exclusively on newsstands. Then if it proves successful enough, the magazine will be marketed as a subscription product, like Martha Stewart Living or Magnolia Journal (which features “Fixer-Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines). As of June 30, 2019, Magnolia Journal had more than 890,000 subscribers and Martha Stewart Living over 1,980,000 subscribers, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Some of Meredith’s noncelebrity titles such as People, Parents and Better Homes & Gardens each had more than 3.1 million, 2 million and 7.5 million subscribers, respectively.

In 2019 Meredith sold at newsstands 19 million copies of its special quarterly magazines (including Magnolia Journal) for $9.99 or higher, Olson said. Celebrity partners earn a royalty based on the profit made from their magazine sales, though Meredith declined to share hard figures on the profit shares.

“It’s a meaningful part of our business,” Olson said.

Parent company Meredith Corporation reported a total revenue of $3.2 billion for the fiscal year that ended on  June 30, 2019. The company noted then that 46% of the national media group’s total revenue came from consumer-related revenue, which includes magazine subscriptions, sales of products and brand licensing.

Not all celebrity titles end up being successful as subscription products. In January the Meredith magazine previously known as Rachael Ray Every Day (after Food Network chef Rachael Ray) was rebranded. This magazine is now called Rachael Ray in Season and will be available only on newsstands once a quarter (instead of 10 issues being sent to subscribers).

For Meredith to capitalize on a celebrity partnership beyond a print tie-in, the two parties would have to enter into another agreement, Olson said. The challenge for a publisher is to find celebrities with a large enough following to drive newsstand sales, yet these individuals often have their own pre-existing commerce business or video presence.

Olson said one possibly for Meredith to take a celebrity brand beyond the print context lies with Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have a new television network slated to launch in October. “We’re hoping to be their partner there, too,” he said. And with Drew and Jonathan Scott of “Property Brothers” fame, one idea would be to extend their brand into digital platforms, said Olson, adding that he could also envision Meredith’s becoming involved with an extension of Curry’s brand into video or digital ventures.

“We’re looking all the time to take the next step,” Olson said. “But if some of these things are never multi-platform for us, they will be for our partner. And we’re OK with just the print platform.”

Ryan Stern, co-founder of influencer marketing agency Collectively, said about celebrities and up-and-coming influencers that “people are excited and curious to follow the people they care about” and want in-person interactions with them. One way for Meredith to make its celebrity print products stand out as well as add another revenue stream is to create experiential or meet-and greet opportunities for readers. But Stern noted that navigating celebrity schedules can be tricky and the ability to scale up such businesses can be difficult.

Beca Alexander, president of influencer marketing agency Socialyte, said other publishers such as Condé Nast or Hearst might find it possible to create robust magazine brands around influencers. This “would drive success because it’s something new and interesting.”

Alexander added, “A lot of influencers are going to launch their own product lines at some point and they’re going to have to differentiate; it’s a crowded and oversaturated space.”

Said Alexander: “I’m surprised that no one has tried to launch their own Goop yet.”

Photo courtesy of Meredith.

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Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya and more encourage fans to register to vote

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The Canadian Press

‘Unfathomable’: US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, by far the highest in the world, hitting the once-unimaginable threshold six weeks before an election that is certain to be a referendum in part on President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis.“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher, eight months after the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation, with its state-of-the-art laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medical supplies.The number of dead is equivalent to a 9-11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.And it is still climbing. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in. A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until 2021.“The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said on CNN.The bleak milestone was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.In an interview Tuesday with a Detroit TV station, Trump boasted of doing an “amazing” and “incredible” job against the virus.And in a prerecorded speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he demanded that Beijing be held accountable for having “unleashed this plague onto the world.” China’s ambassador rejected the accusations as baseless.On Twitter, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said, “It didn’t have to be this bad.”“It’s a staggering number that’s hard to wrap your head around,” he said. “There’s a devastating human toll to this pandemic — and we can’t forget that.”For five months, America has led the world by far in sheer numbers of confirmed infections — nearly 6.9 million as of Tuesday — and deaths. The U.S. has less than 5% of the globe’s population but more than 20% of the reported deaths.Brazil is No. 2 with about 137,000 deaths, followed by India with approximately 89,000 and Mexico with around 74,000. Only five countries — Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Spain and Brazil — rank higher in COVID-19 deaths per capita.“All the world’s leaders took the same test, and some have succeeded and some have failed,” said Dr. Cedric Dark, an emergency physician at Baylor College of Medicine in hard-hit Houston. “In the case of our country, we failed miserably.”Black and Hispanic people and American Indians have accounted for a disproportionate share of the deaths, underscoring the economic and health care disparities in the U.S.Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 31 million people and is closing in fast on 1 million deaths, with nearly 967,000 lives lost, by Johns Hopkins’ count, though the real numbers are believed to be higher because of gaps in testing and reporting.For the U.S., it wasn’t supposed to go this way.When the year began, the U.S. had recently garnered recognition for its readiness for a pandemic. Health officials seemed confident as they converged on Seattle in January to deal with the country’s first known case of the coronavirus, in a 35-year-old Washington state resident who had returned from visiting his family in Wuhan, China.On Feb. 26, Trump held up pages from the Global Health Security Index, a measure of readiness for health crises, and declared, “The United States is rated No. 1 most prepared.”It was true. The U.S. outranked the 194 other countries in the index. Besides its labs, experts and strategic stockpiles, the U.S. could boast of its disease trackers and plans for rapidly communicating lifesaving information during a crisis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was respected around the world for sending help to fight infectious diseases.But monitoring at airports was loose. Travel bans came too late. Only later did health officials realize the virus could spread before symptoms show up, rendering screening imperfect. The virus also swept into nursing homes and exploited poor infection controls, claiming more than 78,000 lives.At the same time, gaps in leadership led to shortages of testing supplies. Internal warnings to ramp up production of masks were ignored, leaving states to compete for protective gear.Trump downplayed the threat early on, advanced unfounded notions about the behaviour of the virus, promoted unproven or dangerous treatments, complained that too much testing was making the U.S. look bad, and disdained masks, turning face coverings into a political issue.On April 10, the president predicted the U.S. wouldn’t see 100,000 deaths. That milestone was reached May 27.Nowhere was the lack of leadership seen as more crucial than in testing, a key to breaking the chain of contagion.“We have from the very beginning lacked a national testing strategy,” Nuzzo said. “For reasons I can’t truly fathom, we’ve refused to develop one.”Sandy Brown of Grand Blanc, Michigan, called the death toll “gut-wrenching.” Her husband of 35 years and their 20-year-old son — Freddie Lee Brown Jr. and Freddie Lee Brown III — died of COVID-19 just days apart in March, when there were fewer than 4,000 recorded deaths in the U.S.“The thing that really gets to me is … if things had been done properly, we could have put a lid on this,” said Brown, who has no other children. “Now it’s just unbelievable. It’s devastating.”The real number of dead from the crisis could be significantly higher: As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the U.S. from all causes during the first seven months of 2020, according to CDC figures. The death toll from COVID-19 during the same period was put at about 150,000 by Johns Hopkins.Researchers suspect some coronavirus deaths were overlooked, while other deaths may have been caused indirectly by the crisis, by creating such turmoil that people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease were unable or unwilling to get treatment.Dark, the emergency physician at Baylor, said that before the crisis, “people used to look to the United States with a degree of reverence. For democracy. For our moral leadership in the world. Supporting science and using technology to travel to the moon.”“Instead,” he said, “what’s really been exposed is how anti-science we’ve become.”___Associated Press writers Kelli Kennedy in Miami and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed to this story.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press

