The Future Of Magazines: It’s Not Being A Magazine

The Future Of Magazines: It’s Not Being A Magazine
SHARE
THIS



Read anything about the state of the Aussie magazine market of late and the news is invariably bleak. Sure, some old favourites have been put to pasture but digital-savvy publishers building a ‘brand’ are setting the category up for lean, mean future. Here’s what industry experts say is going to happen to the future of magazines.

The bi-annual ABC magazine audit numbers have fast become a bit of an industry horror show for those who brave the self-flagellation of actually reading them. Plummeting circulations, fleeing advertisers and closures of, what had become household brand names (Cleo, Famous and Zoo in the past six months alone), mirror a similar grim pattern in the category globally.

The most recent ABCs – out in early May – showed a year on year drop of audited weekly magazines just shy of 13 per cent.

So, are we witnessing the final death throes of one of last century’s great medias before the great digital disruptor suffocates the last remaining life out of print? Or – as the publishers would have us believe – is it all part of some grand master plan into the 21st century and beyond?

And yes, if you just take the actual print sales into account then those death-riding magazines have a valid point. But a 21st century magazine’s more than just paper and staples. It’s a brand with a website, a social media strategy, it has an e-commerce business, does events, spin-offs, one-offs; and should be the authoritative mouthpiece for its category. It’s abundantly clear that magazines’ future isn’t being a magazine. It’s boring, it’s cliché, it’s all a little twee – but it’s now all about the brand.

“Every media has to adapt and publishers know that we no longer talk about magazines as just print; magazines are brands,” says Mary Ann Azer, executive director of the industry body MPA.

“You can’t define magazines via the distribution of paper anymore. To define a magazine as just print these days is plain wrong. Magazines are brands and it’s the successful publishers who are growing those brands across multiple platforms.”

Azer cites a “brand” like National Geographic that has its foundations in print but has grown to be so much more. Or the global success of Tyler Brûlé’s Monocle that has, on top of a print edition, a radio station, TV spin-off, even cafés in London and Tokyo. Monocle may sell less than 100,000 copies worldwide a month but the brand was recently valued at a whopping $A140 million by Japanese investors.

“Magazines now have their own TV programs, they have e-commerce, they do consumer shows, digital products; they sell T-shirts, calendars all under the magazine brand. Some of those brands are enjoying 25 per cent growth YOY in their magazine sales alone,” Azer says.

ADVERTISERS WANT ‘MULTIHOMERS’

A study by the University of Toronto in 2014 found that magazine publishers who prioritise their digital offerings are twice as likely to be profitable. The study found that “the more homogeneous the magazine’s audience, the more attractive it is to advertisers looking to target a specific type of consumer.”

Furthermore, readers of magazine brands that consumed content via more than one medium – or “multihomers” as the study labeled them – were the most appealing type of consumer for advertisers. Put simply, the more the reader sees an ad the more likely they are to purchase, which meant magazines with multiple channels were highly desirable vehicles for advertisers, the study deduced.

DON’T BELIEVE YOUR OWN BAD PRESS

Even Tyler Brûlé believes that the magazine business might be reading too much of the bad stuff written about it. On a recent visit to Australia, the famed Canadian publisher and entrepreneur told B&T: “I think one of the big problems facing the industry right now is that so many magazines reduce the quality of the paper, they have cut back on journalism – they are simply delivering an inferior brand to the one they might have built up over the decades.

“I think it comes down to putting out a physical product, that people are not just comfortable holding but they want to be proud reading it, they may not want to collect it but they want to revisit it again and again.

“That is where a lovely magazine comes in – you don’t need to plug it in, it doesn’t need solar panels, it is not going to beep, rattle or vibrate,” Brûlé said.

Adds Azer: “Yes, I think it has taken Australian publishers a long time to turn those perceptions (that they’re merely just print businesses) around and they are only now starting to adjust to that. I’d agree that when compared to say the US or the UK local publishers have been slow to change that mindset that they’re more than just magazine publishers.”

And Nick Smith, lifestyle publisher of NewsLifeMedia, agrees that there’s these kind of macabre perception from those outside the magazine game that publishers are sitting on their hands as their well-trodden business model slides gently into the great digital abyss.

Not true, Smith says, arguing that the process of turning NewsLifeMedia magazines into NewsLifeMedia brands has been quietly underway for the past few years now.

