Save The Dates: ACT 6 Experience Set For April 20 to 22, 2016.

The ACT (Amplify, Clarify, and Testify) Experience about the future of print in a digital age is set for April 20 to 22, 2016. The move to the Spring of 2016 rather than the Fall of 2015 is dictated by the fact that yours truly is not teaching this Fall and taking some time off from teaching to work on a new book.

An ACT Experience without students is NOT an ACT Experience. Thus, the change in seasons. I will be posting more information soon about the ACT 6 Experience. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I will be more than glad to answer your questions regarding the Experience itself, the sponsorship opportunities and any other questions you may have.

All the best and thanks for understanding.

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

This Is The Most Exciting Time To Be In The Media Business: ACT 5 Experience, Day Four.

By Lisa Scott, Executive Director, PBAA


Today we witnessed that the “TM” after Mr. Magazine™ doesn’t only mean he’s trademarked his name- it clearly describes his passion and expertise- as a teacher and mentor to his graduate and undergraduate students of the past 30 years. Successful graduates demonstrated their talent and insights and skills, and were a testament to the value of the service journalism program at Ole Miss. The program closed with a short recap, and a conversation between the students and the recap “team” about career, passion, personal branding, and professionalism. Thanks to Samir, his staff, the students, the graduates, the speakers and the attendees for the best “Experience” yet.

Jonathan Graham (HP Graphics & Solutions, Germany):
• We are at an “event horizon”- the beginning and the end of everything
• You can’t escape the sheer mass of the web- there are now over 1 billion websites
• 76% of Americans still prefer reading on paper
• Human natural tendencies are attracted to print
• Germany has a strong “slow media” program- strong culture of reading
• We’ve gone through the hype- looking at better ways to go
• Direct marketing on email- open rates are incredibly low
• Print is the new 1:1
• Sustainability is the intersection of environment, social, economic… the same is true for sustainable communication but content is at the center of these three, a holistic approach

Clinton Smith (Editor, Veranda Magazine)
Garreth Blackwell (Digital Magazines and Commercial Printing)
Alex McDaniel (Alabama Media Group):

• All graduates of the service journalism program at Ole Miss
• In college, learned:
o How to destroy things on purpose: change is a powerful thing, provided you have a good reason to do it
o How to write a business plan that doesn’t suck: thriving in the business needs understanding of all aspects of it so you have something to add to the conversation (you can’t be naïve)
o How to adapt when everything goes to hell: getting set in your ways or expectations will only serve to hold you back
• Love print
• Build business focus on the things you need to have happen, not the medium itself
• Made experiences: connections that people can be a part of
• Shamelessly self-promote

John Harrington (Publisher, The New Single Copy)
Bob Sacks (Precision Media)
Lisa Scott (Executive Director, Periodical and Book Association of America)
• Recap thoughts
o Diversity of opinions, lots of useable information, no one answer to challenges, but celebrate
o Spread your horizon, invigorated, impressed with our leaders of tomorrow
o Students are the best part of the conference for all the attendees and speakers
o A different kind of digital/replica product will emerge in the future
o The progression of media has gone from Radio to TV (radio with pictures), etc. The transformative process will be to find the things that print can do best
o Anything done well will work
o You don’t need to know everything about everything, but you need to know enough to understand the process of our work
o Need to break out of silos but still need to know the rest of the business
• Advice to students re: career, work, passion, preparation, networking, self-promotion
• Follow up with the people you met here- on paper!
• Attitude is critical- never have a bad day, be authentic

Customers First, Platforms Second. ACT 5 Experience Day Three.

By Lisa Scott, Executive Director, PBAA (

Day three – an exhausting, exhilarating, remarkably comprehensive day with great networking and collegiality and sharing as a bonus benefit. It featured 11 presentation segments, with 22 individual presenters, commencing at 8:15am after a Delta Blues night in Clarksdale, and ending with a celebratory dinner on the 30th anniversary of the Magazine Service Journalism Program at Ole Miss led by Samir Husni. Starting with insights from an integrated multi-platform diversified billion dollar media company, sharing the inspiring story of the travel startup which has in five years more than met its goals and is already giving back to communities, and then absorbing the frank and interesting insights and discussions on service journalism, advertising, editorial creativity and workflows, digital enhancements at retail, printing and more… all expected and superlative attributes of the Act Experience conference.

Dana Points (Content Director, Meredith Parents Network):

· Talking to millennial parents (huge benefit of Meredith Parents Network)- they are digital natives and great to learn from

· They move across 21 different sources of information monthly (a very fragmented diet of information)

· Burning question- I can get tips and instructions online- why do I need print?

