Consumer magazine ABCs: analysis
The latest ABC results chart all the trends for the consumer magazine market. Here, industry experts digest the findings.
Jamie Higginson, Director at MediaCom
In terms of scoops, this isn’t the front page exclusive we usually associate with printed media. This decline, albeit at a relatively slow pace, is thoroughly predictable and a real struggle for publishers to reverse. While there are examples of success (such as Heat and Red), the vast majority of consumer magazines continue to decrease in circulation.
This decline is not a unique challenge. All traditional media are coming to terms with audiences – particularly younger demographics – migrating to digital alternatives. Notably, linear TV is declining in reach as video content is increasingly consumed online. Even beyond media we see parallels in retail as bricks and mortar outlets close and eCommerce grows.
From an agency perspective, we must not take a myopic view of one channel in silo. For any advertiser, consumer magazines operate in a system of communications and it is from this system view we must plan campaigns. In this context, the primary reason for investing in consumer magazines is rarely reach or scale (as other channels like TV or OOH take up this role).
Although we negotiate cost based on circulations change, relatively small circulation decreases should not stop us utilising magazines if they remain beneficial to an advertisers’ wider communications system. These benefits include reaching an engaged audience, alongside quality and brand safe content, for long dwell times, in an environment of trust, while tapping into a consumers subject of passion.
While agencies and advertisers can continue to utilise these advantages for their brands, there is a valid case for the role of consumer magazines in our campaigns.
Graham Martin, Head of Publishing and Partnerships, Total Media
The most interesting thing to look at here is the the context in which publishing brands are operating today. The way audiences interact with content has changed beyond recognition and will continue to do so.
In this landscape, looking at ads purely via scale in print is now much less relevant, so we should increasingly be looking at the relevance of brands, the environment they offer and the trust people have in them.
Magnetic has started a really worthwhile conversation around this with its “Pay Attention” campaign. When you read a magazine you read it in an immersive way, with few distractions – the case is even truer for a print magazine. Adverts are part of the experience and have been curated to fit within the media environment.
The challenge for agencies going forward is to educate clients around an evolving narrative. Media brands are now looking at new ways of generating income beyond advertising, for example Hearst’s brand extensions.
We need to work harder to articulate these opportunities and the benefits attached to reached a smaller, engaged audience.