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.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Projucer Unveils Content Production Slate For 2018
  • Media

Projucer Unveils Content Production Slate For 2018

Australia’s purveyor of original programming, Projucer, has announced an array of new multi-platform TV shows, digital content and exponential production studio growth. From Jack Stein (yes, Rick Stein’s son) taking British cuisine across 10 different countries on Inside the Box, to a Veterinarian operating out of the remote Western Australian desert for Desert Vet, Projucer […]

Blue 449’s Sonia Pitchuev Recognised In Google’s Performance Honours Comp
  • Advertising
  • Media

Blue 449’s Sonia Pitchuev Recognised In Google’s Performance Honours Comp

Blue 449 is celebrating Sonia Pitchuev’s recognition in the Megastar category of the Google Performance Honours. Google Performance Honours is a competition aimed at spotlighting our next media superstars and highlighting the online campaign work by agencies across Australia and New Zealand. Each individual competes on their own merits by submitting a case study of […]

Salesforce Launches Data Studio With Southern Cross Austereo & Mamamia
  • Marketing

Salesforce Launches Data Studio With Southern Cross Austereo & Mamamia

Salesforce has announced the launch of a data sharing platform with partners Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and Mamamia designed to connect data owners with buyers and create new marketing opportunities for audience discovery, sharing and activation. Part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Data Studio enables marketers to expand targeted reach with valuable audiences, provides […]

Pedestrian.tv Partners With Domain To Launch Home Content Vertical
  • Media

Pedestrian.tv Partners With Domain To Launch Home Content Vertical

Aussie youth-focused publication Pedestrian.tv has bolstered its lifestyle offering with the launch of its Home vertical, with Domain signing on as launch partner. Pedestrian Home will deliver content focused on homewares, hacks for sprucing up your space, a peep inside the amazing homes of well-known Aussies, as well as covering the real estate news and […]

Zenith Makes Two Senior Appointments
  • Advertising
  • Media

Zenith Makes Two Senior Appointments

Kylie Sneddon & Mark Johnson stamped Zenith 'movers & shakers' after promotion. Not like to their forehead or anything.

Photoplay Signs Director Frazer Bailey
  • Media

Photoplay Signs Director Frazer Bailey

Boutique production company Photoplay has announced the signing of award-winning comedy performance director Frazer Bailey for representation in Australia and New Zealand. Bailey won Gold for Direction at the BADC Awards for the hilarious Air Asia escapism campaign ‘Come Back Refreshed’ via Publicis and Silver for Millionaire’s Run ‘Prince of Nigeria’ through Brainheart. He has […]

Cornerstone OnDemand Appoints FORWARD Agency As PR Partner
  • Marketing

Cornerstone OnDemand Appoints FORWARD Agency As PR Partner

FORWARD Agency announced that they have been appointed by Cornerstone OnDemand as its PR agency of record for Australia and New Zealand. Cornerstone provides cloud-based human capital management software to help organisations realise the potential of the modern workforce. The appointment will see FORWARD working across all of Cornerstone OnDemand’s PR activities, including media relations, […]

Brisbane Agency P4 Group Celebrates Growth With A Rebrand
  • Marketing

Brisbane Agency P4 Group Celebrates Growth With A Rebrand

Brisbane-based PR and marketing agency P4 Group has today launched a new look and feel to align with its recent growth, with its team and client base almost doubling in the past year. Expanding its service offering to genuinely deliver on the integrated agency promise, P4 Group has grown its team of 15 to 26 […]

Retail Software Player Vend Moves Into AI As Part Of Platform Revamp
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Retail Software Player Vend Moves Into AI As Part Of Platform Revamp

Point-of-sale (POS) retail software company Vend has taken its first steps into AI to help retailers grow and compete as part of a major platform refresh. Dott aims to help retailers make better decisions about their stores and how to grow, bringing the much talked-about promise of AI to life for retail. Neither male nor […]

Enough With Your Shitty Videos Already
  • Opinion

Enough With Your Shitty Videos Already

Is a cat wearing a party hat filmed on your phone the extent of your video production? Read this for all our sakes.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Bauer’s Christian Fricke Resigns As MD Of Xcel Media
  • Media

Bauer’s Christian Fricke Resigns As MD Of Xcel Media

Further to today’s news that Bauer Media will close three of its magazine titles, the publisher has announced the resignation of Christian Fricke, managing director of Bauer Xcel Media. According to a statement sent to media, Fricke, who had been in the role a mere 18 months, will return to Germany for family reasons. Commenting on Fricke’s departure, Bauer Media […]

Former Aussie Cricket Captain and photography enthusiast Steve Waugh for SnapSydney.  Picture: John Appleyard
  • Campaigns
  • Media

