Archive for January, 2019

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Linda Thomas Brooks To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: Magazines Are A Shortcut To All Knowledge… The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With The President and CEO Of The MPA – The Association Of Magazine Media, On 100 Years Of MPA Excellence & The Upcoming American Magazine Media Conference In New York City On February 5, 2019…

January 13, 2019

“What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.” Linda Thomas Brooks…

On February 5, 2019 at the beautiful Henry R. Luce Auditorium in New York City, 300 of the most influential people in the magazine media industry, including presidents and CEOs, top publishers, notable editors,  advertisers and working press, representing the decision makers from both publishing and content, will gather together to explore the power and influence of magazine brands and to celebrate magazine media’s long-standing, trusted relationship to both consumers and marketers.

The year 2019 also designates the 100thanniversary of the MPA – The Association of Magazine Media and Mr. Magazine™ (circa 1919) will step through the portals of time to discuss some of the top titles being published during that exceptional year of magazines. Just as today, there were ups and downs during that year, but magazines were on hand, reflecting society’s interests and issues, and of course, Mr. Magazine’s™ 100-year-old counterpart was there too, tabulating and buying every first edition he could get his hands on.

I spoke with MPA’s President and CEO, Linda Thomas Brooks recently about the American Magazine Media Conference and her upcoming third anniversary (January 15) at the helm of the MPA. Linda is excited and jubilant about the MPA’s marvelous past and about where the association is headed into the future. From Magazine Media 360° to the MPA’s Social Media Report which tracks social media performance, Linda is proud of the accomplishments the MPA has realized before and during her almost three year tenure.

And with the Kelly Awards ceremony and the Top 13 Hottest Launches of 2018, presented by today’s Mr. Magazine™, the February 5 event is chocked full of more fun, excitement and knowledge than can be believed.

Mr. Magazine™ hopes to see you there! And Mr. Magazine™ 1919 certainly invites you to attend as well, before it’s too late and he has to return to the magazines of the past.

So now, please enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media (with comments by Susan Russ, as well).

But first the sound-bites:

On the upcoming 100thanniversary of the MPA and why she thinks magazines and magazine media have lasted so long: I have 100 reasons, but you don’t need 100 reasons. What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.

On whether the upcoming conference is time to dwell on the past, on what a great 100 years it has been, or look forward to the next 100 years and the future: All of the above, of course. I think we need to own this amazing history that we have, but obviously looking forward is a big part of that. All of these brands have amazing plans, they’ve already made amazing transitions in their business and how they look at things. So, we’re going to celebrate all of that.

On how she feels the MPA is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago: I haven’t been around for too many of those 100 years (Laughs), but what’s interesting is the issues that were at the forefront 100 years ago are still relevant: dealing with how magazines get into consumers’ hands, and the postal, etc., but our role now is so much broader. When the MPA was started magazines had one format, one life, they were printed magazines. And now our magazines are print, digital, mobile, social and video content and they’re so robust and so dynamic. And why we’re relevant is because we have to stay on top of that, whether that’s things like measurement, like our social media engagement report where we try to put some metrics to it, or helping to advocate for issues that are important in the digital landscape, whether that’s privacy or any of the data issues.

On the points of differentiation between magazine media and the rest of the mass media that’s out there, especially in this day and age: It’s funny somebody else asked me if I had to say the one word that was going to be important in 2019 and I said it would be credibility and that was sort of my word because again, the digital media ecosystem, it’s a really interesting place; you can get lost for a long, long time in the content that’s out there. Some of it’s really good and some of it’s entertaining and some of it’s really horrible and some of it is downright evil. And not just the content, that’s not even getting into the data collection and the data uses. So, the credibility that magazine brands have, the care that they put into the content that they produce, again, across formats, is a really important distinction.

On whether she thinks people should take the conference as a whole package or should they make sure they don’t miss one certain topic: Well, they absolutely must be at my remarks, of course. (Laughs) No, seriously, I think it is the whole package because we’re addressing so many different issues across the day. Some of it talks about the print legacy, some of it talks about the way people are transforming across formats and using things like Instagram; some of them are business side people, some are editors. So, I think they’re all important, but if you look at them in isolation, you’re going to miss the bigger picture, which is how will those pieces come together.

On the longevity of magazine brands and magazine media and why we don’t celebrate them more: We’re going to. And it’s great that you’ve been helping us sort of figure out the trajectory and the path. A publisher asked me recently, they were doing an internal sales meeting and he was looking for some fun facts, and I gave him some of those to say that we really need to own this. It’s funny, I think the industry, and not just the magazine industry, but the broader media marketing industry sort of shied away from the word legacy like it was a bad thing. And I talk to people about that all of the time and ask them: isn’t a legacy what we all want? We want to leave professional legacies; we want to leave personal legacies for our children and our grandchildren, for the people who work for us.

On any other plans for celebration this year of the MPA’s 100thanniversary: I’m not sure about another special event, but hopefully we’ll be celebrating all year in the way that we talk about the business and the things that we highlight and through the facts and amazing background pieces that you’re uncovering. Part of what the MPA does is help our members come to grips with business issues and we spend all year working really, really hard internally with our members. And so I think looking for some additional opportunities to not only do the hard work, but even if it’s just a moment or two of celebration or the reflection of just looking back on what we’ve accomplished, I think that’s a really important thing.

On approaching her own third year anniversary with the MPA and whether she would liken it to a walk in a rose garden or similar to the marathons that Michael Clinton likes to run: Every day is a walk in the park. It’s funny, Michael and I have gotten comments about it, and I haven’t done as many marathons as he has, but I’m a runner too and I’ve done a number of them. In a lot of ways, I do liken this job to a marathon, because you know, in every job you have good days and you have bad days, you have challenges that didn’t exist, you have things that crop up that you have to deal with, and we always try to remember and to take the long view.

