Following the exits of some of its prominent members—including Hachette and New York magazine—and the startling cancellation of the American Magazine Conference—one of the magazine industry’s flashiest events—the Magazine Publishers of America sent a note to its members today criticizing articles about the dropouts (including, presumably, FOLIO:’s) and highlighting what it’s been doing for its dues-paying membership.

Here’s the e-mail:

From: "Nina Link and John Q. Griffin”
Reply-To: [REDACTED]
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 14:56:19 -0500
Conversation: A message from John Q. Griffin and Nina Link
Subject: A message from John Q. Griffin and Nina Link

Dear MPA Member: Your support of MPA enables us to accomplish so much on behalf of the industry during these tough economic times.  Unfortunately, a few companies have withdrawn from MPA resulting in a number of articles in the press. This coverage has ignored or downplayed the benefits that MPA delivers to its community and done a disservice to all of our collective efforts. So let’s set the record straight on what we’ve achieved together and highlight some of the tough government affairs, advertising and digital challenges we will be tackling in 2009.

Represent magazines’ needs before Congress, the courts and state governments: 

  • Saved the industry more than $4 billion in postal costs since 2000.  We continue to fight to hold down postal rates.
  • Protecting more than $1.5 billion in annual prescription drug ad revenue by fighting government  efforts to restrict DTC ads
  • Protecting the deductibility of advertising expense (disallowing just 20% of ad costs could cost the advertising industry, including magazines, + $20 billion/year)
  • Protecting First Amendment rights to free press and free speech, and defending our members’ intellectual property assets from legislative and judicial treats.

Support ad revenue: 

  • Produced sales materials based on more than 50 independent research studies showcasing magazine ad effectiveness in increasing purchase intent, generating efficient ROI, driving web traffic/search and boosting word of mouth
  • Using this information, MPA has called on key agency and client executives seeing more than 1,400 in 2008 and nearly 400 already in 2009
  • Helped achieve almost a 1 point increase in consumer magazines’ share of the advertising pie between 2004 and 3rd quarter 2008 (full year not yet available), based on Magazine Marketing Coalition efforts
  • Encouraging the evolution of magazine ad measurement to allow magazines’ cross-platform offerings to be valued fairly relative to other media

Maintain viable distribution channels and address environmental concerns:

  • Spearheading industry efforts in protecting consumer magazines’ interests from Do Not Mail Threats in Washington and in state capitals, and by shaping the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service
  • Working to increase single copy sales via the annual Retail Conference and development of best practices, research and promotions
  • Providing resources to address environmental concerns through activities such as the Please Recycle Campaign, carbon footprint research and Environmental Handbook

Help the industry prepare for and navigate the digital transition: 

  • Exploring emerging digital platforms and business models enabled by new technology
  • Sharing digital insights and best practices through conferences and more than 25 digital seminars addressing the editorial, advertising and financial topics related to our cross-platform business
  • Accelerating the development of effective online subscription marketing through seminars, committees, and research, as digital technologies evolve
  • Defending online advertising practices from legislative and regulatory challenges impacting the growth of the behavioral advertising market. 

Like its member companies, MPA began making the hard decisions regarding the scope of its operations late last summer. We reduced staff by 20% and our operating budget by 18%. We also implemented an across-the-board dues reduction of 12.8% for all domestic members except those paying minimum dues. We recently conducted surveys of 2,300 of our members and are using these results to continuously sharpen our focus and deliver tangible benefits. Again, we want to thank you for your support.  Tough times often bring out the best in people and in organizations.  Your dues enable our magazine community to be stronger together than apart.


John Q. Griffin
Magazine Publishers of America
President, Magazine Group
National Geographic Society

Nina B. Link
President & CEO
Magazine Publishers of America