NEW YORK — Magic 8 balls dotted the ballroom tabletops, but clairvoyance about the future of the magazine industry was in short supply at the 2018 edition of the American Magazine Media Conference, in which executives from across the magazine world gathered in downtown Manhattan to discuss the resilience of their brands and the adaptiveness of their businesses in the face of an uncertain path forward.Alan Murray, now billed as chief content officer, Time Inc. Titles, Meredith Corp., joined WPP founder Martin Sorrell for an opening discussion about the underlying business challenges, in advertising and otherwise, faced by media companies—a conversation that in 2018, like in previous years, centered around Google, Facebook, and to a lesser extent, Amazon.Opining that Google and Facebook are indeed media companies, not technology ones as they self-identify, Sorrell agreed with his friend Rupert Murdoch’s recent assertion that media brands ought to charge the platforms carriage fees to distribute their content—a goal Sorrell says is worth overcoming the inherent difficulties involved with getting hyper-competitive publishers to work together.If there’s anything that unites the industry’s top brass, after all, it is a shared fear of Silicon Valley’s impending takeover of not just the digital advertising market, but society as we know it. In 2018, that paranoia has progressed so far as to draw straight-faced comparisons to the tobacco industry of the mid-20th century. At last year’s conference, then-Meredith Corp. CEO Steve Lacy concluded the late-afternoon C-suite panel by referring to Google and Facebook as “our true enemy.” This year, Hearst Magazines president David Carey went a tad further.Citing issues such as distracted driving and the damaging physical and psychological effects that smartphone ubiquity has on children and teenagers, Carey implied that the current state of social media is reminiscent of big tobacco’s historical apathy toward the damage its products were causing to society.“For advertisers,” Carey continued, “the next piece of that discussion will be, ‘What are we supporting here?’”To rewind, MPA president Linda Thomas Brooks appropriately kicked off the discussion by remarking, “What a difference a year makes.”Indeed, the annual state-of-the-industry panel’s composition was a reflection of the recent wave of consolidation that’s reduced last year’s five-largest publishers to three. Carey and Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg were the only two panelists to return from last year. Tom Harty, tapped last week to succeed Lacy as CEO of Meredith Corp. following that company’s acquisition of Time Inc., New York media CEO Pam Wasserstein, Bonnier Corp. CEO Eric Zinczenko, and Active Interest Media CEO Andy Clurman helped fill the chairs left empty by former Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista and Rodale chairman Maria Rodale.The focus was decidedly forward-looking. The word “print” was hardly mentioned until the very end of the discussion (by comparison, terms like “revenue diversification” and “legacy” were used liberally).One of the few who did explicitly reference his company’s magazines was Clurman, who argued that there appears to be something of a disconnect among marketers between their metaphysical passion and feelings for print magazines and the empirical data that pulls them toward digital ad buys (this, in some ways, echoed an earlier point made by Time Inc./Meredith Corp. senior director of lifestyle titles, Julie Alvin, that data should complement natural instinct, not supplant it).Sauerberg extolled the success that Condé Nast has experienced with The New Yorker—by the way, the undisputed star of this year’s AMMC, garnering four of the ten “Cover of the Year” finalist nods and headlining a fantastic midday discussion between one of its contributors, Ronan Farrow, and Gayle King—adding, “If you get the content right, there’s a huge payday on all platforms.”Wasserstein said New York Media’s path forward will mean taking the magazine’s unique sensibilities and applying it to new environments based on its audience’s strongest passions, a strategy that has already manifested itself in a trio of digital offshoot brands: Vulture, The Cut, and The Strategist.Citing advertisers’ concerns about transparency and brand safety, Wasserstein added, “Magazines aren’t only brand-safe, they’re brand-enhancing.”At Bonnier, Zinczenko said that he plans to achieve a revenue balance of 33-percent print, 33-percent digital, and 33-percent “ancillary activities” by 2020.Harty remained mostly tightlipped about the future for the newly merged Meredith and Time Inc., but he did concede that rumors of the Koch brothers wielding influence over the conglomerate’s titles are “completely untrue.”Highlights of the aforementioned Gayle King interview with Ronan Farrow—who vaulted to journalistic fame with his reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and intimidation—included Farrow’s admission that Weinstein had indeed threatened him in an attempt to derail the story, the assertion that the reporting and its resonance was proof that “magazines are not dead,” and the thinly veiled swipe at NBC News that “outlets who have credible evidence of ongoing crimes but do not report on them should take a hard look at their practices and principles.”On a lighter note, Gayle King just discovered HQ Trivia—and she loves it.Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” introduced an earlier panel touted as the “next generation” of magazine talent: Time Inc./Meredith Corp.’s Julie Alvin, AMI’s Eli Lippman, and M. Shanken Communications’ Jessica Shanken Reid—moderated by New York magazine editor Adam Moss.Asked about the future of print, the panel mostly agreed that the magazines to survive on ink and paper will be those that focus on brand affinity, the trust of their readers, and niche interests. Nobody really wanted to answer Moss’s follow up about which types of magazines won’t survive, although Lippman conceded, “I’d be nervous about launching a print magazine right now,” citing the advantageous position of long-lasting titles with strong foundational legacies.Despite the lingering uncertainty over the future—which, for the second year in a row, the C-suite panel seemed to openly embrace in the spirit of flexibility and diversifying the bottom line—the underlying message of the day was that brands—in print, digital, events, or otherwise—remain magazine media’s most valuable asset, and moving forward the industry has no choice but to continue to lean into those brand identities and the loyal audiences that follow them.For more of what you may have missed at this year’s AMMC, click here.
