CEO Outlook

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Advertising Age asked the leadership of 16 top publishing houses a battery of professional and personal questions. Their edited responses follow:

Ed Kelly, president-CEO, American Express Publishing Corp.

Biggest challenge in 2001: "The three P's: Personnel, paper and postage."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: "The partnerships we can develop with luxury marketers."

Best thing to happen to American Express in 2000: "AmEx stock split three to one."

Worst thing to happen to American Express in 2000: Personnel departures.

Ad outlook for 2001: "I'm bullish, but cautiously. It's the only way to be."

Favorite movie: "Glengarry Glen Ross"

How has the business changed?: "It's so much more about integration than it was a couple of years ago. If you're not into doing that, you're not going to be successful."

Favorite article: "Behind the Scenes at Singapore Airlines," Travel & Leisure.

David Pecker, CEO, American Media

Biggest challenge in 2001: Circulation. "Both newsstand and subscriptions."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: Advertising in American's extensive tabloid holdings. "I think there's a lot of opportunities in package goods and consumer products."

Best thing that happened to American in 2000: Hiring Betty Rockmore from Meredith to create a direct response unit for American and Roger Black's redesign of American's tabloids.

Worst thing to happen in 2000: "The continuing deterioration of wholesaler service throughout the U.S.," which meant American lost "close to 30,000 small retail outlets."

Favorite magazine outside American: People

Property I wish American owned: Car & Driver. "It would fit perfectly with [American's newly launched] Auto World Weekly."

Last book read: "Mean Business: How I save bad companies and make good companies great," Chainsaw' Al Dunlap

Favorite movie: "The Godfather"

Favorite Website:

How has the business changed?: Magazines are becoming "too dependent" on advertising for revenue, as advertising's share of total revenue keeps growing.

Quotable: "I would not be surprised to see publishers scrounging around and looking for other ways to display their magazines, or service retailers directing themselves through a printer and UPS."

Steve Florio, president-CEO, Conde Nast Publications

Biggest challenge in 2001: "We'd like to have as good a year as in 2000."

Conde Nast's biggest opportunity in 2001: "Titles we've already made investments in, like Mademoiselle, Glamour and Allure, and making them succeed."

Best thing to happen to Conde Nast in 2000: "Seeing record issues in many of our titles," like The New Yorker, GQ, Vanity Fair and Wired.

Worst thing to happen to Conde Nast in 2000: "We lost a couple of people in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots" at Conde Nast titles.

Last book read: "In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex," Nathaniel Philbrick

Favorite movie: "The Godfather" or "Princess Bride."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Very bullish."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "A concern for all magazines."

Property I wish Conde Nast owned: "How great would it be for us to have Vogue and Elle, or Glamour and Cosmo."

How has the business changed? "It's no longer a fraternity -- it's bloodsport. You better go with it that way. I do."

Quotable: "I used to make the joke this was a place where they put the bad kids from good families. You know Dad was the chairman of a Wall Street firm, older brother was a Yale-trained surgeon, you were kinda flunking out of Harvard, so, `let's get him a job in the magazine business.' Lots of golf, lots of long lunch dates. And that's so over. It is so over."

Steve Colvin, president of Dennis Publishing

Biggest challenge in 2001: "Dealing with the rapid growth in the size of our company, and ensuring we realize the potential of Maxim and Stuff."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: "Expanding upon the base of magazines we already have."

Best thing to happen to Dennis in 2000: Maxim's circulation topping 2 million.

Worst thing to happen in to Dennis 2000: Having to find office space "in this overinflated market."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Excellent."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "It's tough, but we're feeling confident."

Favorite magazine outside Dennis: Cue and Fast Company

Favorite Website:

Favorite movie: "Betty Blue" or "Rumblefish"

Last book read: "Corelli's Mandolin"

Tom Moloney, CEO, Emap USA

Biggest challenge in 2001: "Translating our brands across multimedia platforms."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: See above.

Best thing to happen to Emap in 2000: Discovering, as part of the Petersen acquisition "that we acquired a collection of really talented individuals."

Worst thing to happen to Emap in 2000: "The thought that a 15% postal increase will be passed through when there's absolutely no logical grounds for it."

Property I wish Emap owned: Car and Driver

Favorite Website: "I tend to use the Web to keep in touch with the U.K."

Last book read: "The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story"

Favorite movie: "The Godfather"

How has the business changed?: Maybe not so much. "The fundamental skills remain the same: You need to have people that create tremendous editorial work, and then you need people that can sell it to consumers and advertisers."

Mary Berner, president-CEO, Fairchild Publications

Biggest challenge in 2001: "The challenge and opportunity is the same -- to follow through" and show results on investments and changes at consumer and business-to-business titles.