On the one thing she is most proud of accomplishing in those three years: Number one is really sort of focusing on new analytics that help explain the complexity of the magazine ecosystem, so Magazine Media 360, which actually preceded me, I can’t take credit for it, but I think we’ve enhanced and made that better, made it bigger and easier for people to use, and to really help explain how our magazine brands come to life across channels.

On anything she would like to add: Obviously, we’re really excited about the people who are going to be on the stage and sharing their perspective, but the cool thing about this conference too is just the interaction between all of the attendees. So, you’ve been coming long enough and you probably remember that we did that strolling lunch last year, and the impetus for that was our attendees, our members love talking to one another. They don’t want to sit still in one spot, they want to keep the conversations going.

On this being the first time the conference is being held at a magazine publisher’s instead of a hotel or conference venue: As far as we know, yes. Susan has a few more years than me, but we’re both relatively new, but yes, as far as we know this is the first time. And we’re really lucky. Meredith’s facility is so fantastically beautiful and we know that they get a lot of calls for that space, from inside and outside the industry. It’s just an incredible space and we’re really lucky that they’re willing to allow the industry to use it and for people to gather there, because it’s going to be fantastic.

And now for the lightly edited interview with Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO, MPA: The Association of Magazine Media:

Samir Husni: On February 5, 2019 during the American Magazine Media Conference, the MPA will be celebrating its centennial. Why do you think magazines and magazine media have lasted so long?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I have 100 reasons, but you don’t need 100 reasons. What’s interesting is it’s a word that gets overused now, this idea of influencers, but I think magazines and magazine brands and magazine editors were the original influencers. And when somebody wants to know something about whatever the topic is, travel or cooking or parenting or fashion or outdoor sports, or just whatever, magazines are sort of a shortcut to all of that knowledge.

Somebody put hours and hours of work into collecting and editing and curating this amazing set of information that I can just pick up on a whim and gain from all of their knowledge and perspective. That continues to be a very valuable package for consumers. I could go on the Internet and find all of that stuff, but Holy Cow, I don’t have time to do all of that. I have a day job.

Samir Husni: As you look forward to the conference in less than three weeks, are you going to dwell on the past, on what a great 100 years it has been, or you’re looking forward to the next 100 years and the future?

Linda Thomas Brooks: All of the above, of course. I think we need to own this amazing history that we have, but obviously looking forward is a big part of that. All of these brands have amazing plans, they’ve already made amazing transitions in their business and how they look at things. So, we’re going to celebrate all of that.

SamirHusni: How do you feel that the MPA is still as relevant today as it was 100 years ago?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I haven’t been around for too many of those 100 years (Laughs), but what’s interesting is the issues that were at the forefront 100 years ago are still relevant: dealing with how magazines get into consumers’ hands, and the postal, etc., but our role now is so much broader.

When the MPA was started magazines had one format, one life, they were printed magazines. And now our magazines are print, digital, mobile, social and video content and they’re so robust and so dynamic. And why we’re relevant is because we have to stay on top of that, whether that’s things like measurement, like our social media engagement report where we try to put some metrics to it, or helping to advocate for issues that are important in the digital landscape, whether that’s privacy or any of the data issues. So, we have a much bigger job now that magazines themselves are much more diverse businesses.

Samir Husni: I noticed some key words for the conference this year, such as trust and credibility. What do you feel are the points of differentiation between magazine media and the rest of the mass media that’s out there, especially in this day and age?

Linda Thomas Brooks: It’s funny somebody else asked me if I had to say the one word that was going to be important in 2019 and I said it would be credibility and that was sort of my word because again, the digital media ecosystem, it’s a really interesting place; you can get lost for a long, long time in the content that’s out there. Some of it’s really good and some of it’s entertaining and some of it’s really horrible and some of it is downright evil. And not just the content, that’s not even getting into the data collection and the data uses.

So, the credibility that magazine brands have, the care that they put into the content that they produce, again, across formats, is a really important distinction. And I think both consumers and marketers are starting to figure that out because there’s a lot of stuff out there that is unhealthy for a brand, unhealthy for a person to read or consume; unhealthy for our society.

Samir Husni: Needless to say, the conference is the largest gathering of magazine and magazine media makers in the country. If you were to point to one session, would it be the C-suite insights, the sales and marketing leadership, the business transformation; I mean, do you think people should take the conference as a whole package or should they make sure they don’t miss one certain topic? In other words, you might miss this, but definitely don’t miss that.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Well, they absolutely must be at my remarks, of course. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Linda Thomas Brooks: No, seriously, I think it is the whole package because we’re addressing so many different issues across the day. Some of it talks about the print legacy, some of it talks about the way people are transforming across formats and using things like Instagram; some of them are business side people, some are editors. So, I think they’re all important, but if you look at them in isolation, you’re going to miss the bigger picture, which is how will those pieces come together.

Samir Husni: As I look back at some of the history of magazines, I’ve been researching magazines from 1919 and also looking at the charter of the MPA and the folks who founded it, there are more than 55 magazine titles, brands, that are still being published today and more than 100 advertising brands that are still in business today. Can you think of any other entity that has survived through thick and thin, good and bad, the way magazines have? And why don’t we celebrate magazines even more?

Linda Thomas Brooks: We’re going to. And it’s great that you’ve been helping us sort of figure out the trajectory and the path. A publisher asked me recently, they were doing an internal sales meeting and he was looking for some fun facts, and I gave him some of those to say that we really need to own this. It’s funny, I think the industry, and not just the magazine industry, but the broader media marketing industry sort of shied away from the word legacy like it was a bad thing. And I talk to people about that all of the time and ask them: isn’t a legacy what we all want? We want to leave professional legacies; we want to leave personal legacies for our children and our grandchildren, for the people who work for us.

