American Magazine Media Conference 2019


MPA would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of AMMC 2019:

Alliance for Audited Media, ANC, Chartbeat, Deloitte, eMagazines, Facebook, Google, House of Kaizen, Issuu, LSC Communications, MRI, MediaRadar, Piano, Quad/Graphics, and ZINIO.

Conference Welcome

Tom Harty, President and CEO of Meredith Corp. and MPA’s new chairman, welcomed attendees to AMMC and kicked off the conference by applauding MPA for its 100 years of support for the magazine media industry. He gave an overview of MPA’s tireless advocacy on behalf of the industry, including political efforts in Washington, D.C.; countless presentations to clients and agencies; “Magazine Media. Better. Believe it,” the industry-wide public service campaign touting the credibility and brand safety of magazine media; the Magazine Media 360° Brand Audience Report and more.

Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA, discussed the mutually inclusive dynamics of legacy and innovation, which are twin forces that can be leveraged by magazine media brands to connect with audiences and provide exciting opportunities for marketers. Thomas Brooks insisted that we should not waste time talking about the fact that “business is hard,” citing the disruption and changes in consumer behavior that have touched every business from automotive to retail.

Influential, Inspiring and Inclusive: The Formula for Relevance

Martha Stewart joined InStyle Editor in Chief Laura Brown for a discussion on brand extensions, influencers and social media. Crowned as the “original influencer,” Stewart said she continues to innovate and reach new audiences through a series of brand extensions, such as the Martha Stewart Wine Club and meal kits. She said, “The extension into all forms of media is very important. It makes it more complex and keeps your audience.” She later added, “I think we’re all doing a good job. I think we have to adapt… you never know what else is coming, but you should keep your eyes open and work with it because you can’t avoid it.”  

Secrets of the Centenarians

Hearst Magazines’ Michael Clinton moderated a panel with editors of four of the most iconic and longstanding magazine brands. He opened the discussion by asking panelists why we should care that their brands are 100+ years old.  From left:

Susan Goldberg, National Geographic: “We’ve got a great opportunity at National Geographic to take this iconic brand and go from the reverence of the brand to the relevance of the brand. We’re so lucky that for 131 years, we’ve covered the things everyone cares about. We’re doing it in modern ways and in modern platforms.”

Joe Brown, Popular Science: “Popular Science is 147 years old this year, but we don’t look a day over 40. When we talk about it being over 100 years old, we’re actually talking about it being trans-generational—a publication that’s there when your readers start reading.”

Jane Francisco, Good Housekeeping: “The biggest part of our story is the Institute and the trust that’s been built up. One hundred years is relevant because of the fact that for consumer advocacy, we were some of the first at the table… we pre-date the FDA.”  

Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation: “We are at a time when media is under attack—not just politically but financially. I think to show the ability to survive in a fast shifting media landscape and to be trusted… we have thousands of people who trust our brand and understand what The Nation stands for.” 

The Fight for Quality Journalism

In an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine’s Lucy Kaylin, ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff said his decision to leave his law career to become a journalist was about “the chance to be in the moment while history was being made.” Throughout his journalism career, he has reported from around the globe, most recently as ABC’s primary correspondent throughout Asia.  Woodruff emphasized the importance of long form journalism and said “My wish for kids is as they have questions—such as ‘what’s happening in China?’—that they will read more than a paragraph. Longform journalism is essential to telling the story.” He ended the discussion by saying, “I hope we can continue to fight for the sacrifices journalists make.”

A Life Time of Breaking Boundaries

In a discussion with ESPN’s Alison Overholt, Bahram Akradi, Chairman, CEO and Founder of Lifetime, discussed his “Healthy Way of Life” business, his views on customer relationships and his insights on effective leadership. He said, “I asked myself: How could I satisfy the customer the way the customer wants to be met on the other side of the business. Everything I wanted to do was from the customer point of view.” Akradi added that it was important for the company to launch Experience Life, a magazine that goes to all Life Time members, because he believes in authenticity and in creating a new kind of relationship with customers. 

