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Print: It’s not all about newspapers!

Much of the press industry news focuses on the newspapers, their decline in circulation and the consolidation of titles that are seemingly poles apart, as discussed by Greg Pipe in a recent article. However, these news headlines often fail to recognise the role of magazines within the industry. This channel is holding its own, with circulations largely stable across the field.

Firstly, newspapers and magazines should not be compared like-for-like, as they both play different roles in advertising. Whilst newspapers provide mass audience exposure, magazines serve as a more targeted tool. Newspapers are bought and consumed primarily for news whereas magazines are more aligned with the lifestyle choices and habits of their readers. News can now be easily found online whereas the vastness of the internet sometimes makes targeted, trustworthy ‘opinion’ more difficult to find.

Magazines provide highly engaged audiences content that is more trusted than online sources; this can provide the foundation for a successful campaign.

Magazine image

The latest data on consumer magazines shows one area of weakness is the Women’s Weekly space, where only one of the 23 magazines operating in this space posted circulation growth for the first half of the year, with the average decline at just over 10% year-on-year (YoY) across the market. TV Listings follow closely with a 5% decline YoY, but the stats start to get interesting here as we actually see a 3% growth in the number of subscriptions. This is a statistic shared across the market where subscriber numbers paint a far more positive picture than the headline circulation figures suggest.

All Response Media Viewpoint

Magazines should always be considered as part of a press media plan. Although they don’t provide the big circulation numbers that the likes of The Sun and The Metro can boast, they do offer up a highly targeted option, plus a loyal readership base as highlighted by the subscription data. With over 500 magazines in the market across many verticals, there is a multitude of opportunities to match the reader profiles to your target audience.

With highly defined targeting, we often see high response rates for magazines. Given the general health of the press industry, magazines are keener than ever to ensure they remain buoyant and attract new advertisers into their titles: more attractive pricing helps to keep the cost per acquisition low and provides a less risky opportunity.

However, as the majority of titles have loyal readers, you can reach saturation point quickly and see responsiveness drop off within the individual titles after extensive exposure. Campaigns must be tactical, but there are good deals to be negotiated so please speak to your account team if you’re yet to test the press waters!