There’s an ongoing conversation in the industry that magazine readership figures are down. Every quarter, Nielsen releases readership figures and the drops, alongside the odd increase for some lucky titles, provide further motivation for the doomsday prophets. However, print readership is only a fraction of the wider picture of a magazine’s audience and the MPA has the numbers to demonstrate this. Its Magazine 360 tool has, since June, been recording and releasing audience numbers for publications across all platforms for both the industry to see and media agencies to use.
Addressing the importance of the Magazine 360's establishment, earlier this year, OMD strategy director Cat Macnaughtan told StopPress the tool ensures publications that might not have typically been considered now are.
“Above and beyond that the real power of this tool is giving planners a tool to measure the power of the influence magazines have across all the platforms that they engage with their audiences on now.”
Summing up the importance of the Magazine 360 tool, FCB Media's head of strategy, Anne Lipsham, added: “People have relationships with brands, not channels.”
And beyond their belief that the scope should be widened to look beyond just readership and circulation, the Magazine 360 tool's numbers speak for themselves.
According to the September recordings, New Zealand Geographic’s Facebook reach is bigger than its readership. It has a readership is 330,000 while its Facebook reach in New Zealand is 336,827.
(More information on the Magazine 360 numbers and methodology can be found on the site).
That reach earns New Zealand Geographic top spot for Facebook when looking at the performance of the other local publications included in the Magazine 360. However, Kowhai Meida-owned title is an anomaly as the rest of the top 10 is dominated the consumer and consumer special interest magazines, including Nadia, Woman's Day and OhBaby. The food segment also has a representative, with Taste sneaking into 10th position.
The picture looks different when moving to Twitter as the social media site is dominated by current affairs and business titles. Metro leads with 66,918 followers, followed by Idealog’s 49,700 followers.
The web numbers indicate that Bauer's hub strategy seems to be paying off, with the media company's mastheads Now to Love and Noted taking the top two spots.
Now To Love is home to content from New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Good Health Choices, The Australian Women’s Weekly NZ, Simply You Style and Next, while Noted regularly features content from The Listener, Metro, Paperboy and North & South.
When Now to Love launched in April, Bauer’s digital director Michael Fuyala outlined a goal to deliver more than 500,000 unique sessions in month one. With an audience of over 300,000, the title is well on track to reaching this goal.
Bauer’s other content hubs, Food to Love (106,479 unique users) and Homes to Love (76,735) also make an appearance in the top ten, in fourth and sixth position respectively.
Autotrader, Healthy Food Guide, Fashion Quarterly/MissFQ, NZ Fishing News and Ohbaby also make an appearance in the top 10 websites, which is significant because they don't appear among the top ten titles in terms of print readership.
Fashion Quarterly's strong digital presence also extends to Instagram, where the publication's 34,603 followers see it make an appearance among the top ten. The top spot is, however, taken by Homestyle, which commands a following of 45,000.
Instagram is again a platform dominated by consumer and consumer special interest publications, with Metro’s 17,174 followers the exception. Meanwhile, the YouTube reach (in New Zealand) tells a different story, with the platform's best performers belonging to trade and industry publications. Deals on Wheel's leads with 9,936 reached, while NZ Trucking Magazine follows with 2624. The automotive crews clearly know a thing or two about making online videos.
And it's not only online platforms that are important for a magazine's brand engagement. Magazine 360 also reports one off-brand extensions and events. The later figures again have New Zealand Geographic ahead of the pack, with 40,276 reached through events during September. It's followed by NZ House and Garden's 6,624 and Healthy Food Guide's 5,735.
While print aspects of magazines will inevitably decline over time, what these numbers reiterate is that the skills used to entertain, inform and engage audiences remain as relevant as ever. The only difference now lies in where these skills are used.
Please note: the Magazine 360 data only includes data from MPA members.