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30 Awkward Celebrity Gifting Pictures

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Updated 17 minutes ago. Posted 25 minutes ago

My favorite genre of celebrity pictures: the incredibly awkward gifting picture.

At certain award shows, there are these things called “gifting suites” where celebrities can go and pose with products, usually in exchange for getting them for free. The pictures are almost always iconically awkward, but hey, who can blame you? Everyone loves free shit.

1.

The Jonas Brothers with jumbo bottles of hairspray.

2.

Selena Gomez with a bottle of Omega-3 pills.

3.

Rihanna with a tiny guitar.


Mark Sullivan / WireImage

4.

Big Sean and some Hot Pockets.


Mark Sullivan / WireImage

5.

Hilary Duff and a bottle of soup.


Jamie Mccarthy / WireImage

6.

Pete Wentz and a Bratz doll.

7.

Rihanna and some tins of popcorn.

8.

Miley Cyrus and some spray cleaner.

9.

Dolly Parton and Crest Whitestrips.


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

10.

Avril Lavigne and Spanx.


Getty Images/Rebecca Sapp

11.

Frankie Muniz and a webcam.


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

12.

Viola Davis and some sort of scrubber.


Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

13.

Demi Lovato and a yoga mat.


Charley Gallay / Getty Images

14.

Fergie and a travel mug.


Rodrigo Varela / Getty Images

15.

Fergie and the complete Nutrisystem set.


Rodrigo Varela / Getty Images

16.

Jordin Sparks, Jason Derulo, and a tweezer.


Craig Barritt / Getty Images

17.

Neil Patrick Harris with a tiny remote control helicopter.

18.

Tina Fey and Oscillococcinum.


Charley Gallay / Getty Images

19.

The Jonas Brothers and a Roomba.

20.

Tina Fey with a juicer and some luggage.


Rebecca Sapp / Getty Images

21.

Sarah Paulson and Emergen-C.


Jesse Grant / Getty Images

22.

Jane Krakowski and toothpaste.


Charley Gallay / Getty Imags

23.

Aaron Paul and a large bottle of vodka.


Michael Buckner / Getty Images

24.

Aaron Paul and a random dress.


Becky Sapp / Getty Images

25.

Al Roker and some stylish jeans.


Charley Gallay / Getty Images

26.

Tim McGraw and some French biscuits.


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

27.

Ashley Tisdale and a DVD player.


Charley Gallay / Getty Images

28.

Anna Kendrick with a gift certificate to the Ritz Carlton.


John Sciulli / Getty Images

29.

Jorge Garcia and a small handbag.


Kevin Parry / Getty Images

30.

And Lady Gaga with a Sodastream.


Mark Von Holden / Getty Images

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Raveena Tandon welcomes a ‘clean up’ after Bollywood celebrities are named in drug probe

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At a point when the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is actively probing a drug nexus in Bollywood, actor Raveena Tandon on Tuesday welcomed a ‘clean up’ and said it ‘will help our young, future generations.’ The 45-year-old star took to Twitter and urged that the dealers and suppliers must be punished. She tweeted, “It was high time for clean up to happen. Very welcome! Will help our young/future generations. Start from here, surely, proceed to all sectors. Uproot it from its core. Punish the Guilty, users, the dealers/suppliers. The profiting Big Guys on the take, who give it a blind eye and ruin people.”

Earlier in the day, NCB, which is probing the drug case linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death investigation summoned Bollywood talent agency KWAN Agency’s CEO Dhruv Chitgopekar, Head Talent Manager Jaya Saha and Karishma to join the ongoing investigation. Karishma handles Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone’s account.

The NCB has also summoned Shruti Modi, former business manager of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, to join the investigation as well. All four people have been asked to be present at the NCB office in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Previously, the NCB had detained five persons in connection with three separate drug busts, one of which is linked with the drugs case related to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, NCB official said on September 18. (ANI)

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