Magazine Group Cancels Annual Conference

MPA Opts for Shorter New York-Based Event Instead of Boca Raton

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Magazine Publishers of America is canceling its big annual conference, which had been planned for Boca Raton, Fla., this October, and replacing it with a smaller agenda to be presented in New York.

It's a move not seen since October 2001, when the magazine association moved the conference to New York from Phoenix and shortened it by a day following the Sept. 11 attacks and anthrax mailings.

This time the impetus is purely economic. The recession has pushed many companies to slash or eliminate their travel budgets, among other costs, making it hard for many publishers and editors to get to Boca. Rumors about this year's magazine conference began circulating this week, in the wake of news about several members' defections over dues.

The event in New York, to last a day or a day and a half, won't include a lot of the magazine conference mainstays. "It's a much smaller, business-oriented event focused on innovation," a spokesman said, confirming the move. "It's not going to have the parties and the celebrities chefs and the ferry rides and things like that."

The magazine association isn't alone in rethinking its marquee event. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America said Monday it was canceling its 2009 National Convention and Trade Show, scheduled for May 17-19 in Miami, where it was also due to announce its annual OBIE Awards for creative achievement in outdoor.

In a note to outdoor media companies and agencies, OAAA president-CEO Nancy Fletcher said the organization had contacted every principal member to gauge their support of this year's trade show. "Many of you are struggling and making difficult decisions related to your businesses," she said. "A common theme we heard in our calls: now is the time to stay home and take care of our customers and employees."

The Magazine Publishers of America has recently seen withdrawals from Hachette Filipacchi, the publisher of Elle and Road & Track; American Media, the publisher of Star and the National Enquirer; and New York Magazine, which won awards for its covers at last year's American Magazine Conference.

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