· Readers/users view print and digital differently

· “I never would have searched for that recipe (online) but now (reading print) I can’t wait to make it”

· Print brings the unexpected to our attention

· Digital skates on the surface, print goes deep

· Print conveys permanence – once in the magazine, there’s no getting it back

· Patina of trust and authority in print

· Mags have benefited from digital – mags work harder than ever to hone print contact

· Digital

o Gives editors new tools to use

o Reawakened editors to the power of the list

o Allows editors to provide 360° service

o Has prompted more quick, accessible bites of content

o Print is now incorporating more people from digital- new “stars” of social media

· Now designing certain stories with the web’s new visual language in mind (make image “pinable”

· Pubs are “listening” on social media

· Craft of magazine making has become more important- looking at the visual energy of photos, and at flow of articles through the reading experience- example- section on “Life in a Special Needs World”

· Creative editors are bringing other platforms into print- perhaps not print some recipes- push readers online for those details (example- Rachael Ray’s “Your party in a pdf”

· Strong ideas fly or die based on whether they have a life beyond the page

· For great service journalism today

o Go against conventional wisdom

o Focus attention on and bring perspective to a topic

o Bring original research to a familiar topic

o Winnow down the seemingly endless amount of journalism- “the best” for the reader

o Compiling and curating service- e.g. Parents on Best Apps

· Use consumer information studies to evaluate print articles- Are they read? Do they appeal?

· Also evaluate via “pickup” on other media

· 90% of online content is not from the magazine.

Greg Sullivan (Co-founder/CEO AFAR Media):

· Five years since launch- 50,00 initial circ, now 250,000- achieved subscriber goal, got critical acclaim

· Started with a print produce, but aiming toward long-term, multiplatform media company

· AFAR’s digital strategy

o Not publisher focused

o Traveler focused

o Take advantage of digital capabilities

o Let our community help us

o Spirit of experiential travel

o Should be best inspirational and planning site for experiential travel

· Created app and online place for great travelers to share their experiences

o Everything is meant to be useable on phone, text, photos, maps

o 55,000 registered users, 87% of the content created by people other than AFAR’s writers, editors, sponsors

o Content saveable including on phones and offline

o Use lots of lists

· Last year published guides to 80 publications but also organized by passions

· Now building engagement and community

· They are now #1 Travel Website, #1 Traveler App- Lowell Thomas awards

· All is based on mag’s credibility, audience… and they are now adding curation

· Brand extensions:

o AFAR collection (of hotels and resorts)- first selected by editors, then listed

o AFAR custom publishing- content solutions, used by hotel chains, banks

o Learning AFAR- non profit… scholarships for travel for those in communities that might broaden their view of the world (opening perspectives and minds)

· Print is still driving revenues- perint ad $ is 50% of total revenue

Jens Henneberg (Executive Vice President and Editorial Director, Bonnier Group, Denmark):

· Bonnier Strategy 2014-17 is to “liberate ourselves from limitations of paper and frequency”

· Inspire passion, drive engagement

· Bonnier is a content company but take full advantage of new technology but entering much more complex operation with efficiency and cost savings constantly in mind.

· Example- biggest title- Science Illustrated

o Video

o Select and curate from you tube

o Work well on smartphones

o There is a purely editorial newsletter (have email addresses already) – this is part of the subscription, does not have advertising (must have reader’s permission if contains ads), weekly, 39% opening rate)

o Readers trust the brand

o Gamification taken from this brand- “Wake up call for the Curious”

§ Made for the waiting line- bored generation

§ 5 quizzes a day

§ Trivia and knowledge

§ Not an app- it’s HTML

· “Silver Bullet” doesn’t exist- tablets/emags are a supplement not a savior; 8-10% of subscribers read it

· Be experiential- title by title

· Hidden Success Factors (creative ideas won’t work if you don’t have these):

o Simple log-in

o One-click payment

o Managing customer data

· New workflows needed to coordinate multi-platform efforts

· Advantages of print- graphic, enhanced photos/images

· Print will still dominate in 2018 (still 75% of company circ and ad revenue)

· The challenge: to marry radical innovation with disciplined execution (Gary Hamel- WSJ)

· Note: in Denmark- subs are 85% of circ and very high priced- $11 an issue, pub invoices subscribers on the installment plan several times a year- this income can fund other platforms and projects

Steve Davis (President, Kantar Media’s SRDS)

Alysia Borsa (SVP, Data and Mobile, Meredith Corp)

Robert Hanna (Co-founder, Burst Media)

Katriina Kaarre (Publishing Director, Octavamedia Ltd, Finland):

· Changing ad buying dynamics- not by publisher or brand, but by audience- this is programmatic ad buying.

· Uses technology to get audiences- real time bidding through exchanges.

· Challenge is that it’s not the best inventory- pubs will reserve that for their best clients

· You can also buy an impression through a private (e.g. Meredith) marketplace; 50-75% of media buying is going that way

· First party data is data derived directly from the users- declared and behavioral- best quality

· Also data can be aggregated from other sources (third party)

· You still need to keep the brand story and have relationships with your big advertisers

· Native advertising- bringing relevant, integrated advertising to the consumer

· Content creators are frequently not the ones writing for native- instead coming from separate marketing services group- but basic editorial standards are kept

· Editorial needs to better understand the fiscal well-being of the company and understand how the business side/operations work

· Business model of print will continue to evolve- people will still want the print experience- valuable for consumer and for marketer

· Print is a very contextually relevant place to advertise

· There is more integrated opportunity for print across platforms

· There is advertiser reluctance to embrace over-55’s- should be more educated on print value

· Print is not the mother ship but is part of the “super-liner”

· The future is mobile- hugely exciting, location based, also future will be more personalized advertising for where you are. (there will be no banner advertising)

· Advertising will become more integrated, relevant, tailored, social. Also more creative and engaging- all due to continuing fragmentation in the population.

