Investigative Journalism

Supermarkets: no more Mr Bad Guys?

The huge number of shoppers visiting their stores – Tesco makes more than £1bn a week in sales – mean tight margins work. Unlike traditional booksellers, supermarkets pass on to customers the majority of their trade discount. Their mark up is typically 20% or less, compared to 50% to 120% in the traditional trade. For supermarkets, a 20% profit is healthy when compared to core food product, whose profit margins are measured in single percentage points. More shocking for most authors will be the knowledge of how marginal books are for supermarket. They represent only 0.3% of Tesco’s total UK sales. That is not a misplaced percentage point.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

But while the supply chain from farm gate to store may be relatively straightforward and its carbon footprint easy to calculate, that from movie lot to DVD store is far more complex. For a start, where does the calculation begin? Should it include the footprint of the location caterers or the helicopters used by talent to get to the set? Should it be limited to the manufacture of the disc, its packaging and supply? Should it include attempts to carbon offset productions, even though most environmental campaigners frown upon offsetting? Tesco appears to be equally perplexed: repeated requests by CE for the parameters the grocer will use to measure carbon footprints on home entertainment products drew no response.

Look away now

‘Publishers will go as far as the supermarkets will let them,’ literary agent Jonny Geller observes cynically about publishers’ parameters. ‘There is no point in being moralistic about it. Publishing is a branch of the entertainment industry, as a result it reflects the highs and lows of modern culture.’

Young People: Playground publishing

Media Week 04-Dec-07 Children’s magazines are proving resilient to increased competition from other media and are using the internet to build their brands, says Danuta Kean. James Willmott is evangelical. The advertising manager of Titan Magazines, which publishes some of the best-selling TV tie-ins for children, including the Simpsons titles
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Consumer confidence

Does this mean that Northerners are immune to indigestion? No, it means you didn’t do your research. Because if you had, you would know that although screening the commercial at 8.30pm was within the crucial hour after dinner when Southern indigestion sufferers would be thinking of pain relief, it was too late for Northern sufferers, whose evening meal is on average taken at 6pm.

Posthumous publishers who refuse to live and let die

Financial Times: August 16 2007 Ian Fleming Publications’ decision to reanimate the late author’s most famous creation, James Bond, in a novel by Sebastian Faulks to mark Fleming’s centenary next year is the latest in a resurrection trade that has made literary estates some of the most powerful in the
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