Magazine ABCs: In support of magazine metrics

Magazine ABCs: data goes live today
Magazine ABCs: data goes live today

Rather than scouring a 73 page pdf document to get a full overview of the health of the magazine marketplace, logging into the new interactive tables today provided instant visual clues, says an enthusiastic Mark Jones from Carat.

Glancing at the News & Current Affairs sector for the six monthly ABC figures today shows a sea of positive green while red numbers dominate the Women's Weeklies list.

Comparing just these two sectors it's easy to see why this is the case. Consider that three quarters of both Economist and The Week readers are subscribers yet few women's weeklies have even 1%.

Contrast how similar the light read snippet style of women's weeklies is to a plethora of internet content, with how hard it is to find quality long-form journalism online outside of traditional print brands' sites themselves.

Then compare the sheer number of similar women's weeklies with the lean list of unique news and current affairs publications.

The overall picture shown in the latest data should not surprise us. Cluttered sectors struggling for differentiation remain in a state of flux while others who have carved a distinctive niche and found a core audience remain as strong as ever.

The digital editions' data reveals additional interesting trends. 215 digital editions are included in this release, an increase of over 30% period on period but of the pre-existing titles, 48 digital editions have increased in circulation compared to 45 that showed a decline.

Titles showing the largest digital edition decline include Hello, Reveal, Harpers Bazaar and Cosmopolitan, while the top 10 highest circulating digital editions include T3, Top Gear, Stuff and GQ. Surely this gender split is no coincidence, but does it represent less choice in the men's marketplace or a divergence in media consumption? 

Whatever the answer, I am once again struck on ABC day that we are blessed by the level of data available, and we should celebrate the very real strengths of the magazine medium.

The self-selecting audiences of magazines offer advertisers an exceptionally well targeted proposition, verified in a granular way that is the envy of many other media and without any brand safety or viewability concerns.

The way to future success for magazine brands will vary between different sectors but if there is a common theme it is surely their vast overall engagement with consumers, which goes far beyond just the print and digital editions.

The ABC can already measure not just print and digital editions, but also events and exhibitions, emails, newsletters, websites, apps and social media though at present magazine brands do not opt into all of these areas.

Once there is an ABC day reporting the full gamut as an overall measure of brand strength then the magazine sector really will be putting its best foot forward.

Mark Jones is publishing account director at Carat

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