With a week to go until the PPA’s flagship conference next week, TMB caught up with its chief exec Barry McIlheney to take the pulse of the consumer and B2B magazine world.
Although, as we discuss in the video above, “magazine” isn’t always the best term to describe what it is PPA members do – McIlheney is relaxed about allowing digital-only members into the association. The company changed its name this year from Periodical to Professional Publishers’ Association, reflecting both how old-fashioned a word periodical and how its membership is changing.
At the conference McIlheney will interview Feargal Sharkey, former punk rocker turner 80s crooner and now CEO of the UK Music industry group. Piracy is a massive issue for magazines and publishers are increasingly wary of not repeating the mistakes of the music industry, which, some may argue, wrongly assumed that sales of physical goods would always stand strong.
Is the industry too focused on the profitable print side and not the growth areas of digital? “Magazine publishers aren’t like King Canute,” he says – arguing that no one is holding back the tide of digital publishing. But on the consumer side of the membership, research shows 85 percent of revenue comes from print, so you can’t blame publishers for putting their efforts towards maintaining that, he says.
I also couldn’t resist asking him about what went on the at the Daily Sport, the low-brow red-top newspaper that went out of business this month – two years after McIlheney and Loaded founder James Brown were brought in to turn the title around.