November 2016 Inlander

At the seventh Mega-Conference in 2017, a theme of ‘Innovation & Insight: The Business of Publishing News’


In its seventh year, the Key Executives Mega-Conference has established itself as the most wide-ranging of any industry gathering with a rich program drawing top media figures as presenters, unparalleled networking opportunities and showcases for the providers of innovative and vital products and services.

Virtually since the moment the 2016 Mega-Conference in Austin, Texas, concluded last February, its three co-sponsoring associations-Inland, the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and Local Media Association-have huddled to create programming, accommodations and logistical support to ensure a rewarding experience for the nearly 900 attendees expected.

That rich mix is reflected in the theme of the 2017 Mega-Conference coming to Orlando from Thursday, February 23 through Saturday, February 25: "Innovation & Insight: The Business of Publishing News."

This lessons-learned focus starts immediately with a bonus session at 10 a.m. Thursday before the formal start of the Mega-Conference at 1 p.m. Matt Sanders, senior director and general manager of Deseret Digital Media will reflect on the critical insights this industry leader in digital innovation has gained from its three years of growing native advertising as an important revenue source. This topic-which draws industry executives to the acclaimed traveling Deseret Digital Media BootCamp-is sure to draw an early crowd.

Another very popular presentation is returning to the 2017 Mega-Conference: Borrell Associates' projections of 2017 advertising performance across media categories, presented this year by its vice president of research & analysis, Corey Elliot.

Among the justifiable insights and innovations in digital media that Mega-Conference sessions will focus on, an important presentation from a leading public relations expert will explore how local media can best present its compelling and powerful story to the advertising community.

In preparation for his Mega-Conference appearance, Thatcher + Co.'s Brad Thatcher has spent the past year researching local media, interviewing its executives and thinking deeply about how to change the narrative about local media.

And if you're wondering what Gannett has learned since its spin-off as a standalone publishing business, you can hear it from the very top: CEO Bob Dickey, Chief Strategy Officer Maribel Perez Wadsworth and Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Gentzel. This will be a frank discussion of its strategy, its initiatives in innovation and the aggressive growth of the USA Today Network.

As part of its transformation, Gannett leaned on Learning Outsource Group to train its sales leader. Learning Outsource's training director, Kim Ward, will offer insights into how businesses and consumers make buying decisions these days-and how the bountiful data intelligence now available on buyer and seller is changing the media sales landscape. Bonus: The first 100 attendees at this session will get a free copy of Ward's new book, "The New Selling IQ-Cooperation Selling."

Throughout its three days, the Mega-Conference will look at important topics in driving digital revenue, print as a disruptor, new approaches to print frequency, the science of storytelling, driving digital success-and more.
The venue for the 2017 Key Executives Mega-Conference is the Marriott Orlando World Center.

More information about the Mega-Conference program, registration, accommodations, sponsorship and vendor opportunities is available at One tip: Register by Nov. 14 to save $100 on the registration fee.