[This is part of our special extended team coverage of the American Magazine Conference
, the annual gathering of publishers and editors, October 16-19.]
LAS CROABAS, Puerto Rico – All publishers know their clients want to “go beyond the page,” to use a well worn industry cliche. But even as publishers are starting to see significant payoffs in additional packages such as online and live events, they're still struggling with the best way to produce those packages, according to an AMC panel dubbed “The Future of Advertising” that included two publishers, Cathy Black, president of Hearst Magazines and Jack Griffin, president of Meredith's publishing group, and two from the ad side: Esther Franklin, senior VP, director of consumer contact planning at Starcom Worldwide and Mark Kaline, global media manager at Ford.
“Clients are expecting us to come to them in a holistic way,” said Griffin, whose American Baby franchise now derives only half its revenue from print advertising, with the rest coming from extensions including events. “We've seen a lot of improvement on that level over the last 18 months.”
Pricing for beyond the page is still a difficult issue, particularly with advertisers and agencies pushing for everything to be included. “It's hard to put a financial metric on it,” said Black. “When you take a bundled program to an agency, it gets unbundled. You have to put it back together for the client. What everyone needs to remember is the there is a price tag that goes along with 'value-added.'”
“People don't just read magazines, they experience them,” says Ford's Kaline. “It's the same with our products. We want them to experience it, rather than just see the extension of the brand in the magazine.”
And while much of the conference focused on the need for publishers to prepare to distribute their content and advertising over new media channels such as handheld devices, one prominent publisher warned the audience not to neglect the basics. “You can go to different conferences and hear all the speakers talk about what's new and hot but it's the basics that still sell,” said Black. “Ford needs to sell cars now and they won't all be sold over handhelds.”
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