AMC Preview: Less Time Defending Print, More Time Pushing Brands
Future-themed conference to kick off with Nancy Pelosi keynote Sunday.
When the American Magazine Conference kicks off in San Francisco on Sunday, it will do so against a tumultuous backdropâthe U.S. financial crisis, hemorrhaging advertising dollars and newsstand circulation worries top-of-mind for most magazine publishers.
Which is why, perhaps, for the first time in recent memory, the Magazine Publishers of America, the association behind AMC, will urge those in attendance at the three-day conference to stop worrying about the future of printâand start worrying about the future of their magazine brands.
âI say in my opening remarks that we [publishers] spend a lot of time defending print,â Michela OâConnor Abrams, president and publisher of Dwell and AMC chair, told FOLIO:. âWe need to spend less time protesting, and more time talking about how the entrepreneurial vision that built these magazine brands is going to translate them across platforms anywhere, anytime.â
âPrint,â she added, âis not going away.â
Paul Saffo, noted âfuturist,â is scheduled to deliver a keynote on âthe future of magazines in a post-information age.â
Abrams said she hopes attendees will leave the conference with âtangibleâ takeaways. âWe have a two-and-a-half hour working session,â she said. âWeâve always wanted a real working day, and this year weâll finally get one.â
Currently, the conference has 420 registered attendees, about the same number as last year according to the MPA. âMy goal was 450,â Abrams said. âBut given the economy, weâre happy with [that number].â
As has become AMCâs tradition of lining up politicians as keynoters, this yearâs conference will have no shortage partisan posturing. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, is scheduled to open the conference on Sunday (âshe hasnât cancelled yet,â Abrams said) and Republican California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be interviewed by Time editor Richard Stengel on Tuesday.
[EDITORâS NOTE: Red 7 Media general manager Tony Silber will be blogging and filing news reports from the conference. Check foliomag.com and foliomag.com/blogs throughout the week for his dispatches.]