Best thing to happen to Fairchild in 2000: The creation of an executive committee that's half Fairchild-ers and half outsiders "and sort of getting everyone to come together for the betterment of Fairchild."

Worst thing to happen to Fairchild in 2000: Making decisions to remove key personnel, "Those are tough."

Ad outlook for 2001: Optimistic.

Newsstand outlook for 2001: Cautiously optimistic.

Favorite magazine outside Fairchild: Conde Nast Traveler

Property I wish Fairchild owned: New York Times Book Review. "So I can read what the critics say before anyone else."

Last book read: "Trans-Sister Radio"

Favorite movie: "The Sound of Music"

How has the business changed?: "There's an emphasis on efficiency as opposed to volume."

Dan Brewster, president-CEO, Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA

Biggest challenge in 2001: Increase scale and broaden portfolio of titles.

Best thing that happened to G & J in 2000: Shareholder support for market expansion.

Worst thing that happened to G & J in 2000: Write-off on dot-com investments.

Ad outlook for 2001: Continued favorable.

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "Improved opportunity in targeted outlets, otherwise, ugh."

Property I wish G & J owned: Pebble Beach

Book On the nighttable: "When We Were Orphans"

Favorite Movie: "The Bicycle Thief"

Jack Kliger, president-CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines

Biggest challenge in 2001: Paper, postal and distribution costs.

Biggest opportunity in 2001: "Taking our substantial investment in special-interest content and migrating it in appropriate ways and building new platforms around it."

Best thing that happened to Hachette in 2001: Becoming wholly owned by Lagardere Group.

Worst thing that happened to Hachette in 2001: "The first half business environment didn't last longer."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Fairly healthy"

Newsstand outlook 2001: "Expensive . . . We'e in a consolidation hangover."

Property I wished Hachette owned: Car collector title Hemmings. "A fine product, and great for our stable."

Favorite movie: "Chariots of Fire"

Last book read: "The Sword and The Olive: A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Forces"

How has the business changed? "The new model is to figure out how to syndicate content into new sources of revenue."

Quotable: Regarding the return of ex-industry types fleeing the "defibrillating dot-coms": They're "thinking they've added a lot of value to themselves, which is questionable."

Cathie Black, president, Hearst Magazines

Biggest challenge in 2001: Finding new revenue streams and keeping costs under control.

Biggest opportunity in 2001: The possibility of O: The Oprah Magazine, becoming profitable, "which, if all goes well, will happen."

Best thing to happen in 2000: launches of O and CosmoGirl

Worst thing to happen in 2000: Wholesaler consolidation

Ad outlook for 2001: Optimistic. "The luxury goods market is just continuing to explode."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "Tough. Really, really tough."

Book on nighttable: "Real Boys' Voices"

Magazine most like to own: "I wish Hearst had bought Architectural Digest."

Favorite in-house article in 2000: "3000 Degrees: The Untold Story of the Worcester Warehouse Fire and the Six Men Who Died Fighting It," Esquire, July 2000.

Quotable: A celebrity-saturated public as the yet another factor impinging on newsstand sales: "If it's not exactly the right person, you can take a dive."

Chris Little, president Meredith Corp. Publishing Group

Biggest challenge in 2001: "Continuing to be smarter about how we target audiences, and how we show the effectiveness of magazines" in reaching them.

Biggest opportunity: To broaden what we do for an advertiser while at the same time being ever more targeted about who we're reaching.

Best thing to happen to Meredith in 2000: The development of newer titles More, Renovation Style, and Family Money.

Worst thing to happen to Meredith in 2000: Rise in paper prices.

Favorite Website: Duke Blue Devils college basketball site

Ad outlook for 2001: "Hard to say, [although] substantial opportunities" lurk in health and pharmaceuticals.

Newsstand outlook 2001: Bullish. "There's a significant opportunity over time to reach more people in nontraditional outlets.

Favorite movie: "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Book on nighttable: "Hide and Seek"

How has the business changed? "I don't think the basic model ever changes it's just evolving into a business at the core of which is the magazine and magazine brand."

Tom Rogers, chairman-CEO, Primedia

Biggest challenge for Primedia's magazines in 2001: "To integrate a bunch of properties always managed as individual entities and create a much more unified approach to their operations and marketing."

Biggest opportunity for Primedia's magazines in 2001: Incremental advertising revenues stemming from integrated buys.

Best thing to happen to Primedia in 2000: Hiring John Loughlin as CEO of the consumer magazine group and David Ferm as CEO for business-to-business group.

Worst thing to happen to Primedia in 2000: Newsstand sales. "Like the rest of the industry."

