Demise of Details, Google+ Reprieve, Virtual Reality Buzz, Gawker Reboot, TFP’s November Book Picks: Social Media Strategy, Infographic Pick of the Week, DPS 2015 Tip: Default and Home Collections

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about the closure of Details and layoffs at Condé Nast, another redesign for Google+, publishers looking to use virtual reality to reinvent storytelling, Gawker struggling to compete as both media and tech company, and more.

Details' October issue featuring Bradley Cooper.

  • Changes are underway at Condé Nast, with recently installed CEO Bob Sauerberg announcing the company is shuttering men’s magazine Details, laying off more staff, and merging the business operations of Self and Glamour. WWD reports Condé is rumored to be restructuring Hearst-style, where publishers are grouped under general categories such as men’s or design. The idea, it says, is to cut costs and provide scale to better serve advertisers. Though many thought Self was in danger of closing alongside Details (it had been losing more money than the latter, according to the report), it was saved under a plan to unify teams to “create a leading women’s advertising platform for our clients,” the company said. Meanwhile, will begin transitioning over to, the report notes, adding that the title’s demise may be another sign of a downward trend among men’s magazine titles: GQ’s ad pages fell 17.6% this year.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Google+ isn’t dead yet. After gutting some features earlier this year, Google announced plans to breathe some life back into the social network with a redesign focused on communities dedicated to single topics and “a Pinterest-style function” that allows users to build threads, according to Quartz. With a reported 6 million users posting to the platform compared with Facebook’s 1 billion daily users, it remains uncertain whether the effort will turn things around. Google+ is known as a popular destination for niche groups, though—like those interested in zombie cats, vintage calculators, and wild hummingbirds, the article notes.
  • Virtual reality is a hot topic these days, especially with The New York Times’ recent debut of its NYTVR app and distribution of Google Cardboard viewers to all of its Sunday Times subscribers. While other media companies have been experimenting with VR, Forbes columnist Howard Homonoff says the Times’ rollout is a breakthrough in that it provides a high-profile example of not only how the technology can be used to dramatically elevate storytelling (experience “The Displaced” in VR), but how to successfully execute its distribution. For its part, the Times reports there’s a “gold rush” around VR, with technology, entertainment, and media companies betting it will “revolutionize the way we experience movies, news, sporting events, video games, and more.” It highlights other pioneers in the field, looking at the opportunities and challenges of “building a new art form from the ground up,” and also examines how marketers are trying to find their niche too.
  • Finally, Fortune reported on Gawker’s most recent reboot, which includes reining in its coverage to focus primarily on politics and abandoning plans to license its multimillion-dollar Kinja discussion platform to other media outlets. Digiday posted its take on the downsizing as well, saying it’s more evidence that publishers are struggling to compete as both media and tech businesses. “The conceit that media companies need to be tech companies is over. That era is dead,” says Paul Berry, CEO of publishing platform RebelMouse and former Huffington Post CTO, in the report. “Publishers are back to realizing that they need to focus on what they’re good at.”

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Looking to take your social media presence up a notch? Check out TFP’s November Book Picks, highlighting strategies to help you better navigate and optimize your social channels.
  • Also see our Infographic Pick of the Week, which shows it’s not just teens using emojis to express their sentiments. Find out how content marketers are using them to get valuable feedback.
  • DPS 2015 Tip: In this week’s Adobe Digital Publishing Solution Tip, Monica Murphy explains how home and default collections work.
  • ICYMI: Our latest Women in Media installment covers the role of the Washington Post’s executive director of new products, the 40-year career of NPR’s “Fresh Air” host, a big pay gap between men and women in associate-level editorial jobs, and more.

Image: Details Cover, WWD

This Week in Publishing will be on hiatus next week in observance of Thanksgiving. We’ll be back on Dec. 4. Enjoy the holiday!

Check out our blog for highlights of interesting and noteworthy stories from the publishing world every Friday, and sign up for TFP’s This Week in Publishing newsletter. Think we missed something great? Let us know! Leave a comment below or drop us a note.

Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.