Sri Lanka Attacks: What We Know So Far Close IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/3:08Loaded: 0%0:02Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-3:07?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … A viral video that has been doing rounds on the internet showed one of the suicide bombers patting a little girl’s head before he walked into the St Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Negombo on the western coast of Sri Lanka.The incident was recorded on a CCTV camera installed in the vicinity. The bearded man is seen with a big backpack walking calmly towards the church. On his way there, he encountered a little girl with an adult. As he walks by her, he gives her a pat on her head and continues going towards the fated church.#WATCH Colombo: CCTV footage of suspected suicide bomber (carrying a backpack) walking into St Sebastian church on Easter Sunday. #SriLankaBombings (Video courtesy- Siyatha TV) pic.twitter.com/YAe089D72h— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2019Another CCTV footage inside the St Sebastian’s Church shows the man making his way into the church, walking past many Easter worshippers who are standing outside the hall. The terrorist then walks to the altar where the bomb will detonate moments later, killing multiple innocent people.According to reports, at least 100 people were in the church when the bomb went off.A series of blasts targeting churches and high-end hotels rocked Sri Lanka on April 22, Sunday, killing 320 people and injuring more than 500. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said that this was revenge for the New Zealand mosque shooting which claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. ISIS said, “This bloody day is our reward to you.” ISIS’ news agency al-Amaq, released the video claiming responsibility for the attack on its channel through the Telegram app.Initially, it was thought that the National Tawheed Jamaat, a Sri Lankan jihadi group was behind the attack.However, intelligence believed that even if the group did carry out the attack, they could do so with external assistance.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, is going to testify before the House Judiciary Committee today. He has submitted a written testimony to the House Committee ahead of the hearing. Pichai points out in the testimony that there is no “political bias” within the company. “I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests”. He also talks about data security emphasizing that protecting the privacy and security of their users has always been an “essential mission” for the organization. Pichai adds how Google has been consistently putting in an enormous amount of work over the past years to bring “choice, transparency, and control” to its users. Pichai also highlighted how users look up to Google for accurate and trusted information, and how they work very hard at Google to maintain the “integrity” of their products, in order to live up to their standards. The testimony further talks about Google’s contribution to the US economy and military, pointing out that despite Google’s expansion and growth into new markets, it will always have “American roots”. Now, although the hearing titled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices” will be focussed around discussions regarding the potential bias and need for transparency within Google, its infamous project Dragonfly will also almost certainly be discussed. Google has been facing continued criticism for its censored Chinese search engine which was revealed earlier this year in a bombshell report by the Intercept. Yesterday, more than 60 NGOs as well as individuals including Edward Snowden, signed an open letter protesting against Google’s Project Dragonfly and its other plans for China. “We are disappointed that Google in its letter of 26th October failed to address the serious concerns of human rights groups over Project Dragonfly”, reads the letter addressed to Pichai. It talks about how Google’s response along with other details about Project Dragonfly only intensifies the fear that Google may compromise its commitments to human rights to gain an access to the Chinese search market. The letter also sheds light on new details leaked to the media suggesting if Google launches Project Dragonfly then it would accelerate “repressive state censorship, surveillance, and other violations” affecting almost a billion people in China. The letter also talks about how despite Google stating that it’s “not close” to launching a search product in China and that it’ll consult with key stakeholders before doing so, media reports say otherwise. The media reports based on an internal Google memo suggested that the project was in a ‘pretty advanced state’ and that the company had invested extensive resources for the development of this project. “We welcome that Google has confirmed the company “takes seriously” its responsibility torespect human rights. However, the company has so far failed to explain how it reconciles that responsibility with the company’s decision to design a product purpose-built to undermine the rights to freedom of expression and privacy”, reads the letter. Read Next Google bypassed its own security and privacy teams for Project Dragonfly reveals Intercept Google employees join hands with Amnesty International urging Google to drop Project Dragonfly OK Google, why are you ok with mut(at)ing your ethos for Project DragonFly?