INMA to continue Vail Roundtable as founder Tom Ratkovich retires

Tentative schedule for the next Roundtable – 19-21 August 2020


The International News Media Association (INMA) will continue The Roundtable in Vail beginning in 2020, as founder and organizer Tom Ratkovich retires after hosting the ‘anti-conference’ the past 27 years. The announcement was made in August 2019 in Vail at The Roundtable presented by LEAP Media Solutions, of which Ratkovich recently stepped down as the president.

Founded in 1993, The Roundtable began as a publisher retreat to discuss database marketing, which was the focus of Ratkovich’s company at the time, ASTECH InterMedia. Over time, The Roundtable became focused on more strategic issues facing news media yet maintained its intimate, casual and eclectic nature for several generations.

Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and chief executive officer of INMA, reported to Vail Roundtable participants that it was a great honor to continue the event’s legacy. While INMA will continue The Roundtable in Vail, the Sonnenalp Hotel, the event’s precise focus in 2020 and beyond is being discussed by the association’s global Board of Directors.

“Tom has built The Roundtable into a news industry tradition that has served multiple generations of media executives. We want to build on those traditions of informality and people connections via golf, hiking and all of the communal aspects of Vail while finding a programming formula that builds on INMA membership and can guide the news industry in the years ahead,” Wilkinson said.

The Roundtable is typically capped at 60 participants to preserve an intimate atmosphere. Most attendees are senior executives at North American media companies. INMA will include more global participants in 2020, with the event tentatively scheduled for 19 to 21 August 2020.

“It has been a great privilege to host 1,500 media executives at The Roundtable through the years. From database marketing to transformation, we’ve helped guide our industry through its biggest transition. And we might have had some fun along the way,” Ratkovich said.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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