Written in 2016, much of this content remains pertinent, though facts and data are slightly outdated. This proved a popular post, hence remains live on site.
Dominic Mills (Ex Publisher of Haymarket and Editor of Campaign) wrote recently about the cover lines of magazines being detrimental to sales, and I’d have to agree that the salacious, personal ‘bullying’ and hyperbole of headlines is often off-putting. The societal need for self-loathing and desperation for self-improvement in equal measures is well represented on many mainstream magazine front covers- it’s a damming statement for society that the biggest selling titles tend to cover horror stories you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies!
However, the need to shout is a consequence of cluttered and declining market. Who wants ordinary?
In April the Advertising Association and WARC released a report showing the advertising industry, as a whole, was in rude health with UK spend up 5.8% to £18.6bn.
National News brands and magazines were the only losers with print ad spend in steep decline, rescued only by the increase in digital income.
The problem newspapers and magazines face is the perception that they remain platforms that their names allude to; paper and print. In reality, consumption of those platforms are evenly spread across print and digital, and the platforms must work hard to be seen as news brands and content platforms.
In the news brand market the Sun and Times have limited their shift to digital due to the paywalls, but the likes of the Telegraph, Mail, Mirror, Guardian and Independent have seen huge shifts of reach from print to digital and, as such, their commercial structure has shifted also.
However there’s still a place for print. The recent UK elections demonstrated the power of press and the importance of the platforms as outlets for news, opinion….and bias!
Whilst the newspaper still saw a mixed bag of declining circulation or a period of stabilisation (probably worse than expected results?) their role in a democratic society should not be underestimated.
For news brands, we should never underestimate the importance of these platforms for news distribution, opinion and information. In a content rich world, newspapers often remain the key platform to which society turns for knowledge.
In terms of magazines, several titles still return healthy circulation and readership figures. From TV Choice, to Glamour, Radio Times and Good Housekeeping, circulations for several titles are still in the hundreds of thousands.
We have several clients in the magazine market and we continue to give the channel due consideration for all clients. The change we have instigated is a shift of budget away from print to digital, but also from generic display advertising to more creative, more integrated ideas around content, native, inserts and competitions. Ultimately, using the titles to their strengths.
Magazines are a highly trusted medium and referred to for inspiration and ideas. Integrating with content and being part of that inspiration is one common tactic whether that’s online or in print.
They offer significant dwell time in a relatively uncluttered environment which means greater engagement.
The declining circulations also mean titles have become introspective, focusing on their customers, understanding their desires, needs and motivation and providing better content and better opportunities for advertisers. That makes them a compelling partner for us and our clients.
Magazine circulations will continue to decline and more consumers will shift to digital platforms but with more engaging and connecting content, magazines should remain on every client’s eye line.
As Sue Todd, Chief Executive of Magnetic, the magazine marketing agency stated, ‘Magazine media is growing in power and influence as consumers demand more compelling content which inspires ideas and helps them make choices in an ever more cluttered world’.