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Magazine Executives Paint Rosy Picture of Industry

Magazine Executives Paint Rosy Picture of Industry
From WWD - February 7, 2018

The magazine industry may be in a state of flux, but you wouldnt know it from the annual American Magazine Media Conference held in New Yorks Lower Manhattan on Wednesday.

Top magazine executives spoke about the importance of their brands and the unique value proposition of trusted news sources to advertisers unlike, say, social media, which Hearst Magazines president DavidCarey compared to the tobacco industry in the Fifties.

During an afternoon panel, ceos from leading publishing companies, including Cond Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Bonnier and New York Media all agreed that for advertisers, it is hard to beat the brand safety and expertise of magazine companies.

I think the reality is that we are in a world where more money is being spent on performance-based advertising, Cond Nast ceo Bob Sauerberg said. He cited the fact that magazines have experience collecting user data. Weve been doing this forever, he said.

One of the things that our industry can do is use our data to create targeting for good, Sauerberg said.

Gone are the days when you could lead with how old your brand is, said Eric Zinczenko, the ceo of Bonnier. But, he was quick to add, Bonnier doesnt apologize for having old, or legacy, brands.

Pam Wasserstein, ceo of New York Media, parent of New York magazine, spoke about the importance of identifying and staying true to the titles core audience and voice.

We have to reinforce that we are companies that play for the long term, said Carey, in contrast to newer start-ups.

Creating real premium content is expensive, Sauerberg said. You heard today how time-consuming it is, but we are really focused on getting it right.

Many references were made to The New Yorker, which was something of a star following Ronan Farrows praiseof its editorial and fact-checking process during an earlier panel. The magazine also won the ASME award for best cover, which was revealed in the afternoon, for an August cover following the events in Charlottesville, S.C., thatshowed President Trump on a boat, blowing onto a sail that looked like a KKK hood.

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