FIPP Insight Awards

Presented by FIPP’s James Hewes, the FIPP Insight Awards celebrate the most effective insight projects from across the magazine media industry. MPA won the Gold Marketing Award for the industry-wide credibility crusade, “Magazine Media. Better. Believe it.” and the Silver Multiplatform Insight Award for the Social Media Engagement Factor which measures the relationship of audience reaction to the content posted by magazine media versus non-magazine media brands.

The Devil is in the Details: Data and Consumer Trust

Andy Main, Head of Deloitte Digital, led a discussion with top digital transformation experts on why brands must have a holistic approach to data as they continue to build consumer-based businesses. He asked the group: “How is data being used in your company to turn on an amazing experience?” Their responses, from left:

Karthic Bala, Chief Data Officer, Condé Nast: “We’re using our users’ data internally for better personalization and performance, to see if they value the resulting content and will pay for it. Transparency is key: Users must know what is happening with their data.”

Tracy Heller, Head of eCommerce and Digital, David Yurman: “We use customer data to create better jewelry that works for them. That insight trickles into every stage, including the experience they are getting online, browsing in store, and the post-purchase experience.”

Alysia Borsa, Chief Marketing and Data Officer, Meredith Corp.: “We’ve centralized our data analytics and research teams. Cross-learning occurs as we profile, understand and predict behaviors of our consumers. We focus on their intent, not just their interest.”

How I Get it Done: Kate Lewis

In a special live edition of The Cut’s “How I Get it Done” feature, Kate Lewis, Hearst Magazines’ Chief Content Officer, shared her leadership secrets with The Cut Editor and President Stella Bugbee. Among her tips is to be decisive: “We don’t have time to waffle. Going in one direction is a better path.” Lewis also discussed her approach to email (she encourages you to message again if you don’t receive a response from her) and how she manages millennials, whom she calls some of the most loyal employees. She ended the discussion with tips on how to manage stress: “Stress and optimism don’t destroy each other; they live together.  Stress is what makes me optimistic... I was stressed all day about this but now I’m here, and I’m glad.”


ASME Best Cover Contest

Better Homes & Gardens’ Stephen Orr revealed the winners of the ASME Best Cover Contest. This year, there were more than 200 magazines entered in the contest. TIME’s “Her Lasting Impact” cover, depicting Christine Blasey Ford testifying during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, was named Cover of the Year. Billboard’s “This Is BTS,” featuring a black and white image of the K-pop boy band, won the Readers’ Choice Award. View the winners and finalists here.

How to Stay Cool: Henry Winkler Talks Legacy, Lessons and Longevity

“The proudest moment of my life is writing this book,” said Henry Winkler to Parents Editor in Chief Liz Vaccariello about his new book, Here’s Hank: Everybody is Somebody. Winkler spoke about his dyslexia and how he was not able to read a book until after his diagnosis at age 31. He said, “How you learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are." He also reflected on his acting career and his pivotal role as “The Fonz” on Happy Days: “Tenacity and gratitude get you where you need to be. You never know what you can accomplish until you try. I would lie in my bed and dream of being somebody. I had a dream when I was 7 that I would be an actor, and it came true.”

Picture This: Doing Real Business on Instagram

Instagram’s Elisa Benson asked panelists from Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Freeda Media for best practices and case studies for media brands to increase revenue and engagement on Instagram. From left:

Daria Bernardoni, Editor in Chief, Freeda Media said “Authenticity is key to success.” Freeda’s mission is to spread real women’s stories to create change and overcome stereotypes, and they do this primarily through Instagram. At Freeda, all content must be social-first.

Jessica Pels, Editor in Chief, Cosmopolitan: “We start publishing content on Instagram at 5:30am, since it’s where our reader goes first and where she lives.  We created a cover shoot that’s beautiful in print and that was planned for Instagram.”

Negar Mohammad, Director of Brand Marketing, Vogue, used Instagram’s targeting capabilities and swipe-to-buy features to drive sales of Vogue’s iconic September 2018 issue and increase annual subscribers.


Facebook, Communities and the Future of Journalism

In a discussion with Glamour Editor in Chief Samantha Barry on the Facebook Journalism Project, Facebook’s Campbell Brown said “We need to get Facebook to work for publishers. We are not there yet, and have real work to do on that front. She later added, “Facebook cannot be the entire solution to your problems. If you’re building a business based on the Facebook algorithm that’s constantly changing, that’s crazy.” Campbell said that the social media giant has cracked down on clickbait and sensationalism: “We created the incentives that helped to create clickbait, but the method of producing a short, viral video won’t work anymore… It’s not what people want to see.”

