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BARRY McILHENEY Chief Executive of PPA, UK

Are you optimistic? Of course! Did you really expect me to say anything else? But it’s with good reason. I think there has never been a more exciting time to be in magazine media. 2015 is an important year for magazine media in the UK as it will see the official launch of our new marketing agency with an exclusive remit to promote magazines in all their formats and all their glory to the advertising world. The core PPA operation will maintain

its traditional key services to publishers in areas such as lobbying, events, retail, and encouraging new talent into the industry, but this new agency will operate independently, allowing it to focus exclusively on the vital job of delivering quality research and key messages to agencies and advertisers. So I’m really excited about the fresh energy this will bring to magazine media in the UK.

Has the industry got to grips with technological challenges? Technology has opened up magazine brands to a bigger audience than at any time in our history. At the same time, however, it has fragmented the way consumers access our content and disrupted the underlying business models. This disruption will only continue, but there is also a sense as we head into 2015 that publishers now have a clearer view of the shape of their businesses and their strategic

direction compared with a few years ago. That’s borne out in the progress we are making in the UK on important fronts, such as multi- platform metrics. Equally, I think there’s a risk in thinking that technology is something we can ever “get to grips with”. Innovation and change have instead become a constant, and technology is fundamental to how magazine brands communicate with their audiences. It’s more a case that publishers are adopting a mindset of continual invention and reinvention – harnessing digital innovation and marrying that with the incredibly powerful brands and the wealth of creative talent within our sector. Publishing today is like gardening – it’s never done and it never will be, so get used to it and enjoy the digging.

What developments, trends or challenges do you foresee? We are seeing a continued trend for diversification. There is a sustained demand for print – and even a resurgence in certain sectors, such as high-quality independent magazines – but that is against a backdrop of growth across digital channels, particularly mobile. Digital editions of magazines have established themselves as an important and growing part of the market and I think we will continue to see innovation in the format of digital magazines and their ability to engage audiences with different types of content, such as video, and provide new and exciting environments for more interactive advertising.

Live events will also continue to grow as consumers seek out ‘real’ connections with their passions and the magazine brands that reflect them. With all these developments, publishers are having to juggle doing more with finite resources, so company structure and culture remains an ongoing challenge.

> > > } favourite magazine brand

The New Yorker. I love everything about it. Their creative director spoke at the PPA Scotland MagFest a few months ago and I could have listened to him all day long.

desert island luxury

A grand piano. I have been trying to learn to play the piano all my life and have never quite had the time to get beyond a certain level. On the desert island I may finally progress beyond Chopsticks.

surprising fact about me

I worked as a librarian in Belfast for two years before trying my hand as a journalist. I loved the books, but it was too quiet for my liking.

rather than following them.

Technology is a double-edged sword. While it simplifies the present it makes the future more complex.

What trends do you foresee? The continued growth of mobile and discovery of content through social media, while portals decline.

MATTHEW STANTON * CEO, Bauer Media, Australia

Are you optimistic? Decline will slow – I am a little more optimistic.

Has the industry got to grips with technological challenges? Yes, and we are creating many of the changes

> > >

favourite magazine brand? Gourmet Traveller desert island luxury? iPad surprising fact about you? I used to be a builder.

*Matthew Stanton is leaving Bauer Media Australia to join Woolworths in the new year.

Magazine World | Issue 86_2014 15

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