Nina Link, 2012 MPA Digital: Swipe Conference
President & CEO
MPA – The Association of Magazine Media
"MPA Digital: Swipe"
March 20, 2012
Grand Hyatt New York
Good morning and welcome to SWIPE - the first event in this year's MPA Digital series. More than 340 industry professionals have registered today. That means we are officially SOLD OUT.
I love those words - SOLD OUT. To me, that means this is a topic of intense interest to magazine media publishers...that we have put together a relevant and compelling program...that through MPA's networking events, conferences, committees, website, and Twitter feed we have interacted with our members to address your needs and to showcase the creativity taking place on tablets in magazine media.
2012 is clearly the year of the tablet. And change happens quickly in tablet time. A year ago, iPad 2 was on the market a mere 9 days. Amazon and Barnes & Noble weren't tablet players. And the Android giant was just starting to wake up to the potential of the tablet platform.
Here we are at the end of 2012's first quarter and dozens of Android tablets have flooded retailer shelves. More than six million Kindle Fires have been shipped. 55 million iPads have been sold worldwide through the end of 2011 helping make Apple more valuable than any single oil company. The iPad 3— sorry, I mean the "NEW" iPad – went on sale last week and Apple can't keep up with the orders. And some weeks, more than a billion apps get downloaded in a single seven-day period.
Is there anyone in this room who thinks we're not in the middle of one of the most transformative and exciting periods in the history of media?
Not only here in the US, but around the globe. Tablets are the talk of the global media community. I just came back this past weekend from an international magazine media Board meeting in Rome, which followed a Digital Conference in Berlin. Both meetings focused heavily on the extraordinary impact of the tablets especially as it relates to magazine media brands. On the flight back from Europe, I swiped through several magazines on my iPad and I'd like to share my observations of the tablet landscape from 39,000 feet:
- Digital technologies allow all magazines brands to have a giant global footprint. As we seek to introduce magazines content to new "digital" readers, we should consider business strategies to reach potential readers well beyond our country's physical borders.
- It is still EARLY DAYS for magazine media brands on the tablet platform. Digital subscriptions are less than a year old. It's clear that publishers are exploring a number of different business models. This is a time for experimentation and research.
- As I read my digital magazines on the plane, I realized something very important was missing: where were the ads? Study after study has shown that people like the ads in their magazines - in fact they consider the ads as part of the content. BUT on the tablet, there were far fewer ads. Many of the ads I saw were static and unimaginative. They didn't come close to matching the sheer visual magic and innovation of the magazine content.
- Finally, we all need to come together at conferences like SWIPE to learn from one another and to promote the power of magazine content on new platforms whether we turn, tap, touch, scroll or swipe.
Today's conference is our attempt to analyze the tablet revolution through the sharp lens of the magazine media industry. We'll look at the digital newsstand, social magazines like Flipboard, tablet advertising, apps, and even compare the iPad and Kindle Fire in a head-to-head road test.
I think you'll come away even more convinced about the vast potential of magazine content on tablets, and the extraordinary value it offers to readers and advertisers. We represent a highly visual medium with a strong reliance on design, illustration and photography. Tablets are the perfect platform for our brands.
Before we start the show, a few housekeeping notes. For those of you tweeting the conference, please use the hashtag mpadigital.
I'd like to give a big shout-out to our sponsors who supported today's event. They are: ABC, Adobe, Digimarc, Magazine Radar, Oomph, Press Run, Woodwing, and Zinio.
At the conclusion of the morning session at noon, we'll have a 30-minute reception outside this ballroom. At 12:30, the third annual National Magazine Awards for Digital Media take place in the adjacent ballroom.
I'd also like to mention our next conference in the MPA Digital series. It's called "MPA Digital: Technology." Mark your calendars for June 21 at the Time Life Building. It's the only conference that explores the technology of content on print and digital platforms. I hope to see everyone there.
And now it's my pleasure to introduce our conference chairman and one of the great tablet visionaries from the ranks of magazine editors. Please welcome Terry McDonell, Editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group. Terry...