The competition has also acted as a fantastic commercial platform, Frankham says, with a range of sponsors on-board including Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Resene, Tamron and Manfrotto.
“This was an entirely new way for them to meet their market. As well as branding at the events they can also do their own marketing around the Photographer of the Year brand,” he says. “And they can host the voting page for the people’s choice award and they can also turn up to the event themselves and have their own kiosk and their own activities on site. Those sort of site activations are typically really, really expensive and under the banner of Photographer of the Year we are able to do that and do it cost effectively.”
He says the exhibition has also helped New Zealand Geographic’s direct marketing.
“Whenever somebody votes in favour of an image, we also gather their name and email address so we can be in contact with them later."
The magazine also gets a lot of interaction towards the end of the year and the beginning of the next.
“We have really good sales for our November/December issue, which has the announcement of the winners, and in particular the January/February issue sales almost double [196 percent lift in sales] of anything else because it includes a calendar of images of the winners in the competition.”
For the three months of the year surrounding the competition, web traffic on New Zealand Geographic’s website doubles, he says.
Frankham says in a macro sense, over the period the competition has been running, circulation has remained pretty stable.
“I think having this big brand community is one of the reasons for that stability,” he says. “And stability is kind of the new growth in the magazine market in some respects.”
He says sales of the magazine have also remained right up there and readership has grown.
“Our retail sales have grown something like 15 or 20 percent year-on-year and so the magazine is bucking the trend and it’s hard to put that down to any one factor but the assumption is that it’s largely to do with our engagement with the audience through mechanisms like the Photographer of the Year competition.”