Transcript: Magazine Industry Roundtable

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 9, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Last week, we saw some alarming statistics about the health of the newspaper industry, lower circulation numbers, lower ad dollars and fewer young readers.

So far, the magazine industry has been holding up rather well, with more than 70 new titles hitting the newsstand so far this year. But what is the outlook going forward?

Joining me now, three pillars of the industry: Jack Kliger, president and CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.; Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines, and Nina Link, president and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America.

Welcome, everybody.

Cathleen, let me start with you. The industry is being able to hold up a little bit better than the newspaper industry in terms of the Internet competition and the like. Why is that?

CATHIE BLACK, PRESIDENT, HEARST MAGAZINES: First of all, I think that magazines are very complimentary with the Web sites. Every single one of our 18 magazines in the United States, around the world — I'm sure Jack's the same — we all have Web sites that we sell advertising on. So, it's revenue coming in from that. It's a communication and a device to promote interactivity between the print of magazine, as well as the Web site. And they are fantastic for subscriptions.

KEENAN: Jack, when you stay up at night worrying about the health of the industry and your business here in the U.S., what keeps you awake?

JACK KLIGER, CEO, HACHETTE FILIPACCHI MEDIA U.S.: Well, I just want to continue to see the magazine industry going in the right direction. What keeps me awake is figuring out how to take advantage of what I think are opportunities right now, particularly in the areas of the fact that we're an engaged, desired medium and an area of consumer choice and control. This is a good time for us to be in the magazine business.

KEENAN: Nina, where are you seeing strength? Are you seeing strengths in certain sectors of the magazine, the beauties, entertainment side, or right across the board?

NINA LINK, CEO, MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS OF AMERICA: Well, we see strength at different times in different areas.

We certainly are seeing a lot of strength in the home category and the kind of nesting category. We're seeing strength in the youth category with music magazines, teen magazines, sports, celebrity magazines, a lot of things in the more affluent marketplace, as well as for just the mass market. So, we're pretty pleased that a number of categories are pretty strong right now.

KEENAN: And what do you do, Cathie? Do you keep those young readers continuing to be readers, because you have a younger version of Cosmo. You have the older version.

BLACK: Well, I was just going to say, we launched Cosmo Girl five years ago. We bought Seventeen magazine, which was, of course, forever the magazine icon for fashion and beauty. So, we think this is both a wonderful way to communicate with young women, but also it's kind of a feeder to our magazines Marie Claire or big Cosmo that might, you know, as they get a little more mature, bring them along.

We want them to be magazine readers as they get into their 20s.

KEENAN: And is there a difference, Jack, between girls and boys in terms of their magazine...

KLIGER: Well, I hope so.


KEENAN: In magazine readership, though? Because I think girls, you know, kind of like to look at all the pictures and guys are on the Internet more.

KLIGER: There are some differences.

But I think that both girls and boys follow the interests that they have. If a girl wants to look at a fashion or beauty making magazine or a teen magazine, a boy will look at a sports magazine or a car magazine.

One of the big things about the magazine industry is, it's become very targeted on areas of interest and areas of passion.

KEENAN: And you have Car & Driver.

KLIGER: Yes, I do.

KEENAN: It's your biggest selling name?

KLIGER: It's one of our biggest selling.

KEENAN: So, how do you keep people from not going online to try to get the same information? What do they get out of Car & Driver that...

KLIGER: We do both. I think our content is very viable on both online and in print. It's just a question of how they want to consume it.

But it's a very interactive medium in either way. So, I don't look at online as a threat. I look at it as a complement to magazines.

KEENAN: I guess Woman's Day is your biggest seller.

KLIGER: Woman's Day is our largest circulation, but that has a very good Web site as well.

KEENAN: Nina, how are you going to get the industry to better integrate the Web content with the magazine content? Is that a goal going forward?

LINK: I think they've been doing it the past few years, and a lot of people are really accelerating their efforts.

They're using the Internet for chat and community, for a lot of research, for surveys, for polls, for in-between issues.

BLACK: Blogs.

LINK: A way of young people and people of different interest areas talking to each other. But we're pretty savvy at the companies using the Internet.

BLACK: And it's not only young people. We see that our older readers are going back and forth between the Web and the magazines all the time, whether they be guys or whether they be women reading Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping in our stable. They're back and forth all the time.

KEENAN: Does it change the way you present your content, because I notice, like, Harper's Bazaar, everything is lot shorter than it used to be.

BLACK: Well, I think over, say, the last five-year period and certainly going forward, maybe a columnist today might write 400 words, as oppose to do a 2,000 piece about 10 years ago. But you want that interactivity. You want those pages to come alive, to show them how to buy products.

KLIGER: The Internet is a very hungry beast when it comes to content, and they've been looking to magazines to help with that. But there's definitely a different way of taking in the content. And I think Internet has also made the way we present magazines a little differently as well.

KEENAN: And you also have O magazine.

BLACK: We do.

KEENAN: Spectacularly successful. Is it also kind of the poster child of what the magazine industry might look like going forward?

BLACK: Well, I think we're incredibly lucky to have had the Oprah magazine. It just celebrated its fifth anniversary. We now have got O at Home, which is going to be a shelter magazine, hopefully six times a year in '06. But that's the ultimate in interactivity between them.

But, at the end of the day, think about where you read your magazines: in bed at night or on an airplane or any place where you are feeling good. You are engaged in it. You are entertained by it. And when I look out 10 or 15 years, I don't think it is going to be any different.

I think the Web site will morph into different things. But I think we are still going to be reading a magazine that appeals to our own personal interests or news or information. I don't see it's going to change.

KLIGER: Reading is still the number one leisure activity among most Americans. And it's always among the top three of how people like to relax. I don't think that's going to change.

KEENAN: And, Nina, Cathie was modest here, but a lot of people didn't think O was going to be a great success when it first started. And it has been. Is there a lot more celebrity-driven covers and content in magazines than there was a few years ago as well?

LINK: Well, you've certainly seen an explosion of celebrity-driven, although we all thought that O was going to be successful.

BLACK: And Oprah certainly did.

But I think there's a difference. She stands for something.

KLIGER: Right.

BLACK: So that women want to emulate her. They aspire not to be her literally, but they are just so a part of her, so that it's not everybody's name that can be put on the front of a magazine and you can expect it to be a success. I mean, that is really a fallacy.

Many people have tried. Many people will continue to try, but this is really a very unusual situation with Oprah Winfrey.

KLIGER: I think you are talking about brands. And magazines, among all media outlets, are really brands. And O is an example. I think ESPN is an example. It's not a personality, but there's an example of a television show that became a magazine.

LINK: And a lot of trust comes with these brands. So, you have a lot of content out there all over, but you need a filter. You need an editor, and I think that's what we bring.

KEENAN: All right. I read dozens of them a week...

KLIGER: Thank you.


KEENAN: Thanks to all of you, Jack Kliger, Cathie Black, and Nina Link.

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