We Won’t Collectively Punish Magazines: Danny Bass

We Won’t Collectively Punish Magazines: Danny Bass

IPG Mediabrands CEO Danny Bass has said he “sympathises with the magazine industry” and Australia’s big three publishers’ collective decision to exit from the industry’s long-held measurement system has had no impact on the industry’s flagging fortunes.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

While Pacific, Bauer and NewsLifeMedia’s decision late last year to exit the Audited Media Association of Australia was widely panned, Bass told B&T there was no agenda as far as he was aware to punish the magazine industry.

If the publishers had decided to stay in the audit, would that have changed the amount of revenue flowing out of print? Not one bit,” he said.

Bass said 2017 was shaping up to be the “tight” year he had predicted and it meant marketing budgets were likely to be slashed and whenever budgets got tight, investment tended to focus on advertising with clear ROI.

What he suggested was probably a bigger problem was the lack of CMOs on boards within enough of Australia’s advertisers.

“If at the board level, if the CMO isn’t at the table, we want to make sure marketing is getting a fair voice. When the CEO and CFO look at the balance sheet, marketing is often the line standing out as the one able to be cut.

“If marketing budgets are being cut, it usually means what’s left is being put into a clear ROI bucket; performance-based media rather than brand.”

Against this backdrop, the magazine industry has had a particularly hard time in proving it can “shift the dial” for advertisers, Bass said.

He says in the confusing landscape brands face when evaluating all media channels, “magazines have struggled to convey the power of the medium in delivering engagement with a brand”.

Bass said he thought “reading a magazine was an extremely unique experience”, but the industry had failed to paint a clear picture about “how they make the registers ring”.

Bass concluded the faith placed my publishers in magazine apps was misguided and “apps just haven’t worked and they’re not going to work”.