American Magazine Media Conference 2018

Conference Welcome

Stephen M. Lacy, executive chairman, Meredith Corp. and chairman, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, welcomed attendees to AMMC and kicked off the conference with an acknowledgement to Meredith Corp.’s recent acquisition of Time Inc. He continued with an overview of the industry’s success in the past year, including the launch of over 700 new magazines, subscription surges for a number of brands and MPA’s new Social Media Engagement Factor.

Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA, took the stage and encouraged attendees to follow the Dalai Lama’s advice: “Keep working on it.” Though there is no single approach that ensures success in the magazine media business, sharing thoughts, perspectives and data helps the industry become as innovative as possible. Thomas Brooks noted that marketers and advertisers are “working on it” too.  She encouraged them to expand their focus and look at the quality of an audience versus the size. When brands invest in print marketing they experience better results. For example, fashion brands that have print ad concentration outperform those that don’t – a whopping 87% are up.  Even in a generous stock market when many stocks were up, MediaRadar still found superior performance among advertisers who had magazine media investments.

Short-Termism and Other Threats to Marketers

WPP Founder and CEO Sir Martin Sorrell joined Alan Murray in a discussion on underlying business challenges facing media companies, marketers and the advertising industry.  "Focus on cost and short-term thinking have hurt marketers and investors in general, " Sorrell said.

Despite Facebook and Google describing themselves as technology companies, he sees them as media companies and agrees that they should be paying media brands for the content they distribute on their platforms.  He further suggested that it would be in magazine media’s best interest to work together on charging for content distribution.

Giving a boost to the crowd, Sorrell asserted that, “Everything we see on engagement shows magazines and newspapers have far more traction with consumers.”

The Future of Magazine Media

New York’s Adam Moss moderated a panel on the magazine media business with the industry’s next generation of leaders. The panel—which was presented by MPA Next, MPA’s community for young professionals—touched on a series of topics including the difference between legacy publications and digital startups, the use of data to drive all decisions, and effective brand extensions including social media, apps and events. They also discussed the future of print at their companies. From left:

Julie Alvin, Senior Digital Director of Time Inc. Lifestyle Titles, Meredith Corp., said she has a lot of confidence in the future of print. After leaving Bustle, a digital startup for millennial women, she found that many people her age would share how much they trusted and loved print publications. She also noted that print ads have more impact than digital ads.

Eli Lippman, director, audience development, American Media, Inc., said that his company is excited about print. Data and analytics are extremely important for AMI, so they measure everything in both print and digital to see what consumers are looking for. Instead of digital replacing print products, their goal is to integrate the two to complement each other.

Jessica Shanken Reid, VP, Business Development, M. Shanken Communications, said their publications are extremely successful in print because of their focus on niche audiences. Despite price increases, circulation has remained flat for Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado. Because of the recent “whisky boom,” circulation has increased by 50% for Whisky Advocate. Shanken Reid added that M. Shanken Communications is a print-forward company.

Failure, Fear, Forgetting and Other Ways to Succeed

Capitalizing on increased consumptions rates and a stable supply of magazine content, Jim McKelvey, founder of Invisibly, discussed a new payment system which would help magazine media publishers “create wealth out of the internet wasteland.” He encouraged attendees to reach out to him to learn more at [email protected]

How Magazine Media Fights for Truth

In an interview with Gayle KingRonan Farrow revealed how his ground-breaking stories on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct came to light and the enormous support The New Yorker put behind him and the story. After NBC declined to broadcast the piece, Farrow took the story to the New Yorker Editor David Remnick. Even though they knew of a similar New York Times piece coming out a few days before The New Yorker story would hit, Remnick refused to rush the process. Farrow said, “It was a gamble, but there was the decision not to rush up Harvey Weinstein’s window for comment or the magazine’s fact-checking process.” Farrow ended the interview by saying he’d like the opportunity to interview Weinstein. He said, “I would do a very fair and judicious job with that interview… And I think that even he would probably be hard-pressed to claim that there was any lack of fairness in the process.”

Cracking the Code: Making Legacy Brands Thrive in Any Age

After working with three iconic American Brands— Cadillac, NASCAR and Ford—Kim Brink, global COO, GTB, has cracked the code on shepherding brands through turbulence to ensure their long-term survival.  Brink said it’s crucial for brands to intimately know their consumers, understand their core brand promise and deliver consistently on the customer’s terms. Brands that survive and thrive have adopted to change all while staying true to their core essence.

Amazon at the Forefront of Fashion

Amazon Fashion President Christine Beauchamp sat down with Hearst Magazines Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles to discuss Amazon’s latest venture into the fashion world. With its vast assortment, excellent value and total convenience, Amazon Fashion offers consumers a compelling experience that allows them to buy the brands they love and discover emerging designers at the same time. Beauchamp said the company has launched a series of private labelsand a new initiative called Prime Wardrobe, a program that allows consumers to try on the clothes at home before they buy them.   

