Circ Profits Drive Hoffman Media to Fast Growth

first_img“The company is highly focused on circulation profitability, so we have never been in the business of growing rate base to abnormal and unhealthy levels just to gain additional advertising revenues,” says Eric Hoffman, executive vice president and COO. Hoffman says the company drives close to 80 percent of its revenues from subscriptions and newsstand sales.Headed by president and CEO (and FOLIO: 40 inductee) Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, Hoffman Media launched in the early 1980s with titles including Cross Stitch, Southern Lady and Tea Time. After launching 725,000-circ Cooking with Paula Deen in 2005, Hoffman Media struck up a joint-venture with Hearst in 2007 to relaunch Victoria magazine (paid circ base of 250,000), and launched Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade (also carries a paid circ of 250,000), a bimonthly title, last year. (Paula Deen and Sandra Lee are both hosts on the Food Network.)Hoffman says the company plans to bump Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade to a 300,000+ circ by mid-2011. And while he declined to offer any specific figures, Hoffman says the company was “on budget” through the first half in terms of revenue and expects to post “double digit” growth through the end of the year.“We believe that if we deliver premium content at a premium price, and let each title grow into its natural circulation level then our business will develop stronger and more stable earnings over time,” Hoffman says.  Online5%  Print10%  Subscriptions40%  Hoffman Media Revenue Breakdowncenter_img  Newsstand35% It’s no secret that managing a magazine publishing business is no easy feat, especially since the recession that rocked the economy hit in late 2008. But despite the massive hurdles, some companies are more than managing to stay afloat.This week, Inc. magazine released its annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S. In the media category, Penthouse publisher the FriendFinder Networks ranked number one among magazine publishers on the list. In addition to the magazine, FriendFinder is known best for its sexually-oriented online social networks.Coming in second among magazine publishing companies this year is Birmingham, Alabama-based Hoffman Media, the publisher of 11 magazines including Cooking with Paula Deen (the company ranked #38 in the media category and #3,102 overall). According to Inc., Hoffman increased its revenues 65 percent from $25 million in 2006 to $41.3 million in 2009. Revenues were up 5 percent last year compared to 2008. Meanwhile, EBITDA jumped 35 percent.  Events, ancillary products10%last_img read more

JBLM to Trim Civilian Workforce to Reflect Army Restructuring

first_imgJoint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) plans to eliminate about 900 civilian and contractor positions, or 5.5 percent of its existing civilian workforce, over the next two years, according to Army data released to the Tacoma News Tribune.The news comes on the heels of the Army’s announcement in July about its plans to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018. Officials at the time said the restructuring would be accompanied by civilian cutbacks, but as recently as last November the Army said it had not yet determined how many civilian employees would be affected.The Army’s latest restructuring is slated to eliminate 1,251 soldiers at the installation in the South Sound region of Washington state.Leaders at JBLM have been meeting to figure out how they’ll cope with hundreds fewer workers to support the installation’s day-to-day operations. Those reductions, along with additional staffing cuts expected through 2022, “will fundamentally change how we operate on base,” said Greta Powell, chief of the base’s resource management office.“It’s bleak,” Powell said.The Army plans to achieve the cutbacks primarily through attrition and retirements, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino.As the Army draws down from two wars, it will need fewer civilians to run its installations, according to the story. One reason is that some functions filled by civilians now can be handled by soldiers, such as gate security. In other cases, the shrinking number of military personnel will require a smaller installation support staff.“This isn’t a crisis or a catastrophe,” said Tom Knight, the base’s chief of staff. “This is an opportunity to reassess ourselves to change the way we’re doing business here for a lot of the right reasons. We have much more of a home-station military right now,” Knight said.In advance of the cuts, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in July directed state agencies to develop a plan for helping service members and civilian workers find new careers. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Apple defends controversial battery certification warning message

first_img $999 $999 Originally published on Aug. 8 at 3:08 a.m. PTUpdate, Aug. 14: Adds Apple comment and information. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 8:10 Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier See it • Apple iPhone XS Best Buy Tags $999 That realization caused outcry and allegations that Apple is “locking iPhone batteries to discourage repair,” as iFixit put it. “Apple is effectively announcing a drastic new policy: only Apple batteries can go in iPhones, and only they can install them,” the site said. But Apple on Wednesday defended the move, saying it displays the message to keep customers safe and make sure battery replacements are done properly. “Last year we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we were unable to verify that a new, genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes,” the company said in a statement. “This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality or used batteries, which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer’s ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.”People are holding onto their smartphones longer than before, and for many, the battery is one of the biggest reasons to eventually upgrade. Being able to monitor the battery’s health, and cheaply replace it, lets people wait longer to buy newer models. Apple’s iPhone battery practices have drawn scrutiny in the past. In late 2017, the company admitted that software it released the previous year slowed down iPhones to offset problems with their aging lithium ion batteries. As batteries get older, they don’t hold their charges as well as newer batteries, and they can have worse problems when the charge is low or the temperature is cold. Apple ended up releasing new features to help iPhone owners monitor their batteries, and it offered a short-term, 63% discount on its battery replacement program.Battery healthThe warning message, which is found in the iPhone’s settings, usually indicates that your battery is degraded and must be replaced, iFixit said. The publication’s tests revealed that even a brand-new, genuine Apple battery caused the message to appear. It appears on iPhones running iOS 12 and the iOS 13 beta.iphone-battery-healthIf you replace your iPhone battery on your own, you won’t be able to monitor the battery’s health.  Apple The update won’t throttle the battery’s performance or prevent you from using your phone, but you won’t be able to see details of your battery’s health. The site compared this to a car displaying a Check Oil light that only a Ford dealership can get rid of.The only way to get rid of the message is to have an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticate it — essentially forcing you to take the battery through official channels.Apple has over 1,800 authorized service providers across the US, including all Best Buy stores, and 5,000 around the globe. In a support page about batteries, the company noted that if the message appears, you should contact an authorized service provider to have the iPhone checked. “We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly,” Apple said in its statement Wednesday.  Sprint Apple wants you to make iPhone battery replacements through official channels, to ensure the battery’s safety. Angela Lang/CNET A teardown specialist said Apple is making it hard to replace your own iPhone batteries. But the tech giant on Wednesday defended how it authenticates the batteries used in its iPhones, saying it’s the only way to ensure they meet its standards.Starting with iOS 12.1 from October 2018, Apple included the ability to monitor the health of your iPhone XS, XS Max and XR battery. By going into settings, you can see the maximum capacity your battery is able to charge and whether it supports normal peak performance. You can also see if you should replace your battery.But if you swap your battery yourself or go to a nonauthorized vendor, you’ll see a Service message that warns Apple is unable to verify if your iPhone has a genuine Apple battery, as noted last week by teardown specialist iFixit. You can still replace your battery, but you won’t be able to monitor the health of the battery unless you’re using one from Apple or an authorized reseller.  Now playing: Watch this: Commentscenter_img $999 See It 17 Share your voice reading • Apple defends controversial battery certification warning message Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it See All Boost Mobile Apple See It Three new iPhone 11 models coming in September, rumor… See It Phones Aug 31 • Apple iPhone 11 launches Sept. 10, Disney Plus in big demand Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X iOS 13 iOS 12 Applelast_img read more

