The Association of Magazine Media



Nearly 400 media, advertising and marketing executives came to to Center548 in New York City for the 2013 American Magazine Media Conference October 22 and 23. This year's AM²C was chaired by David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines, with an agenda that took a closer look at what the opportunities are when magazine brands intersect with new thinking, technologies, engagements, revenue streams, and trends.


Mary Berner gave a spirited opening keynote address looking at the accomplishments for the industry during her first year as president and CEO of The Association of Magazine Media. She told the audience that if she had to write the headline for magazine media's 2013 story it would be, "Industry Pivots from Magazines to Magazine Media." Berner went on to emphasize the need to share data across platforms so that the full magazine media "footprint" is made clear. 

"The point is, that looking at just print consumer data and calling it an industry trend is like measuring radio without drive-time or only live television in a world of DVRs. So we have been compelling and communicating magazine media brand trends, and to the extent possible - actual performance data across platforms to tell a more accurate story."

To see Mary's complete remarks click here.


Jonah Peretti, co-founder and chief executive officer, BuzzFeed, sat down for an interview with Andy Serwer, managing editor of FORTUNE

When asked by Serwer about making decisions based on gut instincts, Peretti pointed out that “your gut is informed a lot by data ... you learn through a healthy skepticisim and access to data.”   

When asked about BuzzFeed’s advertising successes, Peretti said early on he knew he needed ad revenue but was not interested in banner ads. He admired the way the magazine industry has always made advertising that adds to its products.  He urged the magazine media industry to focus on the mobile experience, because while apps are an important part of the pedigree, the mobile web is increasingly important. 


A panel discussion moderated by Abbey Klaassen, editor of Advertising Age, covered native advertising and how the industry can take advantage of this hotly-contested strategy without compromising readers’ trust or brand integrity. 

When asked about regulations and guidelines, Mike Federle, chief operating officer, Forbes Media, said, “It won’t be ASME or the FTC telling us what to do, it will be consumers.”   

Joe McCambley, co-founder and creative director, The Wonderfactory, said, “Our industry has conditioned people to ignore advertising. Native changes that with the right content and intentions," and stressed that there needs to be editorial oversight. He asserted we are entering a creative renaissance given that banner ads (which he created) represent the dark ages and are as low as the medium could go.  


Facebook’s Andy Mitchell, director of partnerships for the social media behemoth, walked the audience through the most compelling aspects of publisher content as seen on Facebook. 

"Referal traffic from Facebook to publishers is up 170% year-to-year ... We're getting better and better at optimizing news feed and when to show the right story at the right time."

He cited the Jason Collins story from Sports Illustrated as a great example of a publisher generating great user engagement and conversation.

Bottomline: post frequently and test everything.


Two champions of print talked about why they gambled on at-risk print brands and how their efforts have paid off. 

Janice Min, editorial director, The Hollywood Reporter, talked about the clear vision she had for recreating The Hollywood Reporter, despite having never looked at an issue before reinvigorating the brand. She pointed out that the best magazines feel alive. "Anyone can get on the internet, but not everyone can get into a print publication."  

Chris Hughes, publisher and editor in chief of The New Republic said that though he has less nostalgia for print, it “is an underestimated technology because it's light, it's colorful, it's cheap, it's all these important things." He went on to say, "There's a reason it's lasted as long as it has. That immersive experience and the consumer who prizes that immersive experience is why magazines, in particular print and tablet magazines, still have a pretty rosy future."





Day two of the conference kicked off with Diane von Furstenberg, founder and co-chairman of DVF Studio, moderating a lively conversation with the editors of top fashion magazine media brands. All of the editors noted their record-breaking September issues, helped in part by von Furstenberg’s advertising. 

When asked about digital disruptors, Ariel Foxman, editor in chief of InStyle, said he thinks of them as a blessing because the platforms allow for greater reach and success. The key, he said, is to know your core values, and understand how they translate on different platforms since you are not serving the same consumer everywhere. 

Amy Astley, editor in chief of Teen Vogue, shared that digital is an opportunity and a path forward for her brand, and pointed to recent audience growth on their YouTube channel.  

Stefano Tonchi, Editor in Chief of W, said while it is a bit more challenging to translate his trendsetting oversized magazine into a digital product, it is important, so he focuses not on the number of clicks, but on the quality and engagement.   

Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s BAZAAR, said she strives to produce something that is vital and that everyone looks forward to.  She pointed out that the current issue is for sale on eBay for far more than the cover price. 

Robbie Myers, editor in chief of Elle, proudly pointed out that the September issue of Elle was the biggest issue ever for her brand and for Hearst overall. 

Von Furstenberg closed the session by saying that the fashion media business is in very good hands. 


Liz Gray, leading trend expert and managing partner of consumer insights, strategy and business development at Trendera dissected generations X and Y (and took a quick look at V) for the magazine media world. She touched on the pop culture, characteristics, emotions, and life patterns that define them, while providing valuable insights and predictions for creators and advertisers alike.

"We're seeing rule-breaking in a lot of ways, and I think for magazines, it's an interesting time to play with the way content is delivered and the people you're focusing on."


Jennifer Ogden Reese, senior vice president of Consumer Marketing at Time Inc., kicked off a series of four "elevator pitches" by cheerleading Time Inc.'s newest subscription innovation.