Pushing the Boundaries: National Geographic's Success Story 

As a joint venture with 21st Century Fox, National Geographic reinvests 27% of its proceeds to help fund the conservation efforts of the National Geographic Society. Brendan Ripp, EVP, National Geographic Partners, FOX Networks Group, said that this sense of purpose along with their thought leadership, quality content and global scale are what differentiate National Geographic from other brands. Though Ripp said revenue diversification—particularly their massive social media presence—is key to the company’s success, National Geographic has also been extremely successful with their print business. Last year, they grew print audiences by double digits in two segments: millennials and c-suite. Ripp said they were able to do this by “taking the brand from reverence to relevance.”

ASME Best Cover Contest

Active Interest Media’s Jon Dorn revealed the winners of the ASME Best Cover Contest. This year 128 magazine brands entered, submitting 261 magazine covers in 10 categories. Henry Goldblatt accepted the People’s Choice Award on behalf of Entertainment Weekly and David Remnick accepted the ASME Cover of the Year for the New Yorker’s “Blowhard” cover. To view the full list of winners, click here.

Magazine Media Matters: The Talk at the Top

In a panel moderated by MPA President and CEO Linda Thomas Brooks, magazine media’s top executives discussed the state of the industry, brand safety, the changing media landscape and revenue diversification. From left:

Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., CEO, Conde Nast: “We are in a world where whether we like it or not, more money is being spent on performance-based advertising. We built a database business 25 years ago. We have been doing this forever. One of the things this industry can do is to use our first-party data to create some targeting.”

Tom Harty, President and CEO, Meredith Corp.: “I’m excited to bring [Meredith Corp.] and [Time Inc.] together.”

David Carey, president, Hearst Magazines: “We have to remind our clients that smaller startups know if they don’t cut a corner sometimes, they won’t show revenue growth… and might go out of business. We need to reinforce that [magazine] companies play for the long-term.”

Eric Zinczenko, CEO, Bonnier Corp.: “Gone are the days of leading with how iconic or hold your brands are in today’s performance-based environment.” He later added, “By 2020, we want a portfolio where we have 33% print, 33% digital and 33% from ancillary activities.”

Andrew W. Clurman, President and CEO, Active Interest Media: “There’s a disconnect between what [marketers] think and feel [about magazines] and… the KPIs and marketing science.”

Pam Wasserstein, CEO, New York Media: “All these CMOs are saying ‘I had no idea my content was showing up here and here and here- next to terrorists and Nazis… Magazines brands are not only brand-safe but brand-enhancing. It’s a step beyond.”

Magazine Media. Better. Believe it.

Hearst Magazines’ Michael Clinton shared the progress of the industry’s marketing campaign: Magazine Media. Better. Believe it. In a time when three-out-of-four Americans say they have fallen for a fake headline, the campaign was created to reinforce the power of magazine media and how its credible news and information is created. The campaign has appeared in approximately 140 titles from 40 companies and is estimated to reach 75% of U.S. adults. The ads also ran in AdAge, Adweek, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as in Times Square, at Hearst Live and in wild posts around New York City.

Kelly Awards 2018

In an awards ceremony hosted by ESPN’s Alison Overholt and sponsored by Quad/Graphics, Meredith Corp.’s Alysia Borsa and Essence’s Staci Hallmon presented awards to magazine media brands who exhibited exceptional advertising campaigns. The winners are:

Best Print Magazine Creative
Campaign Title: M&M’s Caramel Launch – Advent Accordion Pop-Out Unit
Magazine: Food Network Magazine
Agency: Mediacom/Starcom Advertiser: M&M’s (MARS)

Best Magazine Media Creative/Campaign
Campaign Title: The O Mag Insiders for Chico's, Pandora & Clinique
Magazine: O, The Oprah Magazine
Advertiser: Chico’s, Pandora, Clinique

Best Custom Magazine Media Program
Campaign Title: Personal Style Awards
Magazine: Elle
Agency: Mindshare
Advertiser: TRESemmé

Magazine Launch of the Year

Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni presented Meredith Corp.’s The Magnolia Journal with the 2017 Magazine Launch of the Year. From October 2016 6o December 2017, more than 200 magazine titles were introduced in the marketplace. Finalists include a range of titles including national magazine brands, regional titles, kids’ magazines and enthusiast brands. 

MPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Active Interest Media’s Andrew W. Clurman and Actress Stephanie Zimbalist presented Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III with the MPA Lifetime Achievement Award for his longstanding contributions to the magazine media industry. Zimbalist’s colleagues across companies applauded him for building a business around passions and enthusiast audiences. They described him as one of the biggest champions for the magazine media industry.