Wenner did say Rolling Stone was looking at implementing social networking to facilitate music fans seeing live music. (A spokesman for the company later told WWD that Men's Journal's site will also be growing, probably by next fall.)
What about the risk of becoming "my father's magazine," as Pearlstine described the threat of the digital age? Wenner pointed out the digital music revolution had also helped young people find the music that inspired his magazine. "Who was just telling me that Rolling Stone led to them reconnecting with their kid?" Wenner said, looking out at the audience. Portfolio publisher David Carey tentatively raised a hand. "Maybe I'm deluding myself," Wenner concluded, "but the richness of the field is as great as it's ever been."
In justifying what Pearlstine called the "pessimistic tone" of Rolling Stone lately on topics like President Bush and global warming, Wenner said, "The only person I know who is optimistic is Bill Gates....If you have $50 billion, of course you're optimistic." "At what market cap do you become optimistic?" Pearlstine wondered. "Not at my market cap!" said Wenner.
He pointed out he would "absolutely entertain buying more magazines if they were the right kind of scale, and if we could leverage it with our advertising," though he said his launch days were likely past.