· Ads will come from many sources, there will be better expertise around it (and old style “advertorials” were frequently poorly done- native advertising is much higher quality)

Brian Hart Hoffman (EVP/Editor in Chief Digital Officer, Hoffman Media):

· Guiding Creativity- guides editors to relate their own families to give readers more on the people behind the brand

· Editors need to put themselves in their readers’ shoes- perhaps readers spend 2 hrs on each issue, 6 times a year- thus 12 hrs a year with the magazine- editors become fatigued by content and perhaps it repetitiveness- however this is embraced and considered a plus by the readers

· Readers like consistency- they don’t want too much change

· Examples- based on MagNet cover analysis- accidental use of basket of pumpkins on September Southern Lady cover has led to an ongoing tradition of variations of that cover image each September to great success

· Similar consistent cover on special- Autumn in the South, and on Southern Lade Holiday specials- always a wreath and always a best seller

· Create the product that readers tell you they want

· Columns and sections of a successful magazine can give birth to new magazines

· Keep talking with your readers

· There should be obvious alignment between your content and your advertising

John Puterbaugh (EVP& Chief Digital Officer, Nellymoser):

· Bridging the print and digital divide

· “Companion” or second-screen viewing is growing

· Activation details and examples

o Types of activation- QR codes, barcodes, watermarks

o Every page in Marie Claire magazine is activated

o Branded app will grab the image and then take you to lots of enhanced material

o Augmented media can be very expensive and has not been proved to be a lasting tool

· Print is branding; mobile turns interest into action

· Top 100 mags- 10% of pages are activated now

Note: reports on activation are available free on Nellymoser website

· Transition from “hold and hover” technology (awkward) to “Grab and Go” (easier)

· Retail applications- to make print “shopable”

o Kindle Fire phone pioneered “showrooming” technology- grab image from a flyer and product is found for sale on line and you can purchase it

o Target many apps for “shopping” their flyer and immediate purchase

o Magazines who impletment these purchase options should get affiliate fees

· There is audience targeting and location targeting

o Geofencing (location based ads)

o Geo-conquesting (based on competitor contact)

o Beacons placed in stores by retailers- will be recognized by your phone- can push notification

o Mobile has the ability to connect every piece of the shopper’s journey

§ Transactional

§ Social

§ Provides location

§ Persistent memory

· Publishers need to start with their business goals, then decide on which tools (not choose tools first)

· This all only works if consumer continues to trust the brand and thus is willing to “exchange information”

· Ad agencies are embracing interactive print

Roel-Jan Mouw (CEO, Woodwing, The Netherlands):

· It’s not print, digital, content first- it should be consumer first

· Uber model- the business is not new, but the focus on customer control and satisfaction is a game changer

· Sustainable multi channel publishing starts with:

o Organization

o Strategy

o Structure

o Control

o Consistency

o Customer

· Example- KLM decided that business travelers are their most important customers. They married user’s unique twitter account with their KLM profile- Traveler can tweet a request or itinerary change and make it happen within an hour seamlessly. (yet this social media innovation was advertised in print on the NYC Subway)

· Example- Sanoma restructured from 60+ titles to 17 brands- all are able of transcending into multi-channel brands

· Choice of delivery channel may not be the consumer’s choice, rather the result of (forced) changes in the distribution system (e.g. Jakarta newspaper can no longer be physically delivered due to traffic, so no more print edition)

· Data and digital channels are bi-directional

Tony Silber (Access Intelligence and Folio)

Mike Goldman (Editorial Director, Boys Life, Scouting & Eagles’ Call Magazines, Boy Scouts of America)

Elizabeth Y. Whittington (Managing Editor,

Cathy Still McGowin (Editor, Birmingham Home & Garden):

· Editors are going bottom up (experiential) not top down (brand management)

· Readers want material that they need, that they can’t get anywhere else

· You need to multi-task; if you can’t do more you need to at least have an understanding of the other jobs

· Social media- different vehicles used differently by each editor/company based on their reader demographics, editorial category, etc. But need to constantly test social media since reader adoptability and adaptability change

· How do you give print stories a different life elsewhere (beyond the closed print ecosystem?)

Haines Wilkerson (Chief Creative Officer, Morris Media Network)

Craig Chapman (Producer, Real Foods, Real Kitchens):

· Video is vitally important in digital strategy-website, app, blog are incomplete without motion

· Editors- “start your day with digital”- think how the content carries over to digital with your morning coffee

· Where collaborated with Real Foods/Real Kitchens to develop a video production bible for Where editors (how to plan/edit/shoot video)

· Samir has created a magical living connecting point in these conferences, with real live discussion on challenges and innovative solutions

Bob Sacks (Precision Media)

Gil Brechtel (MagNet)

John Parke (Democrat Printing)

Dick Ryan (Publishers Press)

Gal Shweicki (Shweicki Media):

· “Totality” reporting should be avoided- the whole batch is not bad, but individual results can be

