4A's Opener: Magazines to Use Magazines to Boost Magazines

Geoffrey Precourt

The early-morning opening-day buzz on the floor of the 4A's (formerly known as the American Association of Advertising Agencies) 2010 Leadership/Media Conference was all about print going digital.

An opening-day session would feature three of the most senior American magazine executives: Cathleen Black, president, Hearst Corporation; Jack Griffin, president, National Media Group, Meredith Corp.; Ann Moore, Time Inc. chairman/ceo. The blurb from the 4A's promised, "Major publishers announce the latest breaking news in the magazine industry."

Meredith and Time Inc. have been teasing marketers and readers with online videos about new tablet presentations of their content; Hearst has dropped hints about comparable initiatives. The stars were aligned in San Francisco for digital disclosure. And, that same morning, Condé Nast had distributed an internal memo in its New York offices that outlined the publisher's plans to become content providers on Apple's new iPad. When the technology is made available to consumers in April, GQ will be a consumer option. Over the next few months, Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Glamour reportedly will be digitally refitted for the device.