So, I think the fact that these magazine brands have this unbelievable legacy, and by the way, many of them were the earliest adopters on new ways to bring their brands to life too. And I think that is something that we need to celebrate more than we do.

Samir Husni: I know that the AMMC is going to be the beginning of the celebration for the MPA’s centennial, but what other plans do you have this year to celebrate such a milestone?

Linda Thomas Brooks: I’m not sure about another special event, but hopefully we’ll be celebrating all year in the way that we talk about the business and the things that we highlight and through the facts and amazing background pieces that you’re uncovering. Part of what the MPA does is help our members come to grips with business issues and we spend all year working really, really hard internally with our members. And so I think looking for some additional opportunities to not only do the hard work, but even if it’s just a moment or two of celebration or the reflection of just looking back on what we’ve accomplished, I think that’s a really important thing.

And sometimes just like in your everyday life, you have work to do and errands to run and you forget to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. And so we’re going to try and incorporate those moments all year.

Samir Husni: Talking about celebration, you’re approaching your own third anniversary at the MPA. Tell me, do you feel this journey at the MPA has been a celebration for you, a walk in a rose garden, or maybe one of those marathons that Michael Clinton likes to run?

Linda Thomas Brooks: (Laughs) Every day is a walk in the park. It’s funny, Michael and I have gotten comments about it, and I haven’t done as many marathons as he has, but I’m a runner too and I’ve done a number of them. In a lot of ways, I do liken this job to a marathon, because you know, in every job you have good days and you have bad days, you have challenges that didn’t exist, you have things that crop up that you have to deal with, and we always try to remember and to take the long view.

And to say that there are hard things that we need to help remember, there are issues on which we need to advocate, but always remembering why we’re doing it, which is that these brands matter. They matter to marketers and to consumers and to the world at large. And we want to make sure that we help those brands perpetuate themselves. I don’t want to live in a world where all media is crowdsourced. I want our brands to be around to inform and engage people and to bring people together on the basis of facts and culture and inspiration, and enlighten people. Those are all really important societal elements, beyond just advertising and marketing.

Samir Husni: If you look back at your three years so far with the MPA, and someone cornered you and asked you to name one thing you are most proud of, what would it be?

Linda Thomas Brooks: (Laughs) Can I have two?

Samir Husni: (Laughs too) Okay, the art of the deal, go ahead.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Number one is really sort of focusing on new analytics that help explain the complexity of the magazine ecosystem, so Magazine Media 360, which actually preceded me, I can’t take credit for it, but I think we’ve enhanced and made that better, made it bigger and easier for people to use, and to really help explain how our magazine brands come to life across channels.

And then related to that, the social media engagement tool is just another example and we have more tools in the works to help quantitatively explain the benefits of magazine media content. So, I’m really proud of that because it changed from just sort of an esoteric conversation to something that we can really point to the data and say: look, you don’t have to believe me, here are the comparable data facts that really prove the value of magazine brands.

And then also I think related to that is the focus again on quality content and helping to explain to people what goes into a magazine. Why is that such a beautiful thing? What’s behind it? And I know you’ve seen it, we did the first one at your conference, the Bubble Charts, where we deconstructed edits to show people what goes into it. We’ve done a number of those and some other exhibits and conversations like that.

I think for a while, as an industry, we forgot to explain to people why what we do is different than somebody just sitting down and opening their laptop and sharing their perspective. And so focusing again on the content and the quality of the content, and the process; what is the editorial process and what goes into it? I think that’s a really important element and another thing that I’m really proud of.

Susan Russ: And I would add conversations. Linda has conversations literally all day, every day. And I think that has really moved the deal in many, many areas, whether it be among the board, among our members, the people who are out on the street every day, and the marketers and the advertisers. So, there is a lot of really good, healthy conversation.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Susan Russ: I’ll just say that we obviously want everyone to attend the conference, but the agenda is really packed with star-studded magazine media luminaries. We have editors in chief from all over the spectrum of types and size, new magazines and older magazines, and I can’t remember any conference that has had such representation from so many leaders that are doing this business every single day.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Obviously, we’re really excited about the people who are going to be on the stage and sharing their perspective, but the cool thing about this conference too is just the interaction between all of the attendees. So, you’ve been coming long enough and you probably remember that we did that strolling lunch last year, and the impetus for that was our attendees, our members love talking to one another. They don’t want to sit still in one spot, they want to keep the conversations going.

So, we’re doing a similar thing this year at lunchtime, so that people have real food and don’t starve, but also have the chance to talk with one another. It’s not that they don’t know each other, but it’s hard for people to work in time for that in their day jobs. So, having that time to share and celebrate, to give one another some ribbing, just whatever it is, is really cool.

Then the awards at the end, including the recognition that you help us with, but also the Kelly’s and the people that we’re honoring from the industry. Again, I think just taking a few minutes to celebrate what is good and the work that gets done in our business.

Samir Husni: Isn’t this the first time that the event actually takes place at a magazine publisher’s and not at a hotel or a conference venue?

Linda Thomas Brooks: As far as we know, yes. Susan has a few more years than me, but we’re both relatively new, but yes, as far as we know this is the first time. And we’re really lucky. Meredith’s facility is so fantastically beautiful and we know that they get a lot of calls for that space, from inside and outside the industry. It’s just an incredible space and we’re really lucky that they’re willing to allow the industry to use it and for people to gather there, because it’s going to be fantastic.

