The aim of the 2023 Roundtable at Vail is to provide horizon planning for INMA’s corporate member news media companies. This will be an interactive retreat in a relaxed and confidential setting to identify likely growth paths through 2024.
As background, news media companies are experiencing tremendous challenges in transitioning their business models in the context of one of the best economies in the past century. What parts of the news business are most exposed to recessionary winds? As recessions tend to accelerate trends already in the market, what scenarios exist for business performance post-recession — from reader revenue to advertising to operations? What are the strategic “north stars” to which media companies should aim?
2023 marks the return of The Roundtable at Vail operated by the International News Media Association (INMA). Our aim is to leverage the collective brainpower of the INMA membership network to chart scenarios for the next three years.
The Roundtable will operate under “Chatham House rules” whereby participants may use the information generated yet otherwise not publicly reveal discussions about the Vail event. That includes sharing information on social media.
The Roundtable is not a conference, but a conversation. Faculty members will share their stories or their assignments, and this will serve as a conversation-starter. Our aim is to provide INMA corporate members with a scenario-based road map to take back home and share.
We promise that The Roundtable will be informal: no suits, no ties, no jackets. This is more of a “jeans and shorts” type of retreat.
The Roundtable will be limited to 60 participants. For nearly three decades, The Roundtable has proven that intimacy breeds interaction. When you depart Vail, you will do so empowered by knowledge, unbridled enthusiasm, and a peer group without peers.
For 27 years, The Roundtable at Vail has focused on media transformation: business models, revenue diversification, consumer monetisation, data-optimised marketing, and more. Founded by Tom Ratkovich, 2023 marks the first year The Roundtable is run by the International News Media Association (INMA).
Since its inception, The Roundtable has remained a unique and compelling event. It is not just forward thinking, but thinking forward. It is about building a road map to prosperity in an environment of constant change and challenge.
In 1993, ASTECH InterMedia hosted the inaugural Roundtable in Snowmass, Colorado. A gathering of 45 publishing professionals discussed and debated the opportunities surrounding database marketing. The Roundtable was hosted by Tom Ratkovich, ASTECH founder and president.
The Roundtable quickly came to be known as the premier event for strategic thinking in a practical environment, driving change by not just sharing best practices but providing a road map for implementation and success. The Roundtable was the “anti-conference” — intimate, casual, eclectic — with an emphasis on interaction and exchange.
In 1999, The Roundtable migrated to its current venue at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail. The change of venue brought with it a change of focus as The Roundtable became a nexus for the debate and discussion of media transformation in a digital age.
More than 1,500 news executives have participated in The Roundtable in its first 27 years.
INMA’s inspiration for the 2023 Roundtable at Vail is Tom Ratkovich, who founded the event and recently retired.
Through most of his career, Tom hosted The Roundtable — first at ASTECH InterMedia, then at smartFOCUS, then at Leap Media Solutions. While the companies changed, Tom did not. Passionate about a newspaper industry fast evolving into “news media” companies, Tom wanted to run an annual event that brought together thought leaders in a casual environment.
After an early career at Claritas and National Demographics & Lifestyles, Tom founded ASTECH InterMedia in 1992 before selling the company in 2008 to U.K.-based smartFOCUS. In 2012, he founded Leap Media Solutions, which enables audience growth, engagement, and monetisation through its data-optimised audience solutions. Leap was acquired by BlueVenn in late 2017, and Ratkovich continued as Leap president until June 2019.
Tom and his wife, Monica, reside in Hawaii where they are focusing on their “next chapter.”