· Some title, some sectors are continuing to perform extremely well in a down environment- we should celebrate those

· When industries are in transition you get mixes of horror stories and success stories

· Lines on a chart suggest simplicity of results- this is far from true

· Print will be lucrative for those who get it right

· Scarcity and quality will define the great magazines of the future- the survivors in print

· Your future business should replace your current business before someone else replaces it for you

· Survivors- nimble. They change to meet the needs of publishers

· Publishing professionals cannot be simply trained as “specialists”- they need to be capable and trained in a variety of areas in the company

Tom Witschi (EVP Women’s Lifestyle Brands, Meredith Corp):

· Confident and excited about magazine business today

· Media brands are all about content and engaged consumers delivered on multiple platforms with multiple technologies

· Meredith audience growth: 2001- 68 million; 2014- 110 million

· Meredith sales guarantee for products- difference in spending in Meredith household compared to others

(average sales lift 10%)

· Build out your brand via:

o Real Estate

o Furniture

o Retail Products

o Floral Arrangements

o Digital Syndication

o International Media

· More than half Eating Well revenue from non-traditional media

· Art and Science of data- Meredith offers enhanced content and great data

· Goals:

o Move consumers to credit card auto renewal

o Increase price points for subs

o Bundle subs with premium services at a higher cost

o Increase online sub acquisition and renewal

o Encourage tablet adoption

· Cross pollinate where possible

· Unleash young talent

· There used to be a predictability to the magazine business; now changing constantly, and is unpredictable

Passion and Excitement: It is the Best of Times. Day Two, ACT 5 Experience.

By Lisa Scott, Executive Director, PBAA

From a passionate editor who was surrounded by Ole Miss students at the close of her presentation to predictive analytics; from the history of human information to branded photo contests with million dollar publisher revenues, Day Two of the Act 5 Experience covered the world of magazine media with deep dives and remarkable relationships with readers in six distinct and informative presentations. And to cap it off- the annual excursion to Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS with the best live Delta Blues music we’ll ever hear!

William “Billy” Morris III (Chairman, Morris Communications):
• We’ve moved from information scarcity to information overload
• Infinite information has changed journalism, but not the value, goal, and importance
• Digital media have disrupted journalism in many ways, but also have improved it
• We’re competing in a very different kind of business
• Visit the same websites as your readers- how do you make your print product more valuable given their experiences?
• Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail and be willing to spend money on those new things
• Journalism needs to reward readers richly for their time and attention- or they won’t engage
• What matters now, more than ever, is trust (a marriage of truth and accuracy) in journalism
• Brevity is important online- can refer readers to more information

Vanessa Bush (Editor in Chief, Essence Magazine):
• Print is giving birth to countless abundant opportunities to engage with our audiences
• Provide fresh, vibrant, enriching experiences to them
• 1 in 3 Black women are readers of Essence, a higher penetration that almost any other print media to a group
• The power of Essence is strong emotional communication
• Essence offers strong multi-platform experiences with a total reach of 12.9 touchpoints
• Unique and honest treatments speak to the core audience of Black women; by offering empowerment, edge and escape- the editorial formula for Essence
• The Essence Festival is the biggest live event in the US- draws 550,000 people to New Orleans over 4th of July holiday
• But nothing is possible without print- the “mother ship”
• Greatest challenge is keeping up with pace of consistent change
• Essence online is a distillation of the magazine content
Note: Essence’s power and magic was overwhelmingly apparent in the crowd of enthusiastic and passionate Ole Miss students who surrounded Ms. Bush for 20 minutes after her presentation, a tribute to the remarkable connection between the reader and the magazine.

John Harrington (Publisher, The New Single Copy)
Malcolm Netburn (Chairman, CDS Global)
John Phelan (Executive Director Consumer Marketing, Rodale):

• In 2010 publishers realized the importance of moving from advertiser-centric to consumer centric business model
• By 2014, this move had not taken place- in fact, a higher % of revenue was derived from advertising while subs and newsstand value each dropped nearly 33% as a share of revenue compared to 2010 numbers
• Next Issue Media, the “Netflix” model of $9.99 unlimited replica editions of magazines, is having an impact of newsstand revenue (since print newsstand issues sell at full cover price)
• The center of the universe is the consumer- the individual who opens up the magazine, goes to the editorial, says “this has value to me, I need/want to know more”
• Predictive data is the connective tissue between an issue and its readership
• The distance between content and audience must narrow
• We don’t know how to measure success right now- digital tools and platforms are changing everything
• There are fundamental changes to our approach to the business itself
• We need to understand a lot more about our audiences
• If you deliver value you’ll make money
• For readers- create “loyalty-engenerating experiences”- they will become evangelists for you
• Question is not how many people read us, but how engaged with us they are
• We need to develop a collaborative, industry-wide approach to data about our readers
• We need to predict what our readers want- be proactive not responsive- it’s based on clues about you
• Think outside the box- predictive data can show us an expanding potential universe of customers, not a shrinking one
• Data should not “filter down” rather “filter up”
• We need to know more about how people behave
• Circulation goals are changing slowly, but circulation tools are changing faster
• Consumers are throwing information about themselves to you, challenge is mining that data
• Dedicated mobile editions of mags can spur growth – same content, different experience (not replica editions)
• Opportunities to come:
o Frictionless mobile ordering and payments
o Business to business selling of consumer publications
o More aggressive direct promotion of digital subs
o New content bundles that include mag subscriptions
• Mag companies are becoming brand companies
• Consumer Marketing Directors are inventing new ways to sell, to get orders on file, and are trying to stay in contact with the consumers, but direct mail has been scaled back
• Membership/Affinity model is growing (learn from the non-profit world) (e.g. Oprah’s “Circle of Friends”)
• For Rodale- 7 titles (large + small) had versions of the same business model- in future this may modify to some with more ad % revenue, some circ driven or membership model
• Justin Smith: “To succeed we must accept this state of confusion and embrace chaos”

