In addition to digital, a major theme of Day 2 (May 15) at FIPP's 36th World Magazine Conference held in Beijing was advertising. And despite a decline in numbers, all of the speakers believed that the attractiveness of magazines would prevail.
In the morning's opening session, ‘Advertising and Magazines: Asian and Global Trends’, Tateo Mataki, President & CEO of Dentsu Inc, Japan, said that he still believes that the fact that magazines can be read without placing any stress on the individual's time gives them a distinct advantage.
"Magazines reach the hearts of readers and gain their trust, serving to enhance value," he said. "The time that people spend reading magazines is a rewarding time during which they are most receptive to messages.”
Mataki said that in Japan, the Internet was changing consumption. "It has shifted from the AIDMA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Memory and Action, to AISAS: Attention, Interest, Search, Action and Share."
He added, "Magazines reflect current consumer lifestyles, provide readers with dreams and information, and they stimulate consumption. Magazine launches closely tie to the needs of consumers."
Increasing magazines’ share of advertising pie
In the session ‘Increasing Magazines' Share of the Advertising Market’, moderator Jack Griffin, President, Meredith Publishing Group, USA, led a discussion between Peter Phippen, Managing Director, BBC Magazines, UK; Michael Zhang, MD, MediaCom, China; and Brian Segal, President & CEO, Rogers Publishing, Canada. All four shared Mataki's opinion that magazines are still attractive to advertisers - and the only medium where ads are not intrusive.
"Magazines are the one medium where advertisements are considered a valued part of the package, particularly in specialty magazines where ads offer inspiration and ideas," said Griffin. "Magazines are portable and easy to use on their terms, when and where
they want. Advertising in magazines is more relevant to consumers than almost anything else."
Pippen echoed that sentiment: "Magazines are special because they get undivided attention. People opt into them, not out of them and research tells us that magazine advertising is actually welcome. They are the channel that converts the most to personal
Segal said that consumer magazine ad share in Canada has doubled in the last five years, jumping from four to eight per cent. He also believes that magazines have huge potential as far as advertising is concerned.
"I think magazines have an advantage over television or radio because we actually do create our own content," he said. "People don't watch television channels, they watch television shows. People read an entire magazine and that creates more reach."
Zhang gave the agency perspective and said that China's ad market is on the right track and has huge potential. "In China there are diversified media choices with magazines representing eight per cent and the Internet 13 per cent of ad spend. But magazines and the Internet play different roles. The Internet is much more functional, while magazines are emotional - consumers miss them when they don't have them."
The digital challenge
In the afternoon's first digital talk, Jeong-Woo Kil, President & CEO of JoongAng m&b, Korea, spoke about the Impact of ‘Digital Publishing on Print Media’ in Korea. According to him, the digital transformation is happening at an extremely rapid pace.
"Seventy-seven per cent of the total population is carrying a mobile phone and 76 per cent use the internet. By 2010, the digital content market will grow by 10.8% and by that time, the market will earn $15.2 billion," he predicted.
He said that in the last few years, new media has grown by 44 per cent in contrast with 8.7% in old media, and that online advertising is already ahead of magazine advertising ($840 million vs. $495 million).
So how are magazines rising to the digital challenge? They are taking three basic steps. First, they are modifying content to allocate through diverse channels and platforms. Second, they are reaching readers anytime and anywhere by using new technology and
devices; and third, they are using cross-media advertising to reach the market through many different platforms.
In ‘Strategy for Digital Magazine Publishing in Japan’, Masahiro Oga, President & CEO of Shogakukan Inc, Japan, said that his company has just started doing digital magazines.
"Shogakukan would like to explore and develop more," he said. "The corporate culture of our company is that we're going to develop the business and try some new things instead of focusing on our successes and failures."
Changing consumer tastes
In the afternoon's discussion on ‘Keeping Up with Changing Consumer Tastes and Habits’, Kate White, Editor, Cosmopolitan, USA, moderated the panel of Peng Changcheng, VP, Reader's Magazine Group, China; Mark Frith, Editor, heat magazine, Emap, UK; and Li Shuanke, President, China National Geographic.
Frith's magazine, heat, is a success story, jumping from 50,000 to 500,000 in sales in the last five years. "We've done that by successfully adapting to consumer tastes and habits," he said. "We found that our readers wanted to know that celebrities really look just like them, that they have bad hair days as well. This is a magazine that every six months - or at least every 12 months - has had to evolve."
White said that with Cosmopolitan, there has been a transfer of power from reader to editor. "Readers like to create content and have the need to find more and more ways to get in on the action. So give them the opportunity. Have a unique voice and vision and be true to that. Also, get personal with them. Reach out to your readers and let them know you know who they are," she advised.
Frith, echoing the message from Day 1 of the Congress, said that one must not resist change: "It's about knowing what they want. .If you see habits and tastes changing, you've got to change with them. You've got to keep them front of mind - that's all that matters."
Closing speaker Didier Quillot, CEO, Lagardère Active Media, France, again talked about change in the digital revolution but seemed confident in magazines' survival. "When the world changes, some elements of our success will never disappear," he said. "We have trusted brands and we have very powerful brands. We have premium content, editorial teams and very talented journalists. We know our readers, their tastes, their
interests, their community. We know our advertisers - what they want and expect."
Still, he knows it will be a significant effort to ensure these positive aspects outweigh the inevitable negatives. "Every time you transition, there is an upside and a downside. The Internet is going to take a part of the cake and some new players have already
established strong brands. The big danger for me is the Internet players who want to take our ad revenue. But digital will save us from distribution and production costs; there are potential paying services like commercial referrals, databases and classified ads; there are new digital opportunities to strengthen brands and re-publish magazine content; new communities for loyalty; and there are internet giants looking for premium content,” he said.
The Congress broke into four simultaneous breakout sessions before the closing ceremonies: Magazines in Developing Markets: Southeast Asia, India and Middle East; Magazine in Developing Markets: Audited Circulation and Readership Measurement; Magazines and Search Engines: Threat or Opportunity and Business Media's Global