Mega-Conference attendance seen offering Mega-ROI


Attending the Key Executives Mega-Conference can start paying off even before this premier industry gathering formally opens.

At a special bonus session on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 23, Matt Sanders, the general manager of Deseret Digital Media, leads a Native Advertising Workshop taken from one of the most popular sessions at the highly regarded Deseret Digital Media BootCamp.

Among the topics that will be probed in this increasingly important revenue source will be a guide to identifying what local businesses—including many that have never advertised in the print newspaper—are the best targets for native advertising.
The formal keynote opening of the Mega-Conference gets right to the core of the opportunities facing newspapers in 2017: “Thriving in digital transformation.” This opening address will be presented by two top executives at The Poynter Institute, Rick Edmonds, business media analyst and leader of news transformation, and Katie Hawkins-Gaar of the digital innovation faculty.

The program for this year’s Mega-Conference at the Marriott Orlando World Center, Feb. 23-25, was created around the theme “Innovation & Insight: The Business of Publishing News” by the co-sponsoring associations, Inland, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and Local Media Association.

Among its highlights will be a panel discussion of Gannett’s digital and marketing strategies recruited from the very top of the United States’ biggest newspaper publisher: CEO Bob Dickey, Chief Strategy Officer Maribel Perez Wadsworth and Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Gentzel will share their vision of the future of Gannett, which has been aggressively expanding its footprint and ramping up its digital capabilities. The session will be moderated by Florida Today Executive Editor Bob Gabordi.

This year’s Mega-Conference will offer an opportunity for newspaper executives to see their industry from the eyes of an acute outside observer. The conference co-sponsors asked Brad Thatcher of the New York-based public relations firm Thatcher + Co. to study how the local media can tell its powerful story at a time when the new shiny object that is digital media is getting all the attention. Thatcher promises to reveal what it will take to reinvent and reposition the local media opportunity for the advertising community.

With a strong focus on actual achievements in preserving and growing revenue, Mega-Conference sessions will highlight both opportunity and pitfalls—sometime at the same session. That’s the case in the afternoon session Feb. 23 entitled Driving Digital $$$ Success.

Lana Champion, senior vice president of sales and marketing for The Florida Times-Union, will recount how the Jacksonville paper grew digital revenue explosively despite intense market competition. Then Casey Hester, the senior vice president/operations for Journal Communications, will discuss with Maggie Louie of Dev/Con Detect how to stop revenue losses from ad-skimming fraud—vital tips for newspapers using a third-party developer to manage their sites.

See the complete Mega-Conference program here.