Gil Brechtel (President, MagNet)
Joshua Gary (MagNet):

• There’s turmoil in the newsstand but there is predictability to be made from it
• Figure out what you can do to deflect “bad things”- we still have the opportunity to affect success
• The best indicator of success of content is on the newsstand
• Addressing sales: placement, promotion, price, and product- which means covers!
• MagNet tags elements of the cover to allow a deep dive to analyze success and failure
(what elements really affect sales- and what elements don’t seem to matter)
• 15% of magazines sold are now bookazines- starting to flood the market

Espen Tollefsen (CEO, Interpress, Norway):
• Books on tablets are less than 2% of book sales- there is no common platform, thus print book sales are still strong
• There have been many more new titles brought to market, but circ total is actually unchanged
• Circ #’s down 30% for 10 largest titles over the last 5 years
• Magazine market decline is coming faster- down 10% YTD 2014
• International titles decline as well as domestic titles
• #1 reason for large drop is not mobile- it’s a decline in “in-store” focus and distribution issues
• Also there is a decline in the customer base/shoppers
• There is too much turnover in store management- less focus on the magazine category and more focus on food and beverage
• Newspapers have started re-focusing on promoting the print product- e.g. car sweepstakes every month for print purchasers
• Norway did not suffer a financial recession, but had a “psychological” recession- led to questioning what to do with individuals’ money- resulted in more savings, less spending
• Biggest challenge is not print vs digital, but reading vs every other form of activity that consumer spends his time on
• Publishers need to attract and develop readers

Keith Bellows (EVP Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler and Travel Media):
• We’re still in the middle of the bridge between print and digital – still driving “dazed and confused”
• Nat Geo- not a media company- only 3 mags- rather it’s all about Nat Geo’s mission to teach people about the planet
• But Nat Geo still has the same challenges as other media companies
• The era of relying on subs and advertising to keep the company profitable is over
• Wants a “deep sign of engagement” from their consumers
• Job is to come up with “big concepts” that might involve print (or not)
o Tour of a Lifetime
o Photo Contest (generates over $1million in revenue)
o Digital Nomad
o City Makers (print, films, online)
• Also project with the US State Dept to raise % of US citizens with passports- currently 37%, trying to use social media to get kids to get passports
• Think beyond the page- Nat Geo stopped seeing itself as a magazine
• For Travel- the cycle is dream, plan, go, share
• Nat Geo Traveler is “the little engine that could”- need to take advantage of global resources, re-invent, be smart and strategic and take chances
• This is the most exciting time in media (even though we’re on a bridge to nowhere right now)
• Publishing was a pretty simple business 5-6 years ago- now you need someone who thinks in 3 dimensions- video, social media, photos, reporting from the field… it’s exploding
• Print needs digital to survive
• It is inevitable that print partners with advertisers
• People will pay a huge amount for something they really love
• “Smash the mirror”- looking into a rear-view mirror doesn’t help us move forward
• Traveler is a huge success, yet wake up every day feeling that they are behind the 8-ball, shift will continue to happen
• Change happens faster than ever- embrace it
• Listen more closely than ever to the customer- what, when, how, how often to consumer- bring them into the text- be partners
• Be flexible- yesterday’s rules are today’s barriers
• Be media and distribution agnostic- It’s content first, channels later
• Go back to school- but your employees may be your best teachers. The walls between young and old have completely broken down- learn from one another. Intuition is critical in an organization. Young people know this world, listen- then lead
• Even if you’re the boss- don’t be afraid to say you don’t know- go into discussions not knowing the answer
• Spend 30% of your time creating new content models and revenue streams
• Steal from the best- no matter what industry or source
• Experiment- don’t be afraid to fail. 60% success rate is incredibly good- need to do more with less
• Print is a piece of the puzzle- of the media pie.
• The stories are what drive media- not the pipeline- don’t lose sight of that

ACT 5 Experience: The Future of Digital Begins with Print… Day One


Michael Clinton and Roy Reiman: Spot-On and Into the Future

By Lisa Scott, Executive Director, Periodical & Book Association of America (PBAA)

Can “Mr. Magazine” Samir Husni do it again? How can he possibly improve on the past four informative, entertaining, provocative conferences? If Tuesday night’s welcome and keynote address are a preview of the next few days, the bar has been raised yet again at Ole Miss!

Take an engaged and well-fed crowd of 175 speakers, guests, students, and attendees from around the world and add a dose of Roy Reiman’s plain-spoken yet “spot-on” insights into why this conference matters, and how he’s managed to have fun while achieving unique publishing success. Then bring on Michael Clinton who wowed the audience with a myriad of spectacular and inspiring Hearst magazine strategies, successes, and new ventures under the banner of “Magazine Media- Why the Future is Bright.” Mr. Clinton’s energy and passion were contagious and a source of terrific ideas for discussion in the classroom and in the workplace.

Some take-aways from Tuesday evening…

IMG_6480 From Roy Reiman (founder, Reiman Publications):
• The Act conference brings together people who are “doers instead of dreamers” who are not afraid to share both their mistakes and their successes
• Content should be so well done, so interesting, so desired by readers that they will pay
• Know your readers- for Our Iowa and Our Wisconsin they enjoy the “hunt” for “needles in a haystack”- in this case the letter “I” or “W” in ads- resulting in thousands of entries for advertiser prizes which drive readers to report that they “read” ads first in the magazine, which drives advertisers to sign multiple issue and full year contracts without a real ad sales person.
• Creativity is the engine that powers publishing
• “The day that this isn’t fun, I quit”

IMG_6484 From Michael Clinton (President, Marketing and Publishing Director of Hearst Magazines):
• Our children and grandchildren will still read print: “I’m with my people here at Act”
• Design your covers and content based on what you know your readers want
• Get the “pulse of the zeitgeist” to know what Americans are looking for
• Continuing investment in launching new print magazines speaks to the vitality of the medium
• If print is dying, why was the 2014 launch of Hearst’s Dr. Oz, the Good Life, such a fantastic success- it sold out on newsstand, had 300,00 subs in 4 months
• Magazine readership is relatively constant at 187 million, while there is massive disruption of TV audiences
• Hearst “Unbound”- magazine brands now exist on a global scale, on many platforms: social media, you tube videos, website, mobile, tablet, targeted editions (Cosmo for Latinas, for example)
• Audience matters- instead of measuring ad pages- now launched “Magazine Media 360” to measure how readers are connected to magazines across multiple platforms
• Printing innovations are bringing paper to life, as with Marie Claire five “origami” covers, zippered “jeans” cover
• Every reader comes into a magazine through the cover- need “stickability and viewability”
• Activating consumers off the page- rolls into e-commerce to drive immediate purchase of products in the magazine
• Geo and database targeting are targeting products to readers –editorially and with advertising
• Challenge is how to get advertisers to pay for the creative sales work editors are doing for them
• Traditional advertisers didn’t tell the consumer “what to do”- now they are sending the consumer to their website and driving immediate sales
• Magazine readers own tablets, but tablet reading is averaging only 4% of magazine readership
• You must shed your legacy thinking as a magazine publisher- need to wear a digital hat
• Hearst Digital Media – Months to Moments- to be competitive you have to be constantly posting and updating websites… the brand must be elastic- go wide to cover everything that (for example) a millennial woman might be interested in
• Go big or go home
• Brand integration (advertising with editorial) is a continuing focus for editors
• New series #GOBOLD to find “the new provocateur” is extending Hearst brands in many way and driving viewers back to print
• Fresh, new good ideas can build a great product in print- but you need to go beyond that
• Don’t give away your editorial- web content is not the same as the print product
• Keep your readers excited about the brand
• Getting advertisers to share revenue with magazines as the result of sales through the interactive branded products is like “affiliate marketing”- publishers need to develop this revenue stream

Welcome to the ACT 5 Experience… the Full Agenda and the Director’s Welcome

The Magazine Innovation Center proudly presents its fifth ACT (Amplify, Clarify and Testify) October 7 to 10. The full agenda of the program that is themed The Future of Digital Begins with Print can be accessed here.

Click on the video below to hear the welcoming remarks of Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.

Follow us at #micact5 and join the conversation live at #actchat

Three Meredith Executives to Speak at the ACT 5 Experience…

act5_banner.png Two top Meredith executives will deliver keynote speeches at the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 5 Experience and a third top executive from Meredith will be on a panel during the third day of the Experience.

Meredith, through a grant, helped establish the Magazine Service Journalism program at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism in 1984. The program and its founder Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni are celebrating 30 years of magazine journalism at Ole Miss.

Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief of Parents and American Baby, and Content Director for the Meredith Parents Network will open the program on Thursday Oct. 9. Alysia Borsa, SVP/Chief Data Officer, Meredith Digital will appear later in the day on a panel discussion with Jim Elliott and other executives from the advertising/marketing industry. Tom Witschi, EVP and President, Women’s Lifestyle Group, Meredith Corporation will deliver the keynote address that will end the day.

To register for the ACT 5 Experience click here
and to see the complete agenda click here.

Tom Witschi
Picture 6 Tom Witschi is EVP and President of the Women’s Lifestyle Group at Meredith Corporation. In this role he oversees Meredith Corp.’s home, lifestyle and food-related businesses for key titles including MORE, Fitness, Every Day with Rachael Ray, EatingWell, and Allrecipes magazines. He is also responsible for the P&L of the businesses across multiple platforms including print, digital, content licensing and custom publishing.

Previously, Witschi was CEO of the EatingWell Media Group, which was acquired by Meredith Corporation in June 2011. During his tenure at EatingWell, which he joined in late 2005, Witschi transformed the business, tripling revenue and creating strong growth and profitability. He helped lead the significant diversification of the brand from a flagship bimonthly magazine (which now reaches more than 3 million readers) to multiple platforms, including a robust website (which garners close to 4 million unique users a month), content and brand licensing, custom publishing, and consumer cookbooks and health books. The EatingWell brand is now a leading source of science-based nutrition advice; delicious, easy and healthy recipes; and useful shopping information.

Witschi also oversees Meredith Content Licensing (MCL), which provides strategic content distribution sales and service for existing intellectual property assets created by the National Media Group. MCL works with over 80 companies in multiple business sectors including healthcare, supermarket retail, media and CPG.

Before joining EatingWell, Witschi served as VP, New Business Development and International for Golf Digest Companies where he oversaw the group’s non-magazine assets including web, books, international licensing, golf schools, and retail catalogues.

Previously, Witschi was Vice President/International Publisher at Reader’s Digest Association (RDA), where he oversaw 46 editions of the flagship magazine outside of the U.S. Publisher. Prior to that, he served as Publisher of The Family Handyman, at RDA.

From 1991 to 1994, Witschi served as Publisher of the Photography Group then as Group Publisher of Consumer Electronics Group at Hachette Filipacchi Media. Earlier in his career, Witschi held various sales and sales management positions at Hachette/CBS Magazines.

Witschi was selected as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 Award in the New England.

A graduate of University of Vermont, Witschi resides in Darien, Connecticut with his wife and three children.

Alysia Borsa

Picture 7 Alysia Borsa is the Senior Vice President/Chief Data Officer of Mobile and Data Products at Meredith Digital, where she has successfully led Meredith’s data, tablet and mobile strategy, in addition to overseeing data infrastructure, business intelligence, analytics, data science and operations for Meredith Digital. Borsa joined Meredith Digital in 2011 in a new role responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of key initiatives that differentiate and fully leverage the company’s broad assets in the mobile and consumer data marketplace.

Prior to joining Meredith, she held leadership roles with a range of technology and media companies including Nokia and Comcast, among others. In addition, her background features working as a consultant for a variety of technology and media companies to provide them with strategic planning and insights around product development and consumer engagement.

Her experience also includes innovating mobile and digital products, with responsibilities covering strategic planning, partner relationships, data and analytics, marketing, and product development.

Borsa is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University where she earned a Bachelor of Business degree. She also earned an MBA from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Borsa resides in Manhattan with her family and is based in Meredith’s offices in New York City.

Dana Points
Picture 8 Dana Points is the Editor-in-Chief of Parents and American Baby, and the Content Director for the Meredith Corporation’s Parents Network brands, which include Family Fun, Parents Latina, Ser Padres and Siempre Mujer.

Dana joined Meredith in 2008 and, under her guidance, Parents has won more than 40 awards recognizing its excellence for editorial and design, including a National Magazine Award nomination, and debuted its first monthly digital issue in April 2011.

Before joining Parents as Editor-in-Chief, Points worked as an editor specializing in women’s health and well-being for more than 15 years. She was named Executive Editor of Self in August 1999. At Self, she also edited the food magazine Self Dishes, as well as the magazine’s book 15 Minutes to Your Best Self.

Points has also been Executive Editor of American Health for Women, a Reader’s Digest publication, and has held editorial positions with Mademoiselle and Family Circle. She is a member of the board of trustees of the March of Dimes and serves on the board of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization working to prevent unintentional childhood injuries. Points has appeared on “Today” and “Good Morning America”, as well as on CNN. She was chosen as one of MIN’s 21 Most Intriguing People of 2010.

A graduate of Barnard College, Points lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Vanessa Bush, Editor in Chief of ESSENCE Magazine, to Deliver Keynote Address, ACT 5 Experience, Wed. Morning Oct. 8

Vanessa Bush.jpg Vanessa Bush is editor in chief of ESSENCE magazine. In this role, Bush serves as the brand’s editorial leader and oversees the magazine’s content and vision.

Bush first joined ESSENCE more than a decade ago as Beauty and Fashion Features Editor, where she directed all style and beauty sections. In 2003, she was named Lifestyle Director, responsible for coverage including food, home, parenting and technology. Additionally, Bush was a member of the editorial features team, writing and editing numerous impactful stories on subjects ranging from teen dating violence to childhood obesity. In 2005, she was named Executive Editor, managing the editorial team to implement the brand’s creative vision, as well as overseeing staffing, systems, operations and the magazine’s operating budget.

Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life and Glamour.

An award-winning journalist and coauthor of the bestselling beauty and empowerment book, Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out, Bush has been a featured guest on several national television networks, including NBC’s TODAY Show; MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. and Melissa Harris Perry; CNN; HLN; HuffPost Live and more.

Bush received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and her Master of Science in magazine concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She sits on the board of ColorComm, a networking organization for women of color in communications. Her recent honors include recognition among The Grio 100 honorees for 2014, a distinguished Alumni Award from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and an American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Award nomination for General Excellence in the Service and Lifestyle category.

Bush resides with her family in North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Check the entire agenda of the ACT 5 Experience here.

Michael Clinton to Keynote Opening Session of ACT 5 Experience…

Picture 26 Michael Clinton, president, marketing & publishing director, Hearst Magazines is set to be the opening keynote speaker at the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 5 Experience in Oxford, Mississippi. The Experience takes place Oct. 7 to 10 and includes the 30th anniversary celebration of the first ever magazine service journalism program in the United States of America.

Michael A. Clinton was named president, marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines in June 2010. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Hearst Corporation. Formerly, Clinton was the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, a position he had held since January 2001.

His responsibilities include overseeing the publishing side of Hearst titles: Car and Driver, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s BAZAAR, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Town&Country, Woman’s Day and Veranda.

In addition, Clinton oversees all digital, iPad/tablet, corporate sales and marketing, brand development and advertiser e-commerce initiatives for Hearst Magazines.

Clinton joined Hearst in October 1997 as senior vice president, chief marketing officer, and added group publisher responsibility for five titles, including Esquire and House Beautiful, in 1998. Prior to his time at Hearst, Clinton was executive vice president of Condé Nast Publications, where he oversaw sales and marketing for the company’s 15 national titles, including Vogue, Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest.

Prior to that, as Condé Nast’s senior vice president of group sales and marketing, Clinton revamped the company’s multi-title sales and marketing organization, which accounted for 50 percent of its total revenue.

Clinton spent a total of 10 years at GQ magazine, including six years as publisher—at the time, the company’s youngest publisher. He delivered the three most profitable years in the magazine’s history up to that time, and oversaw the launch of GQ in the U.K. and Japan.

Before joining GQ as advertising manager, Clinton was at Fairchild Publications, in both editorial and ad management positions.

Clinton is the founder and president of the non-profit organization, Circle of Generosity. He has served as chairman of the board of the Volunteers of America, as well as on the boards of The Starlight Foundation and Lifetime Television Network. Clinton has led expeditions to Nepal, Patagonia, and to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Starlight. He also serves as a trustee for the International Center of Photography.

In addition, he is chairman of the MPA – Association of Magazine Media. The Pitt News, the campus newspaper of his alma mater, honored him by creating the Michael Clinton Award for Distinguished Service in Publishing, in his name.

Clinton is an avid traveler and photographer. He has held a number of gallery exhibitions. He is the author of six books, Wanderlust: 100 Countries, A Personal Journey, a collection of essays and photographs from all seven continents; Global Snaps; Global Faces; American Portraits from 100 Countries; Global Remains; and The Globetrotter Diaries (all published by Glitterati, Inc.).

Clinton graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics and political science from the University of Pittsburgh, and earned his M.B.A. from Pace University’s Lubin Graduate School of Business. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Pace University.

To register for the ACT 5 Experience click here

Magazine Innovation Center Presents: A Think and Do Experience. Meet the Speakers of the ACT 5 Experience

amplify_logo What has become an obligatory annual pilgrimage to the Magazine Innovation Center in Oxford, MS, the Amplify, Clarify and Testify (ACT) Experience, is the only think and do experience that puts the magazine and magazine media experts together with other industry experts from all over the world in addition to 25 to 30 magazine students (future industry leaders) from The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The goal of the Experience is to generate executable ideas for the magazine and magazine media industries. Space is limited so the sooner you register, the better the chances that you will be able to join the ACT 5 Experience. Click here to register or get more information.

This year’s experience takes place Oct. 7-10 and features (as of today with many more to come) some of the biggest and brightest names in magazine and magazine media industry leaders. The confirmed speakers so far are (in alphabetical order):

Gil Brechtel
President, Magazine Information Network (MagNet)
Alysia Borsa
SVP, Data and Mobile, Meredith Corp.
Vanessa Bush
Editor in Chief, Essence magazine, Time Inc.
Craig Chapman
Producer, Real Food Real Kitchens
Michael Clinton
President, Marketing and Publishing Director of Hearst Magazines
Steve Davis
President, Kantar Media’s SRDS
James Elliott
President, The James G. Elliott Company
Robert Hanna
Co-Founder and SVP Sales, Burst Media
John Harrington
Publisher, The New Single Copy
Brian Hoffman
EVP/Chief Creative Officer, Hoffman Media
Dana Points
Content Director, Meredith Parents Network
John Puterbaugh
EVP & Chief Digital Officer, Nellymoser
Malcolm Netburn
Chairman, CDS Global
Bob Sacks
Founder, Precision Media
Lisa Scott
Executive Director, Periodical and Book Association of America
Greg Sullivan
Co-founder and CEO, AFAR Media
Espen Tollefsen
CEO, Interpress, Norway
Bryan Welch
Publisher & Editorial Director, Ogden Publications
Haines Wilkerson
Chief Creative Officer, Morris Media Network
Tom Witschi
EVP, Women’s Lifestyle Brands, Meredith Corp.

Click here to register.


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