Special Report: Thriving in the New Media Universe
However, he also explained that he pushed his staff to innovate by saying that the printed magazine's form has essentially never changed, unlike the ketchup bottle, which now has the "brilliant" plastic squeeze bottle form, he stressed.
He explained his quest for pushing the boundaries of what a print magazine is, reflected in the magazine's electronic-ink cover in 2008 (which earned it Publishing Executive's Publishing Innovator of the Year award), fold out windows, mix-and-match cover images, augmented reality, etc.
Granger also explained that he and his team applied the same philosophy to Esquire's iPad app, which recently won a National Magazine Award for Digital Media for the mobile edition category. The app features moving cover images, such as Liam Neeson punching the "screen" and "shattering" it.
One of Granger's main messages: Print is still alive and well, and many opportunities exist for magazine brands to expand with digital content. He stressed his theme "Everything is possible," several times.
Most media coverage of the event focused on Granger's announcement of Esquire's new online retail venture, Clad—an effort to bring the consumer closer to (and able to buy) what is featured in the magazine.
After Granger's speech was a keynote address by The Onion President and CEO Steve Hannah, who not only showed videos from the satirical news media's website and new television shows (launched earlier this year), but also told the story of how The Onion started in a dorm room and evolved to "the most powerful media empire in the world." With books, online news and videos, e-newsletters, more than 2.8 million Twitter followers, shows on Comedy Central and IFC, and newspapers, it's covering all of the media bases.
Hannah also explained The Onion's relatively recent initiative to license the newspaper content out to major newspapers in various cities worldwide, so that The Onion would retain control of the content, but the licensors would handle ad sales and include local events listings and the like in the back of the paper. As Hannah noted, The Onion is about content-that's what they do best; why not let someone else sell the ads?