News Corp Expands ‘Snap Australia’ Campaign To Regional Titles

News Corp’s award-winning Community Media’s ‘Snap Australia’ campaign continues to build momentum. ‘Snap Australia’ is a social media movement that celebrates what Aussies love about where they live. The feel-good factor of the initiative has extended into each capital city and into News Regional Media, with an additional 18 regional publications joining the initiative. Today […]

Virgin, Yellow Brick Road & GoSwitch Flock To Sports Content Platform PlayersVoice
  • Marketing
  • Media

Virgin, Yellow Brick Road & GoSwitch Flock To Sports Content Platform PlayersVoice

Six weeks after its launch, sports content platform PlayersVoice is winning the hearts and minds of consumers and brands. Established as a platform for rich and raw first-person sports storytelling, PlayersVoice has created an environment where elite sportspeople feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears, shining a light on ‘The Human Behind the […]

Red Agency Grows Partnership With The Whiddon Group
  • Marketing

Red Agency Grows Partnership With The Whiddon Group

NSW aged care specialists The Whiddon Group – a longstanding PR and social client of Red Agency – have widened their remit to include content, paid social and SEO in line with the evolution of the aged care sector. Whiddon, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year, delivers care services that enable quality of life […]

Image lead story Toby’s Estate Taps Influencers To Launch First Concept Coffee Range
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Toby’s Estate Taps Influencers To Launch First Concept Coffee Range

Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters has launched its first ever concept coffee range – the Underdog Series. The series shines a spotlight on the world’s relatively unknown, but emerging specialty coffee producing regions. The Australian business leads the local market in selling specialty coffee from regions including Uganda, Malawi, Mexico and Myanmar. For the first time, […]

Image lead story Our Revolution Shows Off Packaging For New Smallgoods Player The Smokeman Brothers
  • Marketing

Our Revolution Shows Off Packaging For New Smallgoods Player The Smokeman Brothers

Locally-sourced Australian brand The Smokeman Brothers, has hit shelves with packaging mastered by independent creative agency Our Revolution. The Smokeman Brothers is different to your average deli meat. It is a range of premium crafted meats, made in Australia, and authentically smoked using sustainable timber sourced from the Victorian Highlands and The Riverina regions. Our […]

Yarra Trams & Icon Agency Introduce ‘Tram Coach’ For New Passenger Safety Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Yarra Trams & Icon Agency Introduce ‘Tram Coach’ For New Passenger Safety Campaign

Yarra Trams has appointed Icon Agency to deliver a new passenger safety campaign, following a competitive three-way pitch. The campaign aims to reduce the incidence of slips, trips and falls on trams via Melbourne’s latest safety ambassador, ‘Tram Coach’. Commencing today, Tram Coach will be travelling the Yarra Trams network throughout the week. His mission […]

The Red Republic Appoints New General Manager
  • Marketing

The Red Republic Appoints New General Manager

The Red Republic has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Mai Aristoteli (pictured above) as general manager. Aristoteli joins The Red Republic from Talk PR in London, where she has worked for nine years as a board director. The appointment of Aristoteli follows The Red Republic managing director Lynn Mooney’s relocation to head-up […]

PR Deadlines Inks Deal With GlobalCom PR Network
  • Marketing

PR Deadlines Inks Deal With GlobalCom PR Network

Sydney-based agency PR Deadlines has extended its global reach after inking a partnership agreement with the GlobalCom PR Network. The agreement gives PR Deadlines’ clients access to some 70 independent agencies covering all European Union states, as well as 60 more in countries worldwide. In turn, clients of affiliated agencies will have access to PR […]

Fintech Start-up InstaReM Names Aussie Cricketer Matthew Wade As Brand Ambassador
  • Marketing

Fintech Start-up InstaReM Names Aussie Cricketer Matthew Wade As Brand Ambassador

InstaReM, which offers international money transfers to individuals and businesses, has signed on Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade as the sports face of the brand. InstaReM lists Australia as its founding market, having begun life here in 2014. Since the company’s modest start in Australia, InstaReM has since successfully spread its wings to other corridors by […]

Australia Is Diverse… Does Your Brand Have An Inclusive Digital Presence?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Australia Is Diverse… Does Your Brand Have An Inclusive Digital Presence?

As Australia continues to grow and the population becomes more ethnically diverse, it is important that marketers ensure digital environments are more inclusive, especially for those who don’t speak English as a first language, writes Siteimprove’s Haley Doel (pictured below). Having a readable and accessible website is no longer just a high priority for large […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Pepsi MAX Teams Up With PHD & Time Out For New Data-driven Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Pepsi MAX Teams Up With PHD & Time Out For New Data-driven Campaign

Pepsi MAX has partnered with PHD and Time Out to not only inspire Australians, but also enhance their ability to ‘MAX’ out their summer this year. Through the use of a live dynamic data feed, consumers will be served ads by the brand on events taking place around them that are relevant to their personal […]