Folio 2006: Time Inc. Research Chief: ‘People Are Not Giving Up Magazines’

The site of this week’s Folio: Show, a.k.a. ‘not Arizona.’

  • Temperature: 49 degrees
  • Humidity: 46 percent
  • Pool temperature: So very N/A

    Though the closest we’re getting to AMC this year is cranking some Public Enemy and reading our esteemed colleague’s notes from out west, we managed to fill our annual trade-show quota at day one of the Folio: Show, which continues through tomorrow at the Hilton New York in midtown (albeit, distinctly less scenic and with fewer 90-minute massage options).


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    Specifically, we attended Betsy Frank‘s lunchtime keynote yesterday. Chief research and insights officer at Time Inc., Frank is charged with developing the company’s brands in conjunction with its research efforts. While her fellow Time Inc. traveler Ann Moore was expounding in Arizona on the perils of rearing 149 magazine-children, Frank invoked a Janet Jackson tune (knowingly? we’re not sure) to describe consumers’ current relationship with media. She, too, spoke of the palpable tension within the magazine industry surrounding its health and the varying perceptions of it in her address, entitled “Make the Connection: Media, Brands and the Evolving Consumer.” In the interest of giving it to you straight, some notes from the talk:

    FOLIO: editor, publisher, and conference chair Tony Silber, introducing Frank: “[We are] in an age where online media is on the ascendancy, and we don’t know where print is going to fit.”

    Frank: “Old media is the new new media.”

    Never before in media has it been more important to focus on the consumer; be holistical, across platforms; and break down the silos that separate different types of content.

    New partnerships are essential, because “none of us can break through the [media] clutter on our own.”

    “You can’t make consumers embrace new media until they’re ready.”

    Not so much, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ but “when they’re ready to come, you better have it built.” In other words: Be ahead of the consumers’ wants and needs by figuring out what they want through research.

    “People are not giving up magazines.”

    For consumers, “media usage is additive,” not a question of replacing one type with another.

    “Though we’re living in disruptive times [for magazines]… the sky isn’t falling.”

    “It is not a race to the death between new and old media.”

    “Every time a new technology emerges, pundits say older media will suffer,” but “consumers don’t make either/or tradeoffs” when it comes to media.

    “Trusted brands will continue to rule as filters,” but “brands must live across platforms without simply replicating.”

    “It’s all a blur,” because consumers are blurring the boundary between business and entertainment.

    Consumers are “commitment-phobic;” they continually ask of their media, “What have you done for me lately?”

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