“We identified fairly quickly that the move to digital was essential and most of our brands are across platforms,” Smith says, “they’re channel agnostic and they create content through a number of channels be that social, digital, print, events and even brand extensions and even merchandise.”

For Smith and Newslife the future of the business won’t be the printed product – although there’s no suggestion a good old fashioned magazine will be gone for good – but it’s all about “top quality content”. He says: “The content will need to be exclusive and that means you have the most engaged audiences and that’s the most appealing thing for advertisers. It’s about using our international brands (such as GQ and Vogue) but making sure the content is very localised and that pays off in outstanding ways be it newsstand sales or socially or hits to the website.”

And for those of you thinking of getting shares in a printing press, yes, Smith says, the actual printed product has a future.

“Take homes, that category just works so well in print. Sure, it translates to Instagram and Pinterest but people who are renovating love to have a printed magazine in their hands. We really push this idea of ‘event publishing’, that every issue needs to be picked up by the reader. But as publisher you don’t just think of a product in isolation. When we do a shoot with a coverstar it’s about the mobile-first delivery of that content. It’s an Instagram post that encourages people to got to the website or pick up the printed product.

“For us we see longevity in print and it won’t go away,” Smith says before adding that print products who have a news focus – be it current affairs or celebrity or whatever – are likely to continue to see their audiences drift away from a paper product held together by glue and staples.

 MAGAZINES ARE ALL A BIT DAGGY

In a recent interview with B&T, industry legend, former GroupM boss and now head of media buying at the newly merged WPP AUNZ John Steedman said that a lot of media – considered ‘old school’ – was overlooked for the likes of digital and data and programmatic by planners and buyers when it still – as is the case with magazines – had a compelling case to offer advertisers.

If this article has you hooked, you can read the rest by subscribing to the latest issue of B&T.

Lead image via Farming Weekly.

Latest News

Time Savages Trump In Latest Withering “Welcome To America” Cover
  • Media

Time Savages Trump In Latest Withering “Welcome To America” Cover

Time magazine has delivered another withering takedown of president Trump with its latest cover by placing a crying immigrant girl at the feet of the President with the caption “Welcome to America”. The image of the crying two-year-old girl is from the now-iconic photograph by Getty photographer John Moore and has become a symbol of […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How Marketers Can Achieve Omnichannel CX success
  • Opinion

How Marketers Can Achieve Omnichannel CX success

In this guest post, Zandesk’s customer experience strategist, Malcolm Koh (pictured below) says brands need to develop an intelligent omnichannel for their customers and he offers his easy tips on hwo to do it… Marketing has always been the custodian of a company’s brand and just as new technology has transformed entire organisations and business models, […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cannes 2018: MediaCom Named Media Network Of The Year
  • Media

Cannes 2018: MediaCom Named Media Network Of The Year

MediaCom has been named Media Network of the year at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival. The agency’s work for Tesco in the UK landed the Grand Prix for Excellence in Media Planning, while campaigns for P&G’s Gillette in Israel added two Silver Lions and a Bronze Lion. The agency also received eight shortlist nominations, making […]

Nike Disses Mollycoddled Chinese Kids In New Upbeat Spot
  • Campaigns

Nike Disses Mollycoddled Chinese Kids In New Upbeat Spot

Years of China’s ‘one child policy’ has apparently left a generation of mollycoddled kids too scared to get sweaty or dirty. But now a new campaign by Nike China has set out to debunk the idea that Chinese kids are spoiled little fatties wrapped in cotton-wool. The campaign’s the work of R/GA Shanghai and is an upbeat, positive number with a booming […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MS Queensland Unveils ‘MS Stops You In Your Tracks’ Campaign
  • Campaigns

MS Queensland Unveils ‘MS Stops You In Your Tracks’ Campaign

An MS diagnosis – at an average age of just 30 – means a lifelong battle with a disease that attacks the central nervous system in any number of ways. While most people have heard of multiple sclerosis, few understand what it is or how it impacts people’s lives. In partnership with MS Queensland, creative […]

Revealed: The Real Voice Behind Siri
  • Technology

Revealed: The Real Voice Behind Siri

For the third consecutive year, TEDxSydney selected creative agency BMF to produce a film for its 2018 film program under the theme ‘Humankind’. The film, which premiered on Friday in front of 5000 people at TEDx Sydney, unmasks the real genius behind Apple’s personal assistant Siri. “Siri is an amazing invention. You can ask her […]

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.