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Magazine readership and sales up

Magazine readership is up strongly in Nielsen results out today – and a separate retail report shows Kiwis are buying more local magazines.

Overall, 85 percent of titles in the latest Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights survey (Q2 2020 – Q1 2021) recorded increases against the previous quarter results, and half were up year on year. The total readership of measured titles was up 1 percent year-on-year*. 

Especially pleasing for magazine publishers is another increase in the valuable primary readership – those who subscribed or purchased their own magazines, and who are traditionally considered most important to advertisers.  Primary readers are up 16 percent in the past year.

Reinforcing these positive results for magazines are the latest sales figures from Ovato Retail Distribution. They show a 5 percent increase in unit sales of NZ magazines at retail for the 13 weeks ending 31 March 2021, compared with the same period a year ago. 

Magazine Publishers Association chair Nicholas Burrowes says the results show how much readers value their favourite magazine titles. “Kiwis are prepared to pay for the deep, well-researched, targeted content that local magazines deliver, because they can’t get that anywhere else. The latest increase in primary readership reflects the deep engagement and affection people have with and for our great magazine brands.”

Travel and outdoor titles including AA Directions, Hunting and Fishing NZ, Motorhomes Caravans and Destinations and NZ Geographic were among the strong performers in the Nielsen release. Food title dish and home title Habitat also did well.

Dish Editor, and Editorial Director of Lifestyle titles at ICG, Sarah Tuck comments: “It was incredibly gratifying to see a 10 percent increase in dish readership – