Mags hold their own in dynamic times

13 Oct,2011

 

By Akash Raha

The 38th FIPP World Magazine Congress ended on an emphatic note on October 12, 2011, with several engaging sessions discussing various aspects of magazine publishing ending with a gala evening at Kingdom of Dreams.

One of the major sponsors of the event Jussi Pesonen, CEO, UPM gave the welcome address at the Kingdom of Dreams.

The day began with Mr Chris Llewellyn, President and CEO, FIPP, UK speaking about FIPP. He explained the various aspects of it, such as meetings and events, information and professional developments. The properties of FIPP include Worldwide Media Marketplace, Digital Innovation Summit, FIPP Research Forum 2012. FIPP also encourages researches such as Innovations in Magazine 2011 World Report, Magazine World and World Magazine Trends etc. Speaking about the efficacy of FIPP, Mr Llewellyn said, “I would especially like to mention the influence of FIPP in a fast-developing market, where we have helped several publishers grow better and faster.”  He also said that Korean publishers had approached FIPP and it is now planning an Asia-specific event next September apart from one in Central America next November.

 

What advertisers want from magazine media

Mr Jim James, Director, Haymarket Media Group, UK moderated the session which discussed what the advertisers want magazine publishers to do in these times of dynamic changes.  He said, “Perhaps it is a most important question what advertisers want from the magazines. Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions, UK began the discussion by talking about what advertisers want not only from the magazines but from the whole media mix. He began by talking about Cannes Lions and, which is event that celebrates creativity of communication. “Over the years we have seen more and more marketers, who were earlier, obsessed with ROIs, attending a creative event. Why is that so? It is because creativity drives effectiveness…So the question is not really what the advertisers want from the magazine. Rather, what the magazine publishers can grab from what the advertisers have to offer.” Citing examples he said, “Clients value creativity, it drives their business.” Mr Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, Group M, South Asia said, “In spite of the ad revenues seeing a growth, the growth of magazines has been rather stagnant, and that is a cause of worry. The question is where does the surplus go?  Lately, it has gone into digital mediums.” He went on to say that “Even though Indian magazines publishers are a very creative bunch, they are apologetic about numbers. Content and creativity is the heart of the business, and all they need to do is be passionate about their product.” He also observed that a lot more innovations are happening on digital mediums than on magazines. Mr Tomas Ernberg, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India said, “I think the future of magazine industry will be like what happened with the locomotive industry after a while – based on consolidation… The three important questions that one focuses on, is when we are going to advertise, what we are going to advertise and what is the mix we are going to advertise. Also, it is essential to know the psychography, belief and habits of the customer. If a magazine publisher can tell us exactly what his audience is like, there is no reason why an advertiser won’t advertise.”

 

B2b Publishing: Keeping the community engaged in a 360-degree environment

There are significant changes which have happened in the b2b space since the growth and acceptance of digital. The panelists of this session deliberated on this at WMC2011. Ms Yuko Tanaka, Director, International Sales, Marketing and Communications, Nikkei BP, Japan spoke about her group’s 39 periodicals, 17 websites which are both free access and paid access. She stressed on the importance of 3 key points of focus for Nikkei BP in 2011, Social Media, Smart phones and integration. She said, “Smart phones are gaining popularity as a device, so a need to create to content for that platform. Our research shows that different users access our website through different devices at different times in a day. There are evident trends, for instance, that show more users are accessing Nikkei BP info through iPhones in the day and more on iPad at night. There is a need to not just develop apps for smartphones but also optimize views from smart phones.” She said that there is a need for integration of digital marketing with content and users at the core. “Deeping engagement is like filling a glass with water, except earlier print was the only water you could fill your glass with. It is important to understand your glass or your audience to deepen their engagement with your brand (publication),” she concluded.

Mr Kevin Costello, Chief Executive, Haymarket Media, UK said, “We have used technology to develop and engage our audience –  60 percent of our revenues come from print, 27 percent from digital and online, and 13 percent from face to face… Internet/Digital meant we had to compete more aggressively to get audience attention. We were faced by the sheer complexity and uncertainty of how technology would evolve. The issue is not just providing content as experts, but how to package content in a certain way that engages users at a greater level. We need to gather enough data on our audience to engage them. If we ask our audience something, we also have to listen to them and provide answers; we should know how our audience wants to interact with us.”

Mr Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, Cyber Media, India said, “If you look at a 360 degree environment, then changes in b2b publishing have happened far before changes in b2c publishing. Out of 55 percent revenues that come from ads, 15 percent comes from Digital and 30 percent from events. We have been continuously experimenting with new technology, so that we can continually engage our audience… Adding to this revenue model, we are coming up with a new category, ‘Integrated Programmes’. These will be across media, and we plan to get 10 percent of our revenues from this category. The advantage in this model is that advertisers can engage right across to their audience with integration of different media.”

 

Successful business model for multi-platform publishing

Traditional magazine business used to be simple at one pint of time; however, it is not so any more with multiple platforms. The debate at hand was what a successful business model in such an environment is. Mr Paul Keenan, CEO, Bauer Media, UK presented what he called ‘A new dynamic for a new economy of ideas’. He started off by giving a brief overview of this dynamic. Procurement and consolidation forms the dynamic leading to commoditizing the media. “One of the biggest challenges we face is the explosion of media with multi platforms. Hence, magazine today needs to scale outstanding products that are different and better. Moreover, they have to do that with creativity.” He gave several examples of magazine innovations and multi-platform creativity to drive home his point. Thereafter, Mr Peter A Kreisky, Chairman, Kreisky Media Consultancy, USA, spoke about the integration of modern technology with old media. He said, “One of the questions that we ask in the dynamic environment of change is, what are the constants? Our trusted magazine brands, curated and valued content, and our relationship with our readers are the constants and that is something which me must focus on. And between and around that we have to build various business models… Moreover, we have to learn to harness digital eco systems. Ms Kalli Purie, Chief Operating Officer, India Today Group Digital, India gave several examples from her group and explained how multi-platform publishing works, and all that to create a successful business model. India Today is one of the largest media conglomerate with a newspaper, a few channels, digital, several magazines, events etcetera. Talking about news she said, “We try to do more exclusives. Exclusive in a world where news is commodity can make or break a media house. Celebrity power is something we understand. For example, a brand like Shahrukh Khan can help sell not only Bollywood movies but magazines too.” She added “We are a big group and we often believe in curating rather than creating. That helps in cutting costs and yet generating revenue. We don’t want to add our cost burden. We want to be lean and thin and curate content across the group and yet make profits.”

 

Editorial challenges and opportunities in a 360 degree environment

Speaking on the topic Mr Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic, USA said, “It is important to build a community to keep the promise of your brand – a community of editors, photographers, designers, assistants etc… In a 360 degree environment, the need is to integrate. It is ridiculous to leave out editors, photographers saying that they don’t understand video, or they don’t understand the new platform. How can you say let’s turn it to someone else because they don’t understand the medium.” He said that there are creative people who are out to tell stories and they will do so irrespective of the medium. “At Nat Geo we take good pictures, because our teams are motivated to do their jobs, introducing video is not going to change anything about a good photographer. He will still take good pictures.”

Mr Mathias Plica, Managing Director, CHIP Xonio Online, Germany said, “CHIP Magazine and CHIP Online – one international brand but two successful complementary products. Brand CHIP is about digital consumer technology. While the Brand strategy is common to CHIP magazine and CHIP online, they have different product strategies. While CHIP magazine is premium paid for content, online is about free content for mass consumer market. The content strategy for CHIP Magazine is to understand what is going on in digital technology, more investigative. But content strategy for online, is about answering three questions. What should I take? Where can I get it? How do I use it? It’s about answering millions of users as opposed to magazine, where you are talking about overall trends.”

