James Hewes
The Di5ru.pt blog

By James Hewes is the President and CEO of FIPP – Connecting Global Media

If you follow me on social, you’ll know I love magazines and magazine media.

Magazines are the original “vertical media”. Since their debut in the 17th century, they occupy a unique position in the market thanks to their considered and beautiful presence and bring content to readers across a myriad of hobbies and interests.

Digital verticals focused on special interests are a continuation of this centuries-old media. But they are not the only ones innovating in the space. Many established magazine media organisations and brands are alive and innovating around their magazine core.

Today, I want to invite you to attend the forthcoming FIPP World Congress, taking place June 7th to 9th in beautiful Cascais, Portugal, where you can hear examples of success and innovation across print and digital media live and in person. Below, I highlight a few of the magazine media stories we will have on stage.

Overall, Congress has more than 65 speakers confirmed, delegates from 30 countries already registered and a host of sponsors on board. We will work, we will have some much-needed face-to-face meetings, and we will play (at the PressReader smoothie and drinks bar or with the Pugpig Trotters running or walking club).

You can see more about Congress at fippcongress.com, and if you have not signed up yet, do so here (normal tickets are available until 25 May, after which a late surcharge will apply).

Here are some of the magazine media innovators that will be on show. Their stories make me incredibly proud to be a part of this industry :

Developing a revenue mix for the post-pandemic world 

We’ll hear how America’s largest digital and print publisher approaches the revenue mix for some of its most iconic brands. Alysia will discuss how changing consumer behaviours, content, and technologies drive the new revenue mix. SPEAKER: Alysia Borsa, Chief Business Officer and President of Lifestyle, Dotdash Meredith, USA  


The art and science of adding value to your magazine

Barnes & Noble’s Krifka Steffey has partnered with Cover Rocket’s founder Alan Centofante to build an AI-fuelled market intelligence tool for content creators. Steffey works with publishers to create better selling covers. SPEAKERS: Alan Centofante, CEO and Chief Strategist, Cover Rocket; Krifka Steffey, Director of Newsstand and Media Divisions, Barnes & Nobel, USA. Interviewed by Samir Husni, Founder and Director, Magazine Center, USA


Print’s premium future

Magazines are premium products, with higher page counts, more of the fantastic content that is the industry’s hallmark and higher production values. For the first time, this will be matched by premium pricing which reflects the quality of work that goes into each issue. SPEAKER: Jeremy Leslie, Founder, Mags Culture, UK


Covid-19 and how Media24 built an innovative new production model for their magazines 

Media24 Lifestyle created a model called Outsource Content Production in response to the Covid crisis in South Africa, with magazine teams as content producers, supplying content on a contract basis, relying on collaboration, communication and autonomy. SPEAKERS: Minette Ferreira, GM, Lifestyle and News, and Nerisa Coetzee, GM: Lifestyle, Media24, South Africa


Modernising a 120-year-old magazine: From print-only to multi-platform, multi-language and multi-social 

Twelve years ago, The Review of Religions only existed in print. Fast forward to 2022 and print remains the anchor but the magazine operates across a multi-platform business with a heavy focus on online, video and audio. This story of the transformation of an independent magazine includes the use of Youtube to develop a brand new audience and the effective use of story-telling and social media to realise rapid expansion. SPEAKER: Amer Safir, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The Review of Religions, UK


How the 96-year-old Vikatan Group found gold in video

The Vikatan Group is a diversified media powerhouse. Srini will share his experiences on how the pandemic jump-started mobile journalism and its video-first approach to driving social engagement for its magazines. Learn how Vikatan harnessed the power of video to drive online growth. SPEAKER: Srini Balasubramanian, MD, Vikatan Group, India

Speaking of Srini, there is one other initiative I want to add here, that of the Association for Indian Magazines. It demonstrates how powerful we as an industry can be when we work together towards a common goal.

How magazines in India collaborated during the pandemic to re-imagine the publishing model

Indian magazine publishers collaborated during the pandemic to evolve a set of innovative collective initiatives for addressing some of the deep structural issues the sector had been facing with respect to distribution and advertiser interest. A branded content studio called Dastaan Hub was floated, which offers brand storytelling opportunities across more than 100 print titles, 10 languages, associated websites and social media assets, with a combined reach of over 150 million. A common accredited distribution agency network was set up to improve availability, a technology-enabled subscription platform is being created for joint marketing programs and to leverage the vast network of newspaper delivery people for magazine sales and worked with the Indian Post to develop a new efficient delivery solution for subscription copies. Learn how the Association of Indian Magazines used the crisis as an opportunity to imagine new paradigms for rejuvenating the magazine sector. SPEAKERS: Srini Balasubramanian, President, Anant Nath, General Secretary, and Manoj Sharma, Treasurer, Association of Indian Magazines, India

If Congress helps us achieve just a little of that, it will be a few days spent on a lifetime of value. Meet them and 60+ other speakers, colleagues and sponsors and join in the conversation at Congress in Cascais. The schedule is here, and take a look at the agenda for Day 1 and Day 2 for more. Congress is an exceptional opportunity to meet top media professionals from around the world, take back new ideas and learnings and prepare your business for the future, even more so in a time of many challenges facing not only our industry but the world.

Join us from 7-9 June in Cascais