Lawsuit Filed In Womans Death In Houston Hotel During Harvey

Twitter via @TiffanyAlanizA woman whose body was found 11 days after she made a frantic cellphone call from a Houston hotel elevator as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey rushed in exited the elevator in the basement only to struggle against a strong waist-high current strewn with debris, a lawsuit filed Monday says.Jill Renick’s family filed a civil lawsuit in district court in Dallas, saying there wasn’t proper planning for flooding at the Omni Houston Hotel, where Renick worked and where flooding had occurred before. The lawsuit, which lists Omni Hotels and Resorts and Otis Elevator Company among the defendants, reveals new details of what happened in the moments leading up to the drowning of 48-year-old Renick.Renick “suffered a terrifying and horrific death” that was “unnecessary and easily preventable,” according to the lawsuit.“It’s just inexcusable for a hotel operation of this size to be that irresponsible,” said Rob Crain, the lead attorney for the family.The fate of Renick, who was the director of spa services at the hotel, was one of the most perplexing mysteries that came out of Harvey’s devastating flooding. She disappeared in the early morning hours of Aug. 27 as floodwaters inundated Houston. Her body was finally discovered on Sept. 7 in the ceiling of the hotel’s basement.“I don’t want this to happen to anybody again — employee or guest,” said Renick’s sister, Pam Eslinger.Renick, who spent the night with her dog in a room on the hotel’s third floor, was called by a staffer around 5:15 a.m. on Aug. 27 and told to “come downstairs,” Crain said.“We’ve asked for more specificity as to what she was told and we were told that that’s pretty much it: that she was told to come downstairs,” Crain said.The lawsuit said there’s no indication she was told the basement and elevator shafts were flooding, or that she was told to avoid the elevators. The lawsuit also adds that the elevators weren’t disabled, nor were they barricaded to prevent passengers from entering.“She was not given any indication that anything was remiss or dangerous for her to go downstairs,” Crain said, adding, “There was not a coordinated plan that was being implemented.”About 5:40 a.m., Renick made the call for help. The lawsuit says that according to the hotel, Renick said she was trapped in the basement service elevator and water was coming in. The lawsuit also says Renick “was heard screaming and clamoring for help by people on the first floor.”The lawsuit notes that the third floor, where she was staying, doesn’t have access to the service elevator so she would have likely had to access it from the first or second floors.According to the lawsuit, she was somehow able to exit the elevator into the basement. Video footage provided by the hotel to her family’s attorneys shows her coming from the area of the service elevator at 5:44 a.m.“We see her going against the flow of the floodwaters. We also see her shortly thereafter coming back with the flow of the water,” said Crain, who added, “It is clearly somebody who is trying to find a way out of this horribly terrifying condition.”The video ends at 5:45 a.m. and Renick isn’t seen alive again. “She desperately searched for a way out before climbing above the ceiling tiles and ceiling joists for the last pockets of air,” says the lawsuit, which adds that floodwaters eventually rose to the hotel’s first floor.The lawsuit says that before Renick was called in her room it was known that the basement and elevator shafts were flooding, noting that in that time period, people who appear to be hotel employees can be seen on the video walking through the accumulating water in the basement.The hotel, located near the Buffalo Bayou, has a history of flooding and is located in a flood plain, according to the lawsuit.The lawsuit also alleges that Otis Elevator, which had a contract with the hotel to maintain and service the elevators, should’ve installed flood sensors and warned users of the dangers of operating an elevator in flooding.Spokeswomen for both Omni and Otis said they don’t comment on pending litigation.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in February fined the hotel for a violation, saying that the elevators being kept operational during flooding exposed employees to drowning.The hotel is currently undergoing a $30 million renovation and is set to reopen in November.Eslinger described her sister as the kind of person who “everybody gravitated to.”“She was wonderful and she’s missed terribly every day,” Eslinger said. Share read more