Jim Jacovides, Vice President – International, Time Inc, USA citing Sports Illustrated as a case study said, “SI was first published in 1964, so it’s as traditional as a magazine can get. Some content will overlap in traditional and new media but some will have to be crafted especially for the new media. If we look at the print and iPad workflow, edit, art and photos are common to both. Change sets in when looking at layouts, and some extra content. For instance, the ipad app of SI introduced more photos (additional to the print mag), videos, podcasts, links etc… While the idea remains the same behind content, it just gets enhanced in the digital in a different way, because it is specifically designed to be interactive.”

 

Paper’s dynamic future

The session discussed the future of print in the current media mix. The session was moderated by James Hewes, Publishing Director – Magazine, BBC Worldwide. Ulbe Jelluma, Marketing Manager, Print Power, Belgium said, “Print Power is an initiative that started two years ago. The idea is to promote print media to advertisers and media buyers. We believe that print media has a role to play in an integrated media plan. Research shows that pro print campaigns have been effective. We also have support of major advertisers, some of whom write testimonials on how they use print media in their integrated plan. Research also shows that importance of ‘online advertising’ as a subject for search (Google searches) is declining. Research also shows that perception magazine effectiveness is increasing, which mean magazines have grown in confidence. The challenge print media faces is how will Generation Y influence marketing, advertising and media decisions? Media consumption in this gen y is shaped by multi-tasking. So you’ll have to keep your content like that- more pictures, no long articles, because this gen Y doesn’t have the attention span to go through lengthy articles. Research also shows that magazine-reader relationship has grown steadily. Print media engage readers- readers have a strong relationship with magazines; and as a result, advertisements benefit from this strong relationship. Print media also has better recall content.” Jyrki Ovaska, President, Paper Business Group, UPM, Finland said, “The important issue to address is, can paper and print be dynamic. In this digitalized world? We’ve got to adjust to new demands. Some of the successful magazine editions, have adapted to new unique technology integrations, like Vide magazine, came out with an edition, in which an ad was powered with a chip, so it would play when you flipped the page. These kind of technological advances can be easily integrated into the traditional format to make a lasting impact. The need is to mart new technology ideas or forms with paper. Research shows that uniqueness of printed paper appeals to all five senses. The paper consumption might have seen a decline with an onset of broadband, wifi etc. but there is research that shows, printed magazine is the most preferred way of reading magazines in every age group (in US). Print is seen as an effective media with high advertising reach.  18 percent media use will get 42 percent of advertising revenue.”

 

Engagement and magazine Media

In a country like India, engagement in social media and digital media is limited to a handful of titles. The panels discussed how will the environment change with the advent of 3G and the expected proliferation of tablets. Also, a comparison was made with the Indian experience vis-à-vis what is happening in the international markets. Mr Guy Consterdine, CEO, Guy Consterdine Associates, UK was the moderator of the session and said, “Engagement can be measured in term of behaviours and attitude. But is engagement universal across the globe? Is engagement from magazines in India same or different from that in USA and Europe?” Mr Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media, India said that magazine are an engaging medium which, unfortunately for the publishers can garner only 3 percent of the ad revenues. He said that the quest of magazine publishers is to want more of the ad pie, hence they have come out with the ‘Engagement Study’. He said “There are expectations from the ‘Engagement Study’ that we have done, and our fraternity has a lot of expectation from ES too.” Giving a background to the Indian media scenario Mr Rai said “The speed at which media in India has galloped is immense. Only a few decades back, three decades ago we had only one television channel. Even in 1990’s there were only six television channels. Today in India we have 515 television channels. As a matter of fact, recently a study proves me wrong and said that there are 745 TV channels in India. And it’s not just TV channels; it’s all forms of media that is growing at a staggering pace. We have 400 radio stations, third largest internet user population in the world, mobile and now ipad too has a lot of penetration. And then there is YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and gaming too. And I have yet not included the large number of print publications (NP and magazines).”