Ogden-Reese showcased People magazine's new, multi-tiered subscription model - a case study in transforming the "one-size-fits-all" subscription to a multi-level experience that can include free digital content, print, entry-level products, and premium digital experiences.

Ogden-Reese noted higher customer acquisition, upgrade and engagement, and emphasized the great opportunity this is for magazine media brands.  

"...this is an opportunity for us, as magazine brands, to re-imagine and reinvent the subscription - already something we do incredibly well - to reinvent it for the next generation of consumers and to build our relevance with our existing customer base."


Vineet Nayar, vice chairman, HCL Technologies and founder, Sampark Foundation, asked the audience whether they see challenges or opportunities.  Inspired leaders see opportunity in imperfections.

"You don't need data, you don't need analytics, you need a vision. You need a heart."

He encouraged companies to push the envelope of transparency with employees, pointing to his own performance review which was available for thousands of his employees to contribute to and view.  

"Earn the trust of employees with transparency. Make management as accountable to employees and vice versa."


Terry Day, executive vice president, Worldwide Consumer Marketing and Manufacturing at National Geographic, described how the company revitalized the Your Shot photo community where consumers can interact with National Geographic photo editors to become part of a collaborative storytelling adventure, which in turn maximized engagement and participants.

"This is a testament to what happens when you feed your consumer. We're really excited about this because we think we can scale it and we think it will have lots of revenue opportunities down the road."


Michael Norton, associate professor, Harvard Business School, discussed visualization and how it directly affects consumer behavior. Norton outlined the impact of showing the work that you're doing as a way of creating value for your customers. 

Consumers respond better and are more likely to buy products or services when they see the work being done for them.


Eric E. Schmidt, executive chairman, Google, Inc. took the stage with Scott Dadich, editor in chief of WIRED to discuss what’s next in tech, and how magazine media can take advantage.

Schmidt talked about Spotify, pointing out that virtual will be bigger than individual collection whether music or content. He says magazines are doing "the right thing," and need to continue to experiment, innovate, be realistic, and focus on ROI.

When asked about the future of magazines, Schmidt pointed to tablets saying, “Tablets are now more popular than PCs.  Five years from now, the world will have powerful, tablet-looking things — [devices] that look roughly like a tablet — as a substitute for traditional media," Schmidt predicted. “There are all sorts of stuff [publishers] can do in tablet magazines [that they] couldn't do in print magazines."  



Andrew Davis, author of “Brandscaping:  Unleashing the Power of Partnerships,” re-energized the audience following lunch. He quickly reminded attendees that, "this is the battle to be attached to your content ... nothing has fueled our consumer culture more than content brands we love. Magazine publishers are those content brands." 

He challenged publishers to think about deep niches that would help fuel their brand extensions.

"Explore your niches. Explore your content holes. How can you harness the power of subscription to just ONE piece of content?"


John Levisay, chief executive officer and founder of Craftsy, dissected his successful business model, emphasizing the importance of custom-tailoring experiences. Levisay advised publishers to market to engage and retain customers, analyze your consumers patterns, and use partnerships to ensure content is robust and reliable.

"A lot of niches are a lot bigger than we think they are."


Nancy Weber, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Meredith’s National Media Group, discussed how, by experimenting with prices for bundled products and targeted digital offers, increasing efficiency across their titles, and truly utilizing data (750 points per person, in fact), the company has seen an increase in customer engagement and revenue.


What do an equestrian and a yoga teacher have in common? Andy Clurman, chief operating officer of Active Interest Media, explains how roadside assistance for horse trailers and yoga teacher insurance proved to be perfect subscription additions and how these premium packages maximally engaged the special interest consumer and raised revenue. 

Justin Stefano and Philippe von Borries, co-founders of Refinery29, discussed how magazines inspired their highly successful site with Women’s Wear Daily’s Jenny B. Fine. 

Von Borries credited magazines as being the ultimate product – the most immersive experiences you can build. He pointed out that traditional media has many verticals and silos, but they saw an opportunity to put lots of interest areas under one roof.  

Stefano explained that they are successful with advertisers because they align brands with content they know will perform.  By testing editorial content, they see what readers respond to and act accordingly. 

Von Borries said that they can make almost any content perform simply by changing the headline three or four times until the “floodgates open.” 


Top advertisers, including Guy Forestier-Walker, executive vice president and group account director of Havas Media, David Rubin, marketing vice president of Hair U.S. for Unilever and Marc Speichert, chief marketing officer of L'Oréal Americas, discussed how magazine media is an ideal platform for advertisers in more ways than one. The panel also emphasized the importance of matching advertising to editorial content and finding a balance between big data and gut instincts when it comes to reaching consumers.

"Magazines allow us to aggregate groups of consumers of like-minds and parallel interests, so an immediate standpoint it's an important thing." - Guy Forestier-Walker


Five occupants of the ultimate magazine media "C" suites are leading the industry through dramatic cultural and economic shifts, in an ever-evolving digital landscape. David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines / AM2C 2013 Chair, Tom Harty, president, National Media Group, Meredith Corporation, Joe Ripp, chief executive officer, Time Inc., Maria Rodale, chairman and chief executive officer, Rodale Inc., and Bob Sauerberg, president, Condé Nast sat down with The New York Times’ David Carr to discuss their strategies, successes, challenges, and thoughts on each other.