Ad outlook for 2001: "So far, it looks pretty good . . . I continue to be very bullish on the value of endemic advertising which exists in print magazines to make the phone ring and drive sales."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "The larger companies will be able to survive much better than medium-sized and smaller companies when it comes to newsstand sales."

Favorite magazine outside Primedia: New York Times Magazine

Favorite Website: (which he co-founded.)

Property I wish Primedia owned: "The McLaughlin Group"

Last book read: "Who Moved My Cheese?"

Favorite movie: "The Deerhunter"

Greg Coleman, senior VP-president U.S. magazine publishing, Reader's Digest Association

Biggest challenge in 2001: Increased postal rates.

Biggest opportunity: Non-sweepstakes subscription sources.

Favorite magazine outside of RDA: Forbes

Last book read: "Angela's Ashes"

Ad outlook for 2001: "Interesting," ads are ahead of a "substantial budgeted increase for fiscal 2001."

Favorite movie: "Glengarry Glen Ross"

Property I wish RDA owned: National Geographic

Favorite article in RDA magazine: "What Mothers Need to Know About Their Sons,"

Steve Murphy, president, Rodale Biggest challenge in 2001: "To successfully align our activities, people and assets to take advantage of all media platforms."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: "Taking full advantage of No. 1."

Best thing to happen to Rodale in 2000: "Fortune magazine rated us one of the top 100 places to work in America."

Worst thing to happen to Rodale in 2000: "Early in the year several of our properties had lost some key people and, according to the buzz, were behind the 8-ball. But we successfully turned that around within the year."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Extremely positive."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "I don't want to sound glib, but it's true: It's tough and getting tougher, yet for the last 10 years it's been tough and getting tougher."

Favorite magazine outside Rodale: "I read The New Yorker -- yes, The New Yorker -- and I admire Fast Company."

Favorite Web site: "I use and I admire

Last book read: "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind"

Favorite movie: "The Godfather, Part II"

Property I wish Rodale owned: Walt Disney Co.

Don Logan, chief executive officer, Time Inc.

Biggest challenge in 2001: Learning to work within the AOL/Time Warner environment.

Biggest opportunity in 2001: Making sure all of these opportunities with AOL come to fruition.

Best thing to happen to Time Inc. in 2000: Launching five new magazines.

Worst thing to happen to Time Inc. in 2000: "Having to absorb the losses from five magazines and still make profit objectives."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Cautiously optimistic. There appears to be a little bit of a slowdown in the third and fourth quarter [of 2000], but I think the economy's still strong."

Newsstand outlook, 2001: "Long-term, we're bullish on single-copy, but I don't see any fixes in the short-term."

Favorite article that ran in a company magazine this year: Fortune's and Time's coverage of AOL/Time Warner merger.

Favorite Magazine outside Time Inc.: Bassmaster

Property I wish Time Inc. owned: A major fishing magazine, so I can work in edit.

Favorite Web site: Auburn University Tigers college football site

Last book read: "Pagan Babies"

How has the business changed?: Not all that much. "Any magazine that launches today that can't find success from the tradition stream of core advertisers and readership has a problem. The Web is there to enhance a magazine's proposition, not to change it."

A. Douglas Peabody, TKTITLE, Weider Publications

Biggest challenge in 2001: "Disruption and disarray in distribution channels."

Biggest opportunity in 2001: Brand extensions of Weider titles into Web, wireless, and other new realms.

Best thing to happen to Weider in 2000: Back-to-back record-setting quarters.

Worst thing to happen in 2000: "The whole wholesaler consolidation issue."

Ad outlook for 2001: "Good. The only thing that's down is dot-com spending."

Favorite magazine outside Weider: "The newsmagazines."

Property I wish Weider owned: Outside

Last book read: "Flags of Our Fathers"

How has the business changed?: "The model has essentially remained the same, but the third leg is now the possibilities brought on by tech and ancillary products."Jim Dunning, chairman-CEO and president, Ziff Davis Media

Biggest challenge in 2001: "To take our brands and make them marketing solutions."

Best thing to happen to Ziff Davis in 2000: "Without being too braggadocious, an entrepreneur bought Ziff Davis . . . and we have $118 million of excess cash in the bank."

Worst thing to happen to Ziff Davis in 2000: The announced merger of ZDNet and CNET "that sets up a very interesting business combination," to say nothing of leaving some Ziff Davis' online brands in limbo.

Ad outlook for 2001: "2000 is great and 2001 should be somewhat better."

Newsstand outlook for 2001: "It will continue to be a challenge for publishers."

Favorite magazine outside Ziff Davis: Sports Illustrated

Favorite Web site:

Property I wish Ziff Davis owned: New York Mets.

Last book read: "American Rhapsody"

Favorite Movie: "Citizen Kane"

How has the business changed? "Multiplatform content. That's the driver for the 21st century."

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