He went on to say, “Since there is so many medium it is leading to ‘unconscious filtering’ on the part of the audience. Because there is so much information one does not know what the right information is any more. This leads to the consumer being anxious. A lot of this information came from the quantitative research we did. And It is proven by research (not just by our research but many others) that the consumer today multi tasks and is involved on several mediums at the same time. Always being on media is contributing to a lot of noise. There is so much noise that there is a huge risk of the message getting lost… We believe that magazine gives the message minus the noise and is engaging. But why believe a magazine publisher and someone from the industry body? Hence we did a study conducted by two independent research organizations.” Thereafter, in a video presentation he showcased the finding of the engagement study.

Thereafter, Ms Esther Braspenning, International Advertising Resource Manager, Sanoma Media, Belgium said that researches across the world suggest that magazines are extremely engaging, much more than other forms of media. At an average, the pickup of a magazine is 6 times and each time the reader reads it for 15 mins. She gave examples and quoted figures from various researches to drive home her point. She went on to say that “Magazines are close to people, like a personal friend and create a world of their own. Magazine can engage in different way and it is a guide, a status symbol etc.” She also said that digital magazine is an opportunity which publishers must try and appropriate. She said that very little research has been done on it yet, still the scope seems immense.” She ended her presentation by saying “Despite the difference in language and culture the character of the medium appeals the same everywhere.” Mr Consterdine ended the session by saying “We are fundamentally getting the same result in terms of engagement in both India and abroad. Clearly, engagement is a worldwide phenomenon and is a characteristic of the print magazine.”

 

The 360 degree opportunity: View from the top

In the following session a panel of leading CEO’s addressed how their companies are responding to the issues and opportunities facing media companies today. Aroon Purie, Chairman of FIPP, and Chairman and Editor in Chief, India Today Group was the moderator of this session and he asked the panelist several intriguing questions. When asked how he will spend his monies between digital and print, Mr Pierre Lamuniere, Chairman and Group, Publishers, Edipresse, Switzerland said, “We will like to develop and launch news magazines. However, we are as much of a believer of print as in internet. Hence we will give them a 50-50 priority and that is how we will spend our money on the two.”

On how the business model of his company was changing Mr Maurizio Costa, Deputy Chairman and CEO, Arnoldo Mondadori, Italy said, “For us one major issue for us was international development. For a long time we were limited to Italy. However, now we have about 35 percent of it outside Italy in both magazine and books. Grazia, for example, is available in many markets of the world.” When asked how much of digital spends (in terms of percentage) the group will do in the next 2-3 years , Mr Costa said that the ideal number for them would be 10-15 percent of digital and the rest in print.

When asked to contrast pint and digital Phil Scott, Managing Director, ACP Magazines, Australia said, “We are chiefly magazine publishers and we are very happy doing that. As a matter of fact we are very good at it too. We are very comfortable to stick to print being our chief product. We will continue to invest in print.  We will be launching not only print magazines but applications for tablets too. Digital is absolutely vital for the future but our chief concern will remain print.”

Rupert Heseltine, Chairman, Haymarket, UK said, “We have to fight the traditional label of traditional media that has been thrust upon us. There is nothing traditional and old about us. Nothing that I saw in the last two days is traditional.   As a matter of fact, we are new, innovative and creative in all the way.”

 

Conclusion

The day was concluded by Mr Llewellyn who thanked all the delegates for making it a wonderful congress. He also commemorated Mr Tarun Rai for becoming the new AIM President. Thereafter, Mr Aroon Purie congratulated the audience for the wonderful conference and thanked FIPP board for giving him the opportunity. Mr Purie handed over the Chairmanship of FIPP to David Hill, President and CEO, IDG International Publishing Services.

The next magazine congress is set to take place in Rome, Italy. Mr Maurizio Costa, Deputy Chairman and CEO, Arnoldo Mondadori, Italy, made this announcement.

 

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony of the World Magazine Congress 2011 happened over a gala evening at Kingdom of Dreams. Mr Jussi Pesonen, CEO, UPM gave the vote of thanks. The evening included great performances at the Kingdom of Dreams followed by spectacular fireworks. It was followed by dinner and cocktail.

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