A Savior for Sagging Newsstand Sales? Executives Hope New Retail System Will Improve Single-Copy Tracking

By Fried, Lisa I. | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, January 1, 1992 | Go to article overview

A Savior for Sagging Newsstand Sales? Executives Hope New Retail System Will Improve Single-Copy Tracking


Fried, Lisa I., Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


A revolutionary new method of tracking and analyzing single-copy sales holds out hope in the battle against dwindling single-copy sales. But first the publishing industry has to decide whether it is willing to invest in developing the technology.

Bob Alexander, former Rolling Stone and US circulation director, is the new president of PRIM (Periodical Retail Information Management) and is looking for at least 10 publishing companies to invest $30,000 each in the venture over a two-year period. PRIM is the outgrowth of a year-old committee of wholesalers, publishers and national distributors that had convened to study the feasibility of developing a new computer system to track single-copy sales by retail chain.

PRIM, which holds non-profit status, needs contributions to initiate the development of its computer system and to cover the cost of generating reports for publishers. At press time, Alexander--who was hired with seed money from The Time Inc. Magazine Company and The New York Times Magazine Company, which jointly own Time Distribution Services--was close to choosing the systems vendor.

With PRIM's data, "The magazine industry could have the same information from the newsstand that publishers can get from subscriber lists," declares Frank Herrera, president of ICD, a national distributor owned by Hearst Corporation. "We would know by store where people are buying the magazine, when they buy it, and, by using database demographics, would be able to find out what kind of people buy it." Hearst is now considering an investment in PRIM, Herrera ads. …

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