59 Collected Bits Of Wisdom From The 59th Distripress Congress in Cannes, France. A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

October 3, 2014

Distripress_Logo_Slogan_Cannes_RGB IMG_6389 Editor’s Note: Last week I was speaking, interviewing and moderating at different types of conferences and seminars across three European countries. I started with the Czech Republic where I spoke at a Toray’s meeting, then Slovakia where I visited the Student Media Center of the Pan European University in Bratislava, a daily newspaper, a major magazine media house and last but not least, traveled to Cannes, France to speak and moderate the Forum day at the 59th Distripress Congress. In the next few blogs, I will be reporting from all three countries with interviews, views and observations from the global media world.

Today’s report is from Cannes, France and it is an attempt to summarize the collective wisdom of all who spoke or participated in the Forum Day of the 59th Distripress Congress.

The following is a list of everyone who spoke at the Forum Day (sans Mr. Magazine™) and all of the tidbits of combined wisdom brought together in one sitting:

• David Owen: Managing Director of Distripress
• Anne-Marie Couderc: Keynote Speaker, President of Presstalis, France
• Diane Kenwood, Woman’s Weekly, UK
• Franska Stuy, Libelle Magazine, The Netherlands
• Morten Wickstrom, VG, Norway
• Matt Bean, Editor Entertainment Weekly, USA
• Jim Bilton, Wessenden Marketing, UK
• Peter Preston, Guardian/Observer, UK
• Tom Fender, Independent retailing consultant, UK
• Christina Lucas, Marketforce, UK
• Jean-Christoph Fare, Naville, Switzerland
• Arlene Shepard, Vice President of Gateway Newsstands, Canada

And here we go, in no particular order:

1. There was a consensus that there is a need to rethink the entire press sector, which includes changing the publisher’s economic model, rethinking the publishing landscape, whether it’s newsstand sales, home delivery or subscriptions and redefine the roles of the distributors, wholesalers and retailers
2. Sales of newspapers and magazines are set to continue to fall
3. Publishers are capitalizing on core brands by investing in digital solutions
4. The economic model for digital publishing has yet to be defined, although there are already some online-only titles out there
5. Print and digital media must complement each other
6. As we grow in the digital era, we must use digital media solutions to boost print media sales on the newsstands and we must introduce cross-media research into the equation
7. Some of the challenges for the distributors include:
• digital publishing
• in the business of selling content, there must be a way to put a value on content
• print and digital are working together and publishers’ strategies should include making digital media a part of editorial content, grow the brand in both print and digital versions and promote across all networks
8. Digital is no longer a threat; it’s a key to success
9. People change as they grow older
10. Fewer retailers, less retail space
11. We have three options: actively accelerate the decline of print, passively accept it or re-engineer for a different business model
12. We must have a sense of ownership and friendship with the reader
13. Print titles are still very profitable; print does work
14. The biggest challenge that we face in our industry today is making sure our readers know what they’re seeing, whether it’s editorial or advertising
15. You have to love what you do; otherwise your content will not be passionate and filled with variety
16. Keep it simple and make it fun
17. You need to create passion points for your magazine, so your product can have better reach, better engagement and better distribution
18. We have to turn our thinking from a digital newsstand type of mentality to a broadcast mentality
19. The print magazine is still the flagship of the brand
20. No one wants to be on the cover of a website
21. The future of our industry is going to be more fragmented and fractured than ever before
22. Western Europe is the homeland of the magazine business: 41% of all magazine volume.
23. Overseas, the majority of the business is 73% retail, 20% subscription and 7% digital
24. We will see a lot of consolidation and instability in the wholesale magazine press distribution network
25. We have to invest in short-run digital printing to save on the shipping rates on magazines across borders
26. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the “death of print” diatribe and we are starting to talk about the decline of print instead
27. Nobody knows the future, including Peter Preston
28. Movies did not kill the theater; if you need proof, just travel to London and Piccadilly Circus and see if you can a ticket
29. I will never read War and Peace on my iPhone
30. You cannot take content across platforms; each must have its own
31. Most of our ills are self-inflicted and self-generated
32. Here is a formula for disaster: cut the content, cut the paper, cut the weight, increase the price and then wonder why sales are in decline; less for more is not a winning formula
33. Even The New York Times is talking about the “majesty” of print
34. The print version of most brands is still much more important than the digital component
35. Youngsters will never read the words or have to decide between: print or digital
36. 80% of stores in Germany say it’s important to sell press products in their store, 72% in France and 72% in the U.K.
37. People still want magazines and magazine destinations
38. Magazines in a lot of stores are still the number one sales and revenue generator
39. Retailers love new launches, such as Ricardo in Canada and Dr. Oz The Good Life in the United States
40. A mature magazine can benefit from a good promotion
41. Signposts in stores increase sales by 4.3%
42. We need to bring an entire category of magazines to life because we have smarter shoppers and we need to give them relevant offers
43. Offers that accompany magazines, such as a free bottle of water, will have a 20% positive swing
44. We have to have personalized marketing, tailored and targeted to a specific group of people
45. As we witness a one-third decline of the press volume, we have to find answers for how we counteract that declination
46. We are and we want to remain press retailers and we want to make money
47. We have to optimize the press and accelerate the diversification
48. We have to adapt to new market rules
49. There are more new magazines introduced worldwide
50. Magazines and newspapers are becoming parts of the brand, rather than the entire sum
51. The printed product is the cornerstone of the brand
52. With so many other extensions, such as events, digital, stores, shopping; the survival rate of new magazines is increasing
53. Humanizing the brand is essential for surviving
54. Retail stores must change with the times
55. We must promote print the same way we promote digital
56. Digital is no longer a seductive mistress; it’s a younger sister or brother to print
57. It’s no longer print versus digital, but print plus digital, plus events, plus stores, plus commerce
58. On all fronts, we have to be experience makers
59. We must have promotions; it’s the key to our survival. If we do not promote our products, no one will.

If those of us who are passionate about the industry take these 59 points to heart and really try to implement and learn from them, the future of the media industry can start to reverberate with the hope it deserves for the masses it serves, because as Mr. Magazine™ eternally proclaims, “There is always hope.”
I hope to see you all again next year in Brussels for the 60th Annual Distripress Congress…and until then: go to a retail store, buy a newspaper and a magazine or two and enjoy!

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