American Magazine Conference Goes ‘Beyond the Page’
The 2006 American Magazine Conference, hosted by Magazine Publishers of America, packed three days of programming and hundreds of executives from top consumer mags into the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix last week.
The conference’s theme—”Beyond the Page”—promised attendees a look at how to extend their content, business and brand into nontraditional forms of media; however, AMC speakers were careful to point out that not as much has changed as some might think. “We’re still in the same business,” agreed both Ann Moore, Time Inc. chairman and CEO, and Steve Murphy, president and CEO, Rodale Inc. in their Monday morning session titled “Just What Business Are We In?”
“Give up the fear of cannibalization [by the Internet],” Moore said. “I do think we [as an industry] are going to be standing when the dust settles.”
Dr. Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, presented a seven-year study of Internet use that appeared to corroborate Moore’s belief. Cole said many print magazines will never be replaced by online media, particularly men’s and women’s publications that enjoy strong, loyal readerships.
Barnes & Noble CEO and Vice Chairman Steve Riggio echoed a positive outlook for magazines, pointing out that more than 10 percent of all of his company’s transactions are magazines. As a retailer, he added that he expects the business model for selling publications to remain similar for the next three to five years, but that this model will really begin to evolve soon after as the next generation of buyers and information users—who have grown up online—become adults.
Attendees also got an up-close look at the latest goings-on at Yahoo! and Google, as representatives from both companies took the stage and fielded questions from the audience. Both companies stressed their belief in partnering with publishers to distribute magazines’ content through as many platforms as possible.