The Hot List winners: magazine

Andre Rowell

Hottest magazine: M2 Magazine

Nominees: Dish, Homestyle, Metro
People’s Choice: Metro

At a time when magazines are losing grip, men continue to pick up M2 magazine. This year, the title is celebrating both its 14th birthday and its growing readership across 2018. Online, its paywall is also keeping it in-line with the changing media times. We spoke with editorial director and editor Andre Rowell.

What kind of content are male readers in New Zealand after in 2019?

As reflected in our content mix which includes articles about technology, business success, style, travel, health, fitness and cars, New Zealand men want to stay informed about a wide range of things. Overall though, it seems that no matter the area of interest people are becoming more and more considerate of purpose and how they impact the world.

It seems M2 was ahead of the game in New Zealand in terms of paywalls. When was the paywall introduced and why did M2 take such a bold step at that time?

Most of us at M2 have a personal passion for digital and we have experimented a lot along the way. We were very early onto iPad and Android apps and then responsive web and multi-branded sites.

We also had teams of writers working on viral content, sometimes content that got millions of shares and views but ultimately it didn’t benefit our core audience and our advertisers in the same way that
a closer relationship with an audience base does.

A paywall gives us more in-depth knowledge of the content our invested readers enjoy, and it gives us a better environment in which to deliver that to them with while working with great writers.

We currently have just over 5,000 paywall members and are excited to see continued growth in this space.

After 14 years in the business, what changes has M2 seen?

Obviously you can’t have spent the last 14 years in the media industry without uttering the word “disruption” a few times along the way but for all of the changes in technology and content consumption, it seems people still want good, thought-provoking and curated experiences that real people have taken the time to put together, as opposed to an algorithm.

We do have a big focus on the digital side of things but also, we have seen real strength in the print offering with high-end brands wanting the brand safety and tactile experience that a glossy magazine still offers.

M2’s readership is growing – according to Nielsen figures the magazine had an average issue readership of 90,000 (10+) in 2018, up from 63,000 in 2017. What do you put this success down to?

Of course, coming from the editorial side of things I am going to say the content is a driver of readership, but I do think that good content, great design and a curated flow of stories is still a good experience. And maybe even more so in a world of noise and free content.

How does M2 juggle its multiple offerings?

We do have multiple offerings when you consider events, digital and print as different entities but they are all part of a singular focus of sharing important and interesting ideas with an audience.

What is the set-up of the M2 team?

M2 has three directors, founder and publisher, Tim Lawrence, advertising director, Greg Sinclair and myself, editorial director and editor of M2. Heloise Garrity is the editor of M2woman and Amy Thurlow is our editorial manager and runs the day to day work ow alongside our digital team and print team.

What initiatives is M2 planning to attract new readers and sponsors in 2019?

It’s all about the content. Everything comes from there. We will continue to double down on the content and the understanding of what engages our audience while also pushing new concepts and ideas.

We’ll be posting the rest of the Hot List over the next few weeks. To get a print copy of the Hot List, subscribe here to NZ Marketing.

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