A new weekly magazine is set to hit Auckland, and it’s somewhat ambitiously targeting a demographic that doesn’t usually read print.
Today, addressing an audience of ad and media folk, Bauer will announce a new free publication called Paperboy, which will from 3 November be distributed in Auckland every Thursday morning.
A print run of 100,000 copies will be sent out to selected letterboxes, hosted at cafes and public transport hubs, and placed in pick-up stands around the city.
Bauer commercial director Paul Gardiner says the magazine’s sweet spot lies with readers who are around 35 years old.
“These are not massive magazine readers,” he says. “To put it into perspective, your average NIM [newspaper inserted magazine] reader is over 50 years old, so we’re really going after a different group.”
Gardiner says Bauer isn’t simply launching the magazine on a whim and that extensive research has gone into bringing it to fruition.
“It’s two years in the making,” he says.
Paperboy is being pitched at what Gardiner describes as the "urban adventurer", a young Aucklander, who’s always on the lookout for new experiences around the city.
“The content in the magazine has been developed on the four pillars of urbanism, food, culture and style,” says Gardiner.
Gardiner says that the rapid change of the Auckland landscape—through the introduction of new restaurants, cafés and commercial hubs—means that there are more options available to Aucklanders than ever before.
“Paperboy is all about gearing the audience up for the weekend,” he says.
This was a major contributing factor in the decision to distribute the magazine on Thursdays, with Gardiner saying that readers were often left frustrated with most complimentary lifestyle magazines only arriving on Sunday, by which time all the weekend events are already over.
To ensure the magazine is as topical as possible, Bauer has also changed its traditional deadline process, which requires the editorial team to deliver all content a week or two in advance to give the printing team sufficient time to produce the magazine.
Instead, Paperboy’s print day will fall on Tuesday, two days before the distribution day.
Gardiner says that the immediacy of online publishing means that readers simply don’t tolerate anything that’s dated.
“We’ve had to adapt,” he says.
The responsibility of delivering on these tight deadlines will fall to Jeremy Hansen, who has moved from Home to take over the editorial duties of Paperboy (Simon Farrell-Green has taken over as the editor of Home).
In commenting on the somewhat incongruent emergence of a print publication in the digital age, Hansen touches on the value of a curated experience.
“In this era of infinite online information, we think there’s more value than ever in a carefully curated media brand that makes it easy for an enormous range of Aucklanders to feel fully engaged with their city,” says Hansen.
Looking at the sample edition Bauer has handed out, it certainly does feel like a curated collection of articles and information that someone in their 30s—perhaps even younger—might engage with in the online space.
And while Paperboy is a print publication, the content will also be made available online through a specially designed website, a weekly EDM and Bauer’s content hubs (a new current affairs hub, featuring content from Metro, North & South and The Listener, is also tipped for launch in the coming weeks).
Alongside a rundown of some of the best food and cultural events in the city, the magazine also dedicates four pages to feature content from the New York Times.
Additionally, Paperboy also gives a (slight) nod to the growing Chinese population, with a page pulled from Chinese arm of the popular American newspaper.
Gardiner estimates that 22 of the 48 pages of the magazine will feature original content every week. And in producing this, Hansen will be supported by associate editor Joahnna Thornton (former Homes to Love editor), food editor Alice Harbourne (she will remain food editor at Metro)*, events editor India Hendrikse (former editorial assistant at KiaOra), staff writer Kate Richard, senior designer Jodie Fay and a yet-to-be-confirmed art director.
The bigger question, however, is whether Auckland—and, more specifically, Bauer—needs another weekly publication, particularly because readership among weeklies has declined significantly over the last few years.
It’s also worth noting that only several years ago free weekly lifestyle title Volume folded after only seven months because of a lack of advertising interest.
The advertising pool in New Zealand is relatively small, which means that magazine sales teams often have to go back to the same brands every issue. For Bauer, this problem is further accentuated because its portfolio already includes another weekly in The Listener.
Gardiner admits there’s always a risk of cannibalising the revenue of an existing product when launching a new one, but he doesn’t think that will happen in this instance.
“We’ve done a lot of research around duplication and we don’t think Paperboy is going to eat into existing products,” he says. “This is new revenue.”
His reasoning is that the audiences are completely different and that Paperboy is a product targeted at a demographic very attractive to advertisers.
Gardiner explains that Bauer worked closely with Roy Morgan to develop an audience profile through the researcher’s Helix Personas product. Different data sets were overlayed, allowing for the identification of well-educated Aucklanders aged around 35 and earning a higher discretionary income. So in this sense it provides something more targeted than other publications available to marketers.
Gardiner also makes the point that magazine publishers need to focus on more than just cutting costs in a difficult market.
“We have to be brave enough to search for new audiences,” he says.
And if starting a new publication is be understood as a sign of bravery, then Bauer is certainly going through a bold patch, with this publication coming only a little while after the launch of Nadiamagazine. Now it's just a question of whether advertisers will bite.
*Correction: This story previously referred to Alice Harbourne as the former food editor at Metro. She will, in fact, be working as food editor across both Paperboy and Metro.