At Magazine Conference, Talk of Twitter Dominates Discussion
A report from 13th annual New York Magazine Day.
NEW YORKâAt last yearâs New York Magazine Day, the line between church-and-stateâand how it could, and should, be blurredâdominated the discussion.
At this yearâs annual conference, held at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square Tuesday, talk of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, printâand more Twitterâruled the day.
âThereâs probably someone in this room Twittering what weâre saying right now,â said one advertising panelist during a discussion of the infinite choices media consumers have in 2009.
The appeal of social media, from an advertising perspective, is clear, said Sarah Fay, CEO of Aegis Media North America. When it comes to brands, Fay said, âthe consumer has much more credibility than a marketerâ does.
Wenda Harris Millard, president and co-CEO at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, admitted the magazine industry underestimated social media. âFifteen years ago, we knew the consumer was in control, but we didnât take it far enough,â she said. âWe didnât anticipate the consumer creating content to the degree they have.â
She added: âThe ârise of the bloggersâ [would have] sounded like a horror movie.â
More than 300 attendeesâmostly women, a majority from advertising agenciesâwere registered for the one-day event. (Last year, the conference drew more than 700 attendees.)
Pitching Ad Execs
Millard and the rest of the magazine publishers in attendance were ostensibly there to give their sales pitch to the agencies. âSimply put,â Millard conceded, âadvertising cannot support all the media that is out there.â
Jayne Jamison, vice president and publisher of Seventeen magazine, described the relationship between print and Seventeenâs Web site like having a âfriend with benefits.â Jamison also differentiated the community of readers using its Web site from MySpace in terms of engagement. âGirls arenât going on MySpace to talk about their weight, their acne, their period,â she said. âThey come to us for that.â
When talk did turn to print, it was more about how the medium has been devalued in the eyes advertisers.
âIâm deeply concerned (ad buyers) are devaluing media at a time when innovation is actually increasing,â said Jeff Hamill, senior vice president of ad sales at Hearst Magazines.
Robin Domeniconi, a vice president at Microsoft Advertising and a former longtime Time Inc. executive, lamented the negative connotation associated with shifting print strategy. âGoing âonline onlyâ has become a euphemism for âfolding.ââ