Appropriately for Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you, for those who missed it), there was a stellar line-up of publishers, editors, advertisers and suppliers to the UK magazine industry at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel yesterday for the PPA Annual Conference.
The industry leading event was opened by PPA Chairman Charles Reed and CEO Barry McIlheney with a brief overview of PPA activities, both planned and over the past 12 months, including the launch of the new PPA website. To connect with the PPA on social media or to keep up to date through email newsletters, all the links you need are at www.ppa.co.uk/go.
The keynote session saw Barry interview Feargal Sharkey, former frontman for The Undertones and now CEO of UK Music. The discussion charted the parallel challenges faced by musicians and publishers as a result of technological change, with Sharkey concluding that there has been a resultant shift in emphasis to content quality.
“Technology has democratised creativity; it’s democratized distribution. Quantity is not what people want – they want quality,” he said.
The first main session of the day followed, tackling digital developments from a B2B and consumer perspective. Giles Barrie of Property Week demonstrated the brand’s brave journey into new territory following the 2008 collapse of the property market, while Alfie Lewis of BBC Magazines showed how editorial involvement was crucial to the success of the Good Food iPad app.
Delegates then separated into B2B and consumer Question Time style sessions before reconvening for The British are Coming, a session of shared best practice in expanding into growing overseas markets chaired by FIPP’s Chris Llewellyn.
Next up was The Magic Numbers, where representatives from auditing companies, publishers and media agencies agreed on the demand for a unified audience measurement metric across print and digital platforms while highlighting the challenges in delivering it. The Broadcast News session then gave an indication of the advances in video being produced by publishers and the emerging potential for generating real revenues from this content stream.
The final session saw separate consumer and B2B panels tackle the key issues of the day before McIlheney wrapped up proceedings on a day of inspiration and innovation for the UK’s professional publishers.
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