And also I think it’s a cultural shift. I think for many, for a lot of years in the business people were sort of very competitive; a publisher from one house didn’t necessarily want to be at the other guy’s house, and I think that’s all changed now. People are still competitive in the marketplace, of course, but their very collegial and I think that they understand that there are many aspects of the business in which it helps to collaborate.

Samir Husni: And that sends a great message as far as the MPA’s centennial, because when the association was formed, all of these competitors, all of these 19 competitors, came together to help the membership and to help promote the business, rather than to promote their individual titles. It was more of a collective force, all working together from all of the aspects of the industry. And 100 years later, almost the same thing is happening.

Linda Thomas Brooks: Yes, here we are again.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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The 13 Hottest Magazine Launches Of 2018 — Mr. Magazine™ Teams Up With The MPA: The Association of Magazine Media To Present “The Launch Of The Year” At The American Magazine Media Conference Feb. 5, 2019…

January 7, 2019

As 2018 slipped through the portals of time and high-fived 2019 as they passed each other in the hallway of new magazines, we acknowledge that 2018 was a fantastic year for magazines and feel certain that 2019 will see just as much success. It is with that in mind that we are honored to once again celebrate those new titles that were born this past year. This time “The Launch of the Year” is being selected from all of the new magazines that were started from January 2018 through December 2018.

To honor and celebrate those new magazines, Mr. Magazine™ and MPA: The Association of Magazine Media will come together to pay tribute to “The Launch of the Year” during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York City on February 5, 2019.

There were 191 new magazine titles that arrived on the scene with the intent to publish on a regular frequency in 2018, and you can add to that another 600+ bookazines and specials that are not included in this selection. You can view all the new titles with frequency at the Mr. Magazine™ Launch Monitor here.

The criteria for the selection process is as follows:

  • We must have actual physical copies of them.
  • The number one criteria point is the audience’s reaction to that magazine. How did the overall marketplace react and how did its intended audience respond to it? And just as important; how did the industry behave toward it? These questions are the first thing I ask upon selection of “The Launch of the Year.”
  • Major industry leaders’ launching new print magazines certainly is something that must be recognized because it speaks of the power of the medium. These people aren’t in the business of wasting dollars on something that has no value. In the past there have been new offerings from publishing giants such as Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith and the southern-born Hoffman Media. For companies as distinguished and successful as these to create and bring new titles into this digital world signifies the good health and power of print.
  • And then there are the entrepreneurs, with their vision and determination to launch their magazine no matter the cost to their wallets and their emotions; they are no less amazing. Some of the best titles we’ve seen in a long time have been from relatively unknown publishers who are not without experience, just without the stolid names that audiences know so well.
  • The criteria for selection is based on factors that include creativity and audience reaction first and foremost, and then industry trends and as always, those rogue wildcards out there that just won’t be denied and seem to make some of the best magazines around.
  • Also, something has to grab our attention to be selected as “The Launch of the Year,” based on the comparative analysis.

Top 13 Launches for 2018 (in alphabetical order)

  1. Compulsive
  2. Ember
  3. Fleishigs
  4. Good Company
  5. Hungry Girl
  6. Jez
  7. Jugular
  8. Kitchen Toke
  9. L’Officiel USA
  10. Outboard
  11. Retro Fan
  12. Western Hunting Journal
  13. Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Compulsive

Are you interested in exploring captivating, compelling conversations? Then welcome to Compulsive Magazine. According to the title’s tagline, captivating and compelling is exactly how they create a comfortable space for their readers to enjoy the magazine. From beauty to health, inspirational articles to fashion and style, Compulsive is enthusiastic, passionate, and irresistible. And Mr. Magazine™ says welcome to the Top 13!

Ember

Born from a collaboration between the folks at Paper and a growing marijuana dispensary chain in Los Angeles called MedMen, Ember is one of the latest cannabis and cannabis culture magazines to hit newsstands. With the goal of destigmatizing and bringing marijuana into the everyday culture more and more, the magazine is a heady dose of all things cannabis, with ads that are as informative and compelling as the articles. Mr. Magazine™ thinks Ember burns brightly among the other weed-based titles and enjoyed the read “highly.” (Joking, of course).

 

Fleishigs

The word Fleishig means meat, pure and simple. From beef to poultry and the fat in between, kosher culinary culture involves keeping certain foods, such as meat, away from other certain foods, such as Milchigs, or dairy. Hence, a new food magazine all about the meat-centric point of view, without diluting the content away from the main vein: the meat. From the team behind Bitayavon and Joy of Kosher, this new kosher food magazine is brilliant. Recipes abound and the articles are as rich as the protein-filled subject matter. What a refreshing change of pace and an awesome way to explore the kosher lifestyle or enrich it!

Good Company

Inspired by the success of her latest book, “In the Company of Women” (now a New York Times Best Seller), Grace Bonney’s new print magazine, Good Company, provides motivation, inspiration, practical advice, and a vital sense of connection and community for women and non-binary creatives at every stage of their lives. Each issue of Good Company focuses on one overarching theme, including Change, Fear, Community, Mentors, and much more. It’s a magazine, but more than that, it’s a conversation and one that beckons you (the reader) to jump right into. And if you do – there’s no doubt you’ll be in Good Company!

Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the Hungry Girl and she is this new magazine published through a partnership with the Meredith Corp. Lisa is the New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Hungry Girl brand. She is the founder of http://www.hungry-girl.com, the free daily email service that entertains and informs hungry people everywhere. Complementing her brand nicely is this great new print magazine that adds another dimension to her digital platforms. It’s exciting and intriguing and inspires all of us to realize that just because we’re “hungry” doesn’t mean we can’t make smart food choices and determine creative ways to eat the foods that we love and still fit into our pants!

