American Magazine Media Conference 2016

Monday, February 1

Conference Welcome

Stephen M. Lacy, chairman and CEO, Meredith Corporation and chairman, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, kicked off AMMC with an overview of the magazine media industry, mentioning that magazine media captures more social actions than any other media platform and that “print advertising is critical in the marketing mix.” He introduced Linda Thomas Brooks, the new president and CEO of MPA, who said it was “really fun to be back among the cool kids.” Joseph A. Ripp, Chairman and CEO, Time Inc. and AMMC conference chair, also addressed the audience, saying “More than ever, it’s important for us to be together as an industry.”

Snap/Chat with Spiegel

The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta sat down with Snapchat co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, to discuss his revolutionary platform. Spiegel noted that mobile allows its users to constantly tell a story throughout the day: "Video is resonating. Mobile phones are about creating media and for us that means visual storytelling." Spiegel also mentioned the unique partnership opportunities that Snapchat provides. Magazine brands such as National Geographic, Cosmopolitan and People have already partnered with Snapchat in its new Discover feature.

The ABCs of AOL

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Fortune’s Alan Murray discussed Verizon’s recent acquisition of AOL, the future of online advertising and the shift to mobile and video. “Mobile is going to rip through the Internet and rip through the traditional,” Armstrong said, adding “if you think about a phone as a phone, you’re missing the point.” Armstrong also reflected on AOL’s “cultural revolution.” “Most of the people in the tech business are trying to build a brand. It’s easy to build an app. It’s hard to build a brand.”  Watch: The ABCs of AOL

Activate Your Business

Michael J. Wolf, co-founder and CEO, Activate Inc., reviewed the modern media and technology ecosystem. He said the average American downloads more than 8 apps a month, but “the mobile web has a greater reach than an app.” His final piece of advice to magazine media leaders: “Find the things that stay true to what people love.”

Independents' Day

Bloomberg TV’s Stephanie Ruhle spoke with some of the industry’s most respected leaders about the advantages and opportunities of leading an independent brand. From left:
-Declan Moore, CEO, National Geographic Partners: "When you have that one brand, you focus on how that brand can resonate with consumers in as many ways as possible."
-Mike Perlis, president and CEO, Forbes Media: "We've had the ability to invent ourselves as innovators and disrupters."
-Michela O’Connor Abrams, president and CEO, Dwell: “I don’t feel threatened. I feel empowered.”
-Larry Burstein, publisher, New York Magazine: "We've been able to seize opportunities that we might not have been able to do if we were much bigger."
-Paul Rossi, president, Global Media Businesses, The Economist Group: "There's a huge opportunity in being a single-brand company. We can be a little more nimble."
Watch: Independents' Day

Tuesday, February 2

Next Up for Native and Content Marketing

Bloomberg Businessweek Editor Ellen Pollock moderated a panel about the rapidly evolving world of native and content marketing. Throughout the session, Pollock and other experts discussed the importance of high quality material. Lee Sosin, senior vice president, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, said, “For content to work, it has to carry the quality standards of our brand.”

Panelists agreed that consumers have high standards for all content, but they expect to know if material is associated with a brand. Dirk Standen, editor in chief of Condé Nast’s 23 Stories, said “We think about labeling very carefully. We aren’t trying to fool our readers.”

The panel also discussed the potential revenue that native and content marketing can bring. “If you could dedicate 10 percent of the staff’s time to do native advertising, that would create a huge revenue stream,” said Erik Moreno said. With the rise in content marketing, Georgine Anton, executive vice president and general manager, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, said "Seventy-eight percent of CMOs believe the future of marketing is content." Watch: Next Up for Native and Content Marketing

Sleep No More?

Grouchy? Sick? Trouble concentrating? Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, author of the upcoming book, The Sleep Revolution, and advocate of a good night’s sleep, has advice for you: Go to bed! In a discussion with Joanna Coles, editor in chief, Cosmopolitan and editorial director, Hearst Magazines, Huffington stressed the importance of achieving balance between sleep and productivity. She said, “All these brainiac types in the room need to realize that sleep is a performance enhancement tool.” Huffington stressed that sleep deprivation should not serve as a pathway to success because “we can’t work when we’re overly tired.” Watch: Sleep No More?

