MPA's Kliger calls for change in the face of decline

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MPA's Kliger calls for change in the face of decline

PHOENIX - To the sound of orchestrated award show music not unlike at the Oscars, Jack Kliger, chairman of Magazine Publishers of America came to the front podium to give the keynote speech Oct. 24 at the American Magazine Conference at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.

President and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. Inc.,  Mr. Kliger said that the days of having the largest number of pieces in circulation is over. Publications must now generate greater profits by providing rich reader experience. The rate base of a magazine should follow rather than lead the company's business strategy.

"The rate base is held over the head of publishers like a sword," Mr. Kliger said. "That does not encourage good business practices."

Mr. Kliger said it is important for a title to take advantage of its brand's reputation, maintain itself with new technology and develop measurements in the advertising world that will allow for expansion.

Bob Greenberg, chairman/CEO of R/GA New York, also spoke to the need for staying relevant to readers and consumers across emerging digital channels.

"It has become as easy to create as it is to read someone else's content," Mr. Greenberg said. "This is an important change in our industry."

Mr. Greenberg referred to the new wave of consumers as playing a game of hide-and-seek with the advertising industry. They hide from the ads that are not relevant and seek what they want through new channels such as the blog, Youtube.com and Myspace.com.

"Consumers never like ads as much as agencies do," Mr. Greenberg said. "It is not just about getting the user's attention, but about giving them attention and making the consumer the rock star."

The MPA chairman put a challenge to the crowd.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to do what we have done before and that is to reinvent the business, but first we have to reinvent our practices," Mr. Kliger said. "I'd rather be an agent of change than effectively manage our decline."

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