Jack Kliger: Magazines 'No Longer Threatened by Digital'

VIDEO: MPA President Defends Magazine Shutdowns as 'Productive' and Inevitable

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PHOENIX ( -- The magazine business has come a long way in the last year, Jack Kliger told the American Magazine conference this morning.

"We are no longer threatened by digital media," said Mr. Kliger, president-CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. and chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. "We are figuring out how to use it to our advantage.

No death knell
"We are no longer fighting circulation transparency, we are addressing the right approach to it. We are no longer debating whether to market our medium, we are discussing the most effective way to do so. We are no longer reluctant to be a part of the advertising results debate, we are demanding to be a full participant in the advertising effectiveness discussion."

Mr. Kliger also said that shutting down magazines, as he did earlier this year with the print edition of Elle Girl, should be seen as productive, not a death knell for a company or the industry.

The opposite of death
"As we develop new brands and platforms, we should at the same time be willing to eliminate unproductive products without fearing that thinning the herd means we are signaling our industry's demise," he told attendees.

"Because closing a magazine is no more a sign of the death of the industry than the cancellation of a TV series means the shutdown of a network -- or a haircut is a sign that you're going bald. Most of the time, it's quite the opposite," he said.

Change agent
On a slightly more personal note, Mr. Kliger said he wanted and expected the magazine industry to outlast his tenure by a mile.

"I've been in the magazine business for most of my adult life," he said. "And I'm not ready to end up my career watching our industry get marginalized and fade away. I'd rather be an agent of change than efficiently manage our decline. And I'd rather pave the way so the next generation of editors and publishers can have long and rewarding careers, where magazines are a renewable resource firmly ensconced in a seat at the big table."

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