Jez

Jez is a new quarterly magazine, which highlights what’s new and best in fashion, beauty, culture and entertainment, but also has a special focus on philanthropy. In fact, the magazine’s tagline is fashion, culture, philanthropy. Founder and editor in chief, Ezequiel De La Rosa, has been a designer, store owner, makeup artist, photographer (which he still is, photographing many of the images between the covers of the magazine) and now a magazine creator. The magazine is artistic, beautiful,  and has that strong entrepreneurial spirit that makes it stand out above many of its peers. Welcome to the finals, Jez!

Jugular

An antidote for boredom, indeed. This new title’s tagline is certainly one that fits as the oversized, brilliantly-done magazine was born out of the desire to tell real and uncontaminated stories filtered through one of the keywords of the 21st century: DESIGN, To hold this new publication in one’s hands is to understand the meaning of the phrase: tactile experience. It’s an unbelievably exciting project that was born out of the passion of people who wanted to go deeper into the story, deeper into the design, and hit that “jugular” where the blood flows passionately between the brain and heart. And it definitely affects the main arterial flow of emotions.

Kitchen Toke

Kitchen Toke is the first magazine about cooking with cannabis. It focuses on exploring and understanding cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, covering cooking and entertaining seasonally with cannabis along with the chefs and individuals who are advancing marijuana in food and health. It’s a fantastic magazine whose founder and president, Joline Rivera, said has recipes and stories that help people to understand all of the misinformation that’s out there about the plant, causing unnecessary and misplaced fear for many people when it comes to using it in food or at all. An amazing offering from the cannabis world that seems to be exploding!

L’Officiel USA

A European title that now lives in the USA too, this big, bold magazine aims to merge the century-long traditions of its predecessor with a modern approach. L’Officiel, the 96-year-old French luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine owned by the Jalou family offers fashion, beauty, music, film, literature, culture, lifestyle, wellness, politics and more with an emphasis on telling stories that matter. And its American counterpart is glorious  and marks a new chapter for L’Officiel. Welcome to America!

Outboard

A new magazine dedicated to outboards, this title offers the immediate rush of a speedboat. It’s sleek, shiny and as addictive as the adrenaline that flows through one’s body as you skim the surface of some smooth waters at the clipped speed of sound! The photos are bold and splashed across print pages that feel like the salty silk of the ocean beneath your fingers. Outboard is a new title that Mr. Magazine™ can’t wait to see more of!

Retro Fan

Retro Fan magazine, published by TwoMorrows Publishing, is an ultimate handbook for all things retro and fun. From tattoos in bubble gum packs to your favorite Saturday morning cartoons, this magazine takes you back to the past with an exuberance that is reminiscent of childhood. It’s filled with things that still play an important part in many of our lives: The Andy Griffith Show, Star Trek (how many of us grew up on Captain Kirk and Spock), articles, such as one with Lou Ferrigno (TV’s Hulk), and fun sitcom quotes, along with much, much more. Mr. Magazine™ was so excited to discover this title that he had to include in our 2018 Baker’s Dozen!

Western Hunting Journal

A magazine produced by a team who are self-proclaimed passionate hunters dedicated to publishing the best information for hunters in the West with in-depth gear reviews, world-class hunts, expert shooting advice, industry news, and hunting information that is relevant to hunters who chase big game, waterfowl and upland gamebirds. It features excellent photography, great writing and smart design. And Mr. Magazine™ for one says welcome to this passionate and bold hunting experience!

Where Women Create, Where Women Create Work, What Women Create, Where Women Cook

Jo Packham believes we all have a story to tell and she also believes it is her job to give a venue to those ideas; hence, the four titles that she created and formerly published (three of them anyway) with Stampington & Company by her side. But no longer is she affiliated with the giant crafting publisher. Today, she is following through with her own vision, through her partnership with Disticor, and has decided there is more to tell than just “where,” we also need to know “what.” And for the beauty, content, and magnificent design of these magazines, Mr. Magazine™ has included all four of the titles (counted as one entry) into this Baker’s Dozen of fantastic new publications. 2018 was a great year for Jo Packham! Welcome to the fold!

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Michael Clinton To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: 2019 Will Be The Flight Back Year To Quality, Quality Brands, Quality Environment, Safe Environments, And Obviously, Our Magazine Brands Represent That. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

January 2, 2019

The Real Influencers Of The Marketplace : The Brands Themselves 

“I think credibility is a real issue right now because there was that moment in time where influencers were viewed as an important platform. Well, I think the market has learned that many people who set themselves up as influencers really are not influencers. They’re just people trying to set up a business and when you’re coming through the Cosmo lens or the Elle lens or the Good Housekeeping lens, that’s influence.” Michael Clinton…

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 Michael Clinton is a confirmed believer in the trust factor of magazines and magazine brands. In fact, according to Michael, it’s all about the brands; everything. The brands are the trust factor and that spans the entire multiplatform existence of each and every Hearst product, from the legacy titles, such as House Beautiful and Town & Country, to the latest mega-success stories, such as Pioneer Woman and Airbnb, the brands are the key to consumer trust and creditability, from print product to pixel.

I spoke with Michael recently and we talked about the trust factor of the brands and the legacy titles of Hearst that continue to grow audience and gain new readers, even after 100 years of service to the consumers. Michael said that evolvement is a big reason that Hearst products continue to flourish and grow, and that innovation has always been a part of their magazines’ DNA and will continue to be so. From the year of “Data,” which is what Michael said 2019 will be, with data working for companies in a much larger way, to “Content with Purpose,” Hearst’s new editorial mission, innovation and evolution are key.

This first Mr. Magazine™ interview of 2019 was such an eye-opening and interesting way to start the magazine New Year off. Michael Clinton is optimistic, but totally aware of the challenges that the latest “shiny new thing” of 2019 could bring to the world of magazines and magazine media. However, the passion and strong faith that he has for and in the Hearst brands is palpable and always uppermost in his mind as you will tell immediately from our conversation.

