More readers, fewer ads for magazines

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 13:09 10/08/2012

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Magazine readership has grown slightly over the past year but many advertisers continue to shun the printed page in favour of digital media.

Nielsen's Consumer and Media Insights [CMI] survey reported a 77,000 increase in readers and 2 per cent increase in overall circulation for the year, but annual advertising spending figures show magazines earning less revenue with decreasing market share.

While the spending figures haven't been updated recently, the Magazine Publishers Association [MPA] says magazines are still struggling to capture advertisers' and agencies' attention, despite solid readership and improved audience measurement.

Fairfax Media's magazine stable reported growth including a 9.8 per cent increase for food title Cuisine to 438,000 readers, while newer title NZ Life & Leisure had a 17.6 per cent increase to 140,000.

The company, which also publishes Stuff.co.nz, said its magazine stable now reached two million New Zealanders.

ACP Media said its Australian Women's Weekly title's readership of 777,000 was up 17 per cent year-on-year, or 113,000 readers.

Woman's Day had also grown its readership by 66,000 people to 847,000, said ACP.

MPA commercial director Katrina Horton said magazine publishers would be happy with the surge in readership figures but also wanted to emphasise how much consumers engaged with magazines as opposed to other media.

Nielsen's CMI survey showed the average time spent reading a magazine was 41 minutes, increasing to 67 minutes for the primary purchaser of the magazine.

The research showed more than half of readers aged between 25-54 would buy something after seeing it in a magazine, said Horton.

"People are spending money on these things; they go to the supermarket and buy them, it's not like they're coming free through the mail box or through the television set," she said.

"So if you elect to purchase a magazine then common sense says you're going to read it and that you've got a relationship with it."

As for the lack of advertiser support, Horton said all media were finding it tough in the advertising market. Advertisers were not as willing to pay for long term campaigns as they used to be.

"In the past clients were committing to annual spend and being in the market for much longer periods of time," said Horton, who has been with the MPA just two weeks after finishing a three year stint at media agency Carat in April.

"I've just come out of agency-side and I would say that in the last three years I didn't have one long term agreement with any of my clients; everything was happening in the short market."

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Horton said large advertisers sometimes had a bias towards other media, such as set quotas for the amount of online or television advertising that must be bought, and that some media buyers just did not have the close personal connection with magazines that others did.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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