Reflect. React. Reveal.

Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA, led a wide ranging discussion with the industry’s top executives about the present, the future and where the opportunities may lie. From left:

Troy Young, President, Hearst Magazines: "We are not purely entertainment. We represent passions. We get to express our brands and viewpoints across an enormous canvas of media types. We’re at an inflection point of what is the new magazine industry.”

Tom Harty, President and CEO, Meredith Corp.: “A few years ago, some advertisers started to question their media spends, wondering if they had gone too far digital. We are premium publishers and brand safety (where digital ads are placed) matters.”

Bonnie Kintzer, President and CEO, Trusted Media Brands, Inc.: “For Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, we don’t put up an endless amount of content but the right content at the right time for audiences that are highly engaged. Taste of Home is a top brand on Pinterest.”

Eric Zinczenko, President and CEO, Bonnier Corp.: “At Bonnier, if it makes money, it makes sense. It’s dangerous for us as media companies to think we’re in media and should stick to our swim lane. Consumer products and events are important areas for us.”

Pam Wasserstein, New York Media: “We’ve been developing brands independent of the New York magazine brand. We stay with our core sensibility. For Vulture, our digital audiences were excited about our TV and culture coverage…We’ve identified other passion points of our audiences and looked to see if there are revenue opportunities.”  


Kelly Awards

In an awards ceremony hosted by Active Interest Media’s Andrew W. Clurman and sponsored by Quad/Graphics, AFAR Media’s Laura Simkins, Ad Age’s Josh Golden and The Economist’s Mina Seetharaman presented awards to magazine media brands who exhibited exception advertising campaigns. The winners are:

Best Print Magazine Creative

Campaign Title: Give A Flake
Magazines: Freeskier, Ski Magazine, Snow, Mountain Magazine, Outside Magazine, Powder, Transworld, Big Life, Aspen Sojourner
Agency: Karsh Hagan
Advertiser: Aspen Snowmass

Best Magazine Media Creative/Campaign

Campaign Title: Pawsitive Moments
Magazines: People, Southern Living, Real Simple, TIME, LIFE
Agency: Meredith Corporation, Mindshare/Group M, EDGE Marketing
Advertiser: Purina

Best Custom Magazine Media Program

Campaign Title: The “SO ELLE” Brand Campaign
Magazine: ELLE

2018 Magazine Launch of the Year

Samir “Mr. Magazine ™” Husni presented WHERE WOMEN CREATE WORK with the 2018 Magazine Launch of the Year. To be eligible for the award, magazine brands must have a regular print frequency and have launched between January 1 and December 31, 2018. Almost 200 magazine brands qualified for the award based on these criteria, which is more than 40% higher than last year.


MPA MIC Endowment Update

Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu, shared an update on the MPA MIC Magazine Media Support Endowment, which assists students pursuing careers in magazine media. Issuu’s mission is to empower and develop student journalists and writers, which is why they were one of the first organizations to contribute to the fund. Hyrkin said, “It’s more important than ever that student journalists have access to resources to report the facts and are protected from censorship, so that we can celebrate the next five, ten, one hundred years, of quality magazine media journalism, credible content and business success.”


MPA Industry Excellence Award | James Cregan

Stephen M. Lacy, Executive Chairman, Meredith Corp. presented MPA’s James Cregan with the 2019 MPA Industry Excellence Award, an honor given to industry champions for their lifetime of contributions to the business of magazine media. Cregan recently retired as MPA’s Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, a position he held since January 1, 1999.


MPA Lifetime Achievement Award | Marvin R. Shanken

Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman and Chief Executive, Condé Nast International presented Marvin R. Shanken, Founder and Chairman, M. Shanken Communications with the 2019 MPA Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant and longstanding contributions to the magazine media publishing industry and society. Shanken built one of America’s most influential groups of lifestyle publications by sharing his personal pleasures with readers and has raised over $50 million in the last 40 years for a variety of charitable causes.