And now without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

But first the sound-bites:

On his predictions for 2019 where magazine media is concerned:I think one thing that we’re seeing is a flight back to quality, quality brands, quality environment, safe environments, first-party environments, and obviously, our magazine brands represent that. And I think there is a lot of concern about context and I think a lot of CMOs are really beginning to step back and rethink things and I believe that plays well for magazine brands. So, I would say that’s one.

On how Hearst keeps growing audiences with its numerous legacy titles, many of which are over 100-years-old:What has to happen with the print magazine is that it obviously has to evolve with the culture. And so, it has to represent what is happening in the culture at any given point in time. If you go back to Town & Country in the 1980s; the eighties had a very different affluent market than today’s affluent market. So, you have to reflect the contemporary times and you have to move the reader along as well. I think it’s the magic of our editors who are constantly evolving the product.

On how he conveys that message of evolvement to advertisers:It’s all in the product; you walk them through the product and show them how the product is evolving and how the product will evolve. Brands want to align themselves with contemporary messaging. And they’re doing the same thing, they’re always taking their brand message and their brand packaging and they’re evolving it and they’re changing it, and they’re changing their message points based on the culture at the time to make it relevant for both their existing customer and new customer. So, I think they’re always looking for the environments in which we can pro-message together.

On print advertising and whether that same trust factor carries over into all of the platforms:First of all, it’s all about the brands, right? The brand is the trust factor. So, if I’m a Cosmopolitan reader, I have the trust factor in print, in digital, in social, on Snapchat, because I trust the brand. And that gets into the context discussion. I think that if you’re seeing something that is on Cosmo.com, you know that it’s been produced by professional editors; it’s authoritative; it’s been vetted properly; as opposed to some pure play digital site or some influence, it has a real credibility.

On how print can be used in today’s digital age to its own best advantage:That’s a great question. Hearst today is the dominant player in the fashion/luxury market; with our brands we produce more content in that space, in print, digital and in social. So, we now dominate. That’s been an evolution and we’re proud of that position we have now with the global luxury brands. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve really believed in the production values of all of our luxury books: Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, Town & Country; they’re all oversized; they’re a luxe presentation. The amount of time, energy, and money that is put into beautiful photography and amazing representation of the luxury market; well, the editorial grit behind all of that really allows us to have those great connections with the consumer.

On whether his job today has become more difficult or easier than it was 10 years ago:I would say that it’s become more complex. What is exciting is that our brands now live in many different places. So, 10 years ago, you were basically selling a print platform, right? Today you’re selling a print platform, a web platform, a video platform, a social media platform, and an experiential platform. So, where the excitement lies is in the fact that the brands have been unleashed and we now have consumers interacting with our brands in so many different places, knitting all of that together to create a community  and that’s what’s really exciting.

On what he feels is a big challenge facing the industry today:I would say two things to that. One is there is within the buy-side of the world, there is oftentimes, the chase for the shiny, new thing. And the shiny new thing is not necessarily what’s going to move the consumer to action. So, the pessimism I would have is the lack of appreciation for the broader view of the media world, the media mix. There needs to be more of an investment in educating and training on the buy-side for what all of the different mediums represent. So, that’s one.

On what he thinks will be the “buzzword” or important one word that will define 2019 as the year of what:It’s the year of data. It’s the year of really putting our data to work in a much bigger way and so that data is both print data and digital data. And we’re doing lots of work on the data front, not just for our own content creation, and Troy (Young) may have touched on this, but our new editorial mission is what we call “Content With Purpose,” and when I say content with purpose it doesn’t necessarily mean socially conscious, although that could be a part of it. But it’s content that we know through our data that our readers really respond to.

On any new titles that may be coming in 2019:Possibly. But first let me say that Pioneer Woman has been a huge success for us, it just broke half a million rate base, as you may know. Airbnb will move to six times frequency in 2019 and it will have a rapid circulation growth. So, that’s good. We’re always looking at new products, both print and digital. There’s nothing that’s eminent, but we always have something in the kitchen. Nothing eminent now.

On the biggest misconception he thinks people have about him:That I’m a New York Mets fan. (Laughs) I’m actually a Yankees fan, but that’s beside the point. I do have a reputation of being a bit of a workaholic, but I would argue that I have an extremely well-balanced life. And you have to nurture both sides. While I work hard, I also have lots of interests outside work.

On whether he ever feels as though he’s running in a magazine marathon:That’s a great question and I would just make the response that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. When you take the long-term view, like in marathon running, you always have stamina and you always have a good Zen-like view of the future, because it is a long play.

On what he hopes is the first thing that comes into people’s minds when they hear the name Michael Clinton: That he respects all people, that he believes in service to people, so as you may know, I have a foundation that some friends and I started eight years ago called Circle of Generosity and it is our commitment to have service to others. And I think that’s just a really important part of how we should live our lives.

On how he decides what to retweet:I think it’s about the optimism of our business. And you’re self-included. I think it’s important to get the positive news out there about our business and about our industry and about media. As you know, parts of the media are under siege these days, and I think what we do is an incredibly important service. And while our magazine company is not in the news business, it’s really important what we do, because we inform people and educate them and entertain them. And so the Retweets are something that are either positive about the business or something that’s really innovative and unique that one of our brands is doing or that I see in the marketplace that is an innovative idea in terms of how you can use magazine brands.

On what keeps him up at night:I’m a good sleeper, but the only thing that keeps me up is when my puppy jumps on my head in the middle of the night. (Laughs)

 

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Michael Clinton, President, Marketing & Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines.

