Recap of Adobe Panel at MPA AMC

Building Your Business in Digital Publishing

This week at the MPA AMC conference, Adobe’s Nick Bogaty shared the stage with three digital publishing trailblazers: Pam McCarthy from The New Yorker, Sean Bumgarner from Men’s Health, and Jonathan Dorn from Backpacker magazine. The group discussed building a business in digital publishing: from adapting to the ever-evolving device landscape to providing valuable advertising.

MPA’s Ethan Grey, VP of Digital at MPA, kicked off the panel with the question: “What is a magazine?” which is a topic that reverberated throughout the conference. For example, earlier panelists and speakers proved that a magazine extends beyond the printed page through programming and content that feeds the passions of its readership. Yoga Journal is driving revenue through live AcroYoga trainings, National Geographic writer Andrew Evans tells long form travel stories through tweets and blog posts and Food & Wine has teamed up with the St. Regis Aspen Resort to create a concept restaurant called Chef’s Club.

Photograph courtesy of Doug Goodman, MPA

(right) Ethan Grey, Vice President, Digital

(left) Nick Bogaty, Director Business Development, Adobe
(center) Sean Bumgarner, Interactive Design Director, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Prevention
(2nd from left) Jonathan Dorn, General Manager, AIM Outdoor Group
(2nd from right) Pamela Maffei McCarthy, Deputy Editor, The New Yorker

Magazines tell a story

As Jonathan Dorn explained, magazines are built around a core of storytelling. The format can change, but the story remains the same. The role of a magazine publisher is to build an engaged audience around a specific story or passion, and all panelists agreed: magazine brands need to exist wherever readers are, be it their iPhone, tablet, web, or twitter. While this presents a great opportunity to connect with readers, it also presents a challenge. Which channels are the most important?

The medium needs to match the brand

Sean Bumgarner, who led the charge to make Men’s Health first to market on the iPhone, saw the advantage of reaching millions of people on a device that is constantly at our side. He views mobile devices as opportunities, not only to touch millions of readers, but also to provide high value real estate for advertisers. Within the editorial experience, readers can dive into engaging, high definition ads with gorgeous backlit imagery and ultimately purchase products without leaving the app. The tablet is a new space for advertising, and publishers have the opportunity to define the space, and create great content in partnership with advertisers.

Consistent design across channels

While there are myriad opportunities for connecting with readers, magazines need to uphold the integrity of their brand and maintain a consistent look and feel across channels. Pam McCarthy’s team conducted surveys showing that readers of The New Yorker deem it important to recognize The New Yorker when they see it – be it on the physical or the digital newsstand.

That’s where Adobe comes in.

Nick Bogaty shared some insight into Digital Publishing Suite’s origins. During the initial product design stages, the Adobe user experience team lined up publishers’ print magazines and websites. They found that the print magazine was the medium that differentiated the brand. It allowed designers to control the layout, look and feel of the content. Web design, however, locked them in to a narrow set of layout options given the web is highly template driven. It did not allow them to preserve the branded experience of their publications. For that reason, Digital Publishing Suite has been built around the InDesign platform – the platform that designers use to express the brand and captivate its audience.

These leading publishers were invited to share their story and are being successful in driving digital readership and adoption, not only because they are using Digital Publishing Suite to reach readers through engaging experiences that leap off the page, but also because they are visionaries. They try new means to reach new readers, from iPhone publishing to social sharing of content. They look to the horizon, and see the new devices as opportunities to extend their brands and provide great experiences for their readers.

Want to learn more about the conference? Read the MPA’s blog post, AMC 2012 Conference Highlights.




  • By Simon - 3:46 AM on October 30, 2012  

    Thank you, interesting read, especially since I read Men’s Health and The New Yorker quite frequently. I’ll check that blog-link later today.

  • By hostman001 - 12:43 AM on October 25, 2012  


  • By Anthony - 12:47 AM on October 20, 2012  

    Digital Publishing is the future for sure.