Selling Celebrity

In a panel moderated by People and Entertainment Weekly’s Jess Cagle, top editors discussed the growing desire for celebrity news, the ever-evolving nature of its coverage across platforms and the mutually beneficial relationship between magazine brands and the stars. Panelists stressed the significance of their print magazines, specifically because of the power and fame associated with the much sought-after cover. From left:

-Janice Min, president and chief creative officer, The Hollywood Reporter–Billboard Media Group: “Nobody dreams of being on a website homepage.”
-Chad Millman, vice president, editorial director, domestic digital content: “From a reader perspective, a magazine cover is something you want to sit with and rediscover.”
-Vanessa K. De Luca, editor in chief, ESSENCE: “Cover stories are crown jewels that are coveted by celebrities.”
-Jess Cagle, editorial director, People, Entertainment Weekly: “You have to give people something they cannot get for free on our own website.”

Watch: Selling Celebrity

Let's Talk About Iowa (Over Lunch)

After an Iowa Caucus recap by Gayle King, co-host, CBS This Morning and editor at large, O, The Oprah Magazine, top political writers and editors Michael Kinsley, contributing editor, Vanity Fair, Jonathan Chait, columnist, New York Magazine, and Nancy Gibbs, editor, TIME chatted with NBC Late Night’s Seth Meyers about the results. "I don't think that anyone thought in July that we'd be dealing with Trump for this long," Gibbs said. Meyers added, "Everyone in Iowa said they were thrilled for the candidates to be leaving."

The 21st Century Media Agency

“The secret magic sauce in magazine media is moving along generations,” said Hearst's Michael Clinton about the evolving nature of the modern media agency. Moderated by Stuart Elliott, panelists Ryan Berger, founder, Berger Shop and partner, HYPR, Michael Clinton, president and publishing director, Hearst Magazines, Ingrid Otero-Smart, president and CEO, CASANOVA, and David Verklin, managing partner, VFL Investment and Advisory, LLC, and senior advisor, Boston Consulting Group, discussed the shift to digital consumption and how media buying has developed to include cross-platform ad buys.

Media With Purpose

In a panel moderated by MORE’s Lesley Jane Seymour, First Lady Michelle Obama, along with leading voices Julianne Moore and Lena Dunham, met to discuss the role magazine media plays in raising awareness for critical issues and humanitarian topics. With the help of various media platforms, specifically magazines, which she called “the best vehicle to tell a story,” Mrs. Obama has shed light on the 62 million girls around the world who aren’t able to receive an education. Her initiative, Let Girls Learn, helps these adolescent girls go to and stay in school. "Girls who are educated earn more money. They raise healthier families," said Mrs. Obama, adding that she’ll continue promote education even after her term as First Lady is complete. Moore and Dunham also discussed gun violence and women’s rights as important issues to them personally. Dunham said, “The old adage ‘the personal is political’ has never been more true.” Watch: Media with Purpose

Time to Talk About Transformation

In an interview with TIME’s Rana Foroohar, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson discussed how technology has transformed the hospitality business. Sorenson said that with the help of new tech innovations, “You can respond and fix the experience before the guests leave.” Watch: Time to Talk About Transformation

Views from the Corner Offices

Brian Stelter, host, Reliable Sources, and senior media correspondent, CNN Worldwide, closed AMMC in a discussion with top CEOs about what’s NEXT UP for magazine media and how they’re embracing change in the industry. From left:
-David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines: “Who would have thought the magazine business was such a springboard to all these other media forms? We’re seeing that all the time.”
-Joseph A. Ripp, chairman and CEO, Time Inc.: “We’ve transformed Time Inc. more in the last two years than we have in the last 10.”
-Maria Rodale, chairman and CEO, Rodale Inc.: “We’ve all been chasing advertisers, but ultimately we have to chase our customers and our viewers.”
-Stephen M. Lacy, chairman and CEO, Meredith Corporation: "What we have to do is all pull together and act a little bigger than we are, and have a little swagger in our step, as it relates to competing with some of these other platforms that do not deliver nearly as good an ROI for the advertisers as we do."
-Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., president and CEO, Condé Nast: “We’ll keep fighting for the print business. Quite frankly, consumers love consuming magazines.”
Watch: Views from the Corner Offices