The MPA has chosen its new board, with Tangible Media’s John Baker replacing Fairfax’s Lynley Belton as chair and ACP’s Paul Dykzeul replacing acting deputy chair Cathy Parker from Adrenalin. And the new heads have some big plans to breathe life into the sector—and, more specifically, promote the unique benefits of the medium to advertisers and eventually increase its share of the revenue pie.
Given the rise of digital and the state of the magazine market overseas, including Australia, which isn’t looking too pretty at the moment, that might seem like a tough ask. Add to that the fact that a generation of creatives—and their clients—are increasingly besotted with digital, as evidenced by the lack of quality entries in the print categories at awards ceremonies around the world, and it seems even tougher. But Baker says one of the MPA’s major focuses will be on dispelling some of the myths that continue to plague the sector.
There’s no doubt the advertising revenue for many titles isn’t what it used to be (in America, Baker says, many titles relied heavily on advertising and had very low subscription prices, so are now changing their pricing models to reflect the value of the content), and many magazines, particularly the mass market weeklies, have suffered in New Zealand at the hands of the recession and the digital onslaught. But in many cases, Baker says paid circulation is defying the doomsayers—and the digital evangelists—and continuing to increase, here and around the world, which shows New Zealand market isn’t the anomaly many think it is.
Woman’s Day, for example, sells over 100,000 copies a week and is in the top 20 items purchased in New Zealand supermarkets, and this is with only a tiny sliver of the marketing budgets directed at other FMCG items on that list. So it’s certainly still a powerful—and in some cases lucrative—medium. But the MPA has struggled to push the medium’s barrow, particularly when compared to the marketing efforts of the interactive brigade.
While newspapers and magazines are often lumped together, Baker says they have very different roles in the media mix and there will also be a concerted effort to bring magazines out from under the umbrella of print (interestingly, the ASA’s figures for magazine revenue don’t include newspaper inserted magazines. They are included in the newspaper revenue figures, so what constitutes a magazine is also something the MPA will continue to debate).
Of course, magazines are increasingly venturing into the digital and broadcast space, as evidenced by North & South’s recent foray into TV, and the mastheads are still important beacons for consumers. So using magazines as a central point to then branch out into other forms of content—and, importantly, monetise it—will also be high up the agenda.
Parker, Belton, Mediaweb’s Toni Myers, Marketplace Media’s Simon Little, NZ Magazines’ Sarah Sandley and the NBR’s Nevil Gibson are the other board members.