The launch of the iPad and the expected 'tablet revolution' has put some wind in the sails of publishers who have been beaten down by the internet. But as everyone goes gaga over the new technology, it's easy to forget that good old-fashioned paper-based magazines are still putting up a very good fight, with the most obvious trend from Nielsen's latest readership figures and Audit Bureau of Circulation numbers being that Kiwi consumers are still willing to pay for good-quality specialist magazines.
At Tangible, net paid sales for the year at Dish were up six percent to 21,450, NZ Rugby World increased 13 percent to 8046, NZ Fishing World was up 28 percent to 9540 and, in the last six months, Good was up 32 percent to 6914.
"The holy grail of media is paid content and it is gratifying to see substantial increases in paid circulation for all Tangible’s key consumer titles," says publisher John Baker. “Increases in paid circulation and readership don’t happen by accident and are a result of our absolute commitment to deep and meaningful relationships with our readers via multiple platforms."
Similarly in readership, the just released Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights for Jan 2010—December 2010 shows that Dish increased its 10+ readership by 33 percent to 138,000 and NZ Rugby World increased by 28 percent to 177,000. NZ Fishing World, following up its strong appearance on the survey last year, added 160,000 readers and New Zealand Weddings, which was acquired by Tangible Media in 2010, also consolidated at 91,000 readers. The weekly Groove Guide, for the third consecutive survey, was the fastest growing weekly title with a 50 percent increase in readership, year-on-year.
APN's NZ Magazines also seems fairly chuffed with the results, particularly given that New Zealand Woman’s Weekly achieved a readership gain of 39,000 (five percent), which lifted total readership to 834,000 to make it "New Zealand’s leading newsstand magazine". Its circulation remained stable at 80,439, a performance second only to its latest stable mate, New Idea, which maintained readership at 462,000, an increase of 0.8 percent year on year to 50,563.
Despite a six percent decrease in circulation, That’s Life clocked a significant readership gain of 32,000 or 12 percent and the Listener recorded a readership of 269,000, slightly down on 2009. In terms of circ, however, The Listener jumped 1,398 copies to 63,930, Creme lifted sales by 3.4 percent to 20,997, Girlfriend maintained circulation at 19,708 and Simply You increased by 1.3 percent to 35,118.
“With a wide range of product developments in the pipeline, a great kick start in significant news events and the prospect of a Rugby World Cup and national election, we have high expectations for the 12 months ahead," says Martin Simons, chief executive of APN’s New Zealand media business.
At ACP, there only seem to be a few positives in terms of circulation, especially for a company that prides itself on sales of magazines, with Next down 13 percent, Metro down seven percent, Woman's Day down six percent and Home NZ, Recipes+ and Little Treasures all down over 10 percent. The major circulation bright spots were a nine percent lift for Fashion Quarterly, a five percent increase for Taste and Top Gear and a three percent rise for Cleo.
In the six months to December 2010, ACP Magazines achieved a total net circulation of 478,403 which is on a par with the previous audit period.
“In the current market, we’re seeing an increase in readers sharing their favourite magazines with family and friends and thus pass-on rates are growing," says Paul Dykzeul, chief executive of ACP Media. "In many ways it’s adding to the engagement factor of magazines in that reading becomes a more shared, endorsed and socially networked experience.”
Readership was a completely different story, however, with ACP Magazines claiming its suite of titles gained 152,000 completely new readers in 2010 with the majority reading multiple titles, a 7.8 percent increase in net unduplicated readership across the portfolio. In fact, adding up individual readership increases by all ACP magazines shows a gain of 542,000.
Each of ACP's New Zealand published titles showed readership increases compared to the previous year, something ACP says is testament to the ‘reader first’ editorial philosophy.
"I’m absolutely delighted to get results like these in a challenging environment. To see every title grow readership, with some by as much as 30 percent, reinforces how integral magazine reading is in this country and it demonstrates that growth can still be achieved with innovation and the backing of a talented and passionate team,” says Dykzeul.
Woman’s Day, the highest selling women's weekly magazine, now reaches 814,000 people, up 54,000, the biggest increase in the weekly market. All three of ACP’s weekly titles are showing strong readership growth with Lucky Break up 26.7 percent and NW +12.0 percent year on year.
Next, celebrating its 20th anniversary soon, was up up three percent; North and South was up 17 percent, Metro was up 25 percent and KiaOra was up 24 percent.
It's pretty much all smiles at Fairfax Magazines too, with all of its consumer titles recording year-on-year readership growth.
The best performer was NZ Life & Leisure, up 29 percent in readership and eight percent in circulation year-on-year, with Fairfax claiming it "continues to lead growth in the lifestyle market as the fastest growing magazine in the category and one of the fastest growing overall".
The boaties and fishermen have obviously developed a taste for print recently, with readership for Boating NZ up 16 percent year-on-year and NZ Fishing News up 23 percent. Readership for NZ Lifestyle Block was up 18 percent and NZ Gardener was up 12.1 percent. Circulation for The Cut was up nine percent and three percent for Unlimited.
While food titles across the board delivered strong readership results, with Healthy Food Guide again claiming a big increase in readership, Cuisine remains the market leader and reaches over 400,000 readers. NZ House & Garden leads the home and garden category with 561,000 readers and an increase in paid circ of two percent.
“The strong growth in readership and circulation demonstrates our magazines are consistently delivering content that resonates with New Zealanders," says Fairfax Magazines general manager Lynley Belton. "These results are heartening for us, our loyal readers and our advertisers who can be confident their messages continue to reach the right audiences in big numbers.”