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Griffin: Identifying the ‘Principles of Success’ for Consumer Magazines

A report from the MPA’s 2010 American Magazine Conference.



By Jason Fell
10/04/2010

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CHICAGO—Roughly 400 top executives from all corners of the magazine publishing industry turned out for MPA’s 2010 American Magazine Conference, held here at the Fairmont Hotel & Resorts. It marked the event’s return after a year off in 2009.

Speaking early Monday morning was newly-appointed Time Inc. CEO and MPA chairman Jack Griffin, who dicussed the challenges facing magazine publishers and identified five industry goals he called “principles of success”: providing consumers with quality content, continuing to deliver “exceptional value” to advertising and marketing partners, to develop new revenue streams that value content, to continue exploring new technology and to “accept change in our industry as a constant and build capabilities to respond rapidly and effectively, and where appropriate, work together to solve common problems.”

After, the morning keynote was an interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who said he’ll read his new book, callled onward in print instead of on a Kindle (he said he prefers to read magazines in print, too). Other keynote speakers included Maybelline media and integrated marketing vice president Deborah Marquadt, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and VivaKi chief innovation officer Rishad Tobaccowala.

During his presentation, Tobaccowala said the key to evolving a magazine publishing business is forming a business model that is “completely different” from what has generated revenue in the past. Despite advances in technology and distribution channels, he said people “still want to talk,” to discover; that they want content that's curated and easy to find. “Change is only good if your life, or your business, sucks,” he half-joked.

Tuesday’s agenda features a keynote from Barnes & Noble  CEO William J. Lynch Jr. and a panel discussion on creating content from the iPad. The highlight is a keynote by Oprah Winfrey.

Ahead of the conference, the MPA (formerly the Magazine Publishers of America) announced a rebranding and said the group will be known simply as MPA, with a new tagline: “The Association of Magazine Media.”

By Jason Fell
10/04/2010




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