Samir Husni: Michael, put your fortunetelling hat on for a moment if you would, and tell me your three major predictions for what is going to happen in magazine media in 2019.

Michael Clinton: I think one thing that we’re seeing is a flight back to quality, quality brands, quality environment, safe environments, first-party environments, and obviously, our magazine brands represent that. And I think there is a lot of concern about context and I think a lot of CMOs are really beginning to step back and rethink things and I believe that plays well for magazine brands. So, I would say that’s one.

The second thing that I would add to that is, the addiction of too much bottom of the funnel performance-based media has sent shockwaves through a lot of brands, which have begun to see meaningful erosion of their brand equity or consideration. And we’re seeing, if you will, a rebalance of the media mix. And with that is an appreciation for all of the things that magazines represent, print magazines in particular, in terms of brand equity. And I think that race to the bottom has eroded a lot of brand equity, so I would say that’s the second.

And then on the third, I would say that the magazine brands’ digital platforms have a very special sauce to them, because we have very engaged users who are around our subject areas, so whether it’s fashion, beauty, or home, high levels of engagement, high levels of first-party engagement, safe environments, all of this is kind of connecting back to number one. And also in the world of content and context, that plays really well for us.

So, we continue to see huge growth on our digital platforms. I think you know that Cosmopolitan is at 38 million uniques. We just launched Oprahmag.com, and within two or three weeks we’re at 1.3 million uniques. Obviously, what Oprah and Oprahmag.com represents has great connection with consumers. So, I think all of these things bode well for both our print platforms and our digital platforms.

Samir Husni: I have been looking at and researching magazines from 1919 for the MPA’s 100thanniversary, and quite a few of the titles are from Hearst and are still being published today, 100 years later, whether it’s House Beautiful or Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar or Popular Mechanics. You publish more legacy magazines than any other media company. Tell me, how do you keep growing audiences with these legacy magazines? You just shared that Cosmopolitan had 38 million uniques, yet it’s a title that’s over 100-years-old. How do you do that?

Michael Clinton: What has to happen with the print magazine is that it obviously has to evolve with the culture. And so, it has to represent what is happening in the culture at any given point in time. If you go back to Town & Country in the 1980s; the eighties had a very different affluent market than today’s affluent market. So, you have to reflect the contemporary times and you have to move the reader along as well. I think it’s the magic of our editors who are constantly evolving the product.

I believe the sign of a great magazine is when you go to a particular magazine and you pick up an issue from two years ago, forget 100 years ago, just two years ago and you say: wow, that magazine was very different then than it is today, because the editors are constantly evolving the content, the relevance, the stories, and that’s what keeps it modern and fresh. And I think we have lots of great examples of that in the house.

Samir Husni: When you work with the other customer, the advertiser, how do you convey that message of evolvement to them?

Michael Clinton: It’s all in the product; you walk them through the product and show them how the product is evolving and how the product will evolve. Brands want to align themselves with contemporary messaging. And they’re doing the same thing, they’re always taking their brand message and their brand packaging and they’re evolving it and they’re changing it, and they’re changing their message points based on the culture at the time to make it relevant for both their existing customer and new customer. So, I think they’re always looking for the environments in which we can pro-message together.

It’s really the high-touch selling. I think one of the things is that print has always been a high-client touchpoint medium, and so, while we obviously work with our agency partners, clients have always been very, very interested in the print medium. So, there’s a lot of that high-touch human contact that goes with selling the print medium.

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Samir Husni: One of the points that I’ve noticed when looking at the legacy magazines from 100 years ago is there was always that guarantee that all of the advertising in the magazine was true and honest, guaranteed, there was a certain trust factor. Today, if I see that trust factor in print, can I take that promise with me to the digital? Or is it based on the brand?

Michael Clinton: First of all, it’s all about the brands, right? The brand is the trust factor. So, if I’m a Cosmopolitan reader, I have the trust factor in print, in digital, in social, on Snapchat, because I trust the brand. And that gets into the context discussion. I think that if you’re seeing something that is on Cosmo.com, you know that it’s been produced by professional editors; it’s authoritative; it’s been vetted properly; as opposed to some pure play digital site or some influence, it has a real credibility.

And I think credibility is a real issue right now because there was that moment in time where influencers were viewed as an important platform. Well, I think the market has learned that many people who set themselves up as influencers really are not influencers. They’re just people trying to set up a business and when you’re coming through the Cosmo lens or the Elle lens or the Good Housekeeping lens, that’s influence.

Samir Husni: How can you use print to its own best advantage in this digital age?

Michael Clinton: That’s a great question. Hearst today is the dominant player in the fashion/luxury market; with our brands we produce more content in that space, in print, digital and in social. So, we now dominate. That’s been an evolution and we’re proud of that position we have now with the global luxury brands. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve really believed in the production values of all of our luxury books: Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, Town & Country; they’re all oversized; they’re a luxe presentation. The amount of time, energy, and money that is put into beautiful photography and amazing representation of the luxury market; well, the editorial grit behind all of that really allows us to have those great connections with the consumer.

A lot of it is production value and execution by the editors. And then of course, that rolls into the digital platforms as well. One of our fastest growing sites this year has been Harper’s Bazaar. I don’t have a stat in front of me, but Harper’s Bazaar, its luxe presentation in print and its digital execution has helped to drive huge digital growth for us this year.

So, when you look at the production values that those brands have on their websites and also on their social media, it also reflects that. And don’t forget, there are global brands and also don’t forget that we have, aside from global print brands, we now have the capability to work with our luxury partners globally across Elle.com globally or Bazaar.com globally. And that’s a big differentiator for us. So, we’re doing a lot of business with global luxury brands that want that kind of global footprint .

I would use those as a few examples, but we’re really proud of the fact that we’re now the leading fashion/luxury publisher in the world.

Samir Husni: If you reflect back 10 years ago at the dawn of digital, the Smartphone, the iPad, etc., has your job today, looking toward the future, has it become easier or more difficult?

Michael Clinton: I would say that it’s become more complex. What is exciting is that our brands now live in many different places. So, 10 years ago, you were basically selling a print platform, right? Today you’re selling a print platform, a web platform, a video platform, a social media platform, and an experiential platform. So, where the excitement lies is in the fact that the brands have been unleashed and we now have consumers interacting with our brands in so many different places, knitting all of that together to create a community  and that’s what’s really exciting.

So, today you have the women’s health community. And the women’s health community has exponentially grown because the user and the reader live in lots of different places. And that’s been very exciting for magazine brands because we were never able to live in multiplatform the way we do today.

But with that comes complexity, because the different platforms require different content; you get different analytics; you get different measurements, and so you have to knit all of that together for the marketing partner, but that’s the fun of it today.

Samir Husni: Someone reading this interview might say that you’re the eternal optimist, but what is something that you’re afraid is going to be a big challenge as the industry moves forward?

Michael Clinton: I would say two things to that. One is there is within the buy-side of the world, there is oftentimes, the chase for the shiny, new thing. And the shiny new thing is not necessarily what’s going to move the consumer to action. So, the pessimism I would have is the lack of appreciation for the broader view of the media world, the media mix. There needs to be more of an investment in educating and training on the buy-side for what all of the different mediums represent. So, that’s one.

And I think that leads to a lack of an appreciation for what the magazine media represents on all of its platforms. So, that’s our day-to-day job, to make sure we’re out there telling that story. So I think that’s the biggest, sort of pessimistic view that I would have.

But fortunately, we have a great team at Hearst and that’s what they do all day long  and they change perceptions and they put together great programs that have great metrics and great numbers. So, the proof is always in the pudding.

Samir Husni: For the last several years when I speak with people they’re always saying this is the year of “voice,” or this is the year for “video;” is there one word for 2019? It will be the year of…?

Michael Clinton: It’s the year of data. It’s the year of really putting our data to work in a much bigger way and so that data is both print data and digital data. And we’re doing lots of work on the data front, not just for our own content creation, and Troy (Young) may have touched on this, but our new editorial mission is what we call “Content With Purpose,” and when I say content with purpose it doesn’t necessarily mean socially conscious, although that could be a part of it. But it’s content that we know through our data that our readers really respond to.

A great example of that is that we know that the Good Housekeeping reader is passionate about the television show “This Is Us.” They watch it live; it is an appointment viewing for them; they’re passionate about that show. So, how did that express itself then in the content that we created. Creating content that had purpose for the Good Housekeeping reader is that there might be stories or covers about the “This Is Us” cast, because we know there is a high level of interest.

So, how do you take your data, connect it to content creation, and then connect that content creation and that data to advertiser partnerships for both advertising and ecommerce. Data-informed content, data-informed advertising partnerships, that’s what we’re really excited about for 2019.

Samir Husni: In 2018, you didn’t launch any new magazines, what with all of the changes that were taking place. Anything up and coming for 2019? Will we see any new titles based on partnerships or just from scratch?

Michael Clinton: Possibly. But first let me say that Pioneer Woman has been a huge success for us, it just broke half a million rate base, as you may know. Airbnb will move to six times frequency in 2019 and it will have a rapid circulation growth. So, that’s good. We’re always looking at new products, both print and digital. There’s nothing that’s eminent, but we always have something in the kitchen. Nothing eminent now.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest misconception you think people have about you?

Michael Clinton: That I’m a New York Mets fan. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too.)

Michael Clinton: I’m actually a Yankees fan, but that’s beside the point. I do have a reputation of being a bit of a workaholic, but I would argue that I have an extremely well-balanced life. And you have to nurture both sides. While I work hard, I also have lots of interests outside work.

Samir Husni: What was the latest marathon that you ran?

Michael Clinton: Albuquerque.

Samir Husni: How many marathons have you ran so far?

Michael Clinton: 15. And the next one will be in Anchorage in June.

Samir Husni: If you were to rank them, which one would be the number one, the one in the Artic, or where?

Michael Clinton: I would have to say Antarctica because it was such a surreal experience and it was my seventh continent and there are less than 1,000 people in the world who have run all seven continents, so I feel like I’m part of a very special club.

Samir Husni: Do you compare your work with magazines to your marathons? Do you feel as though you’re running in a magazine marathon?

Michael Clinton: That’s a great question and I would just make the response that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. When you take the long-term view, like in marathon running, you always have stamina and you always have a good Zen-like view of the future, because it is a long play.

Samir Husni: When people hear the name Michael Clinton, what do you hope is the first thing that comes into their minds?

Michael Clinton: That he respects all people, that he believes in service to people, so as you may know, I have a foundation that some friends and I started eight years ago called Circle of Generosity and it is our commitment to have service to others. And I think that’s just a really important part of how we should live our lives.

Samir Husni: How do you decide what to Retweet, because every now and then I see you Retweeting something.

Michael Clinton: I think it’s about the optimism of our business. And you’re self-included. I think it’s important to get the positive news out there about our business and about our industry and about media. As you know, parts of the media are under siege these days, and I think what we do is an incredibly important service. And while our magazine company is not in the news business, it’s really important what we do, because we inform people and educate them and entertain them. And so the Retweets are something that are either positive about the business or something that’s really innovative and unique that one of our brands is doing or that I see in the marketplace that is an innovative idea in terms of how you can use magazine brands.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Michael Clinton: I’m a good sleeper, but the only thing that keeps me up is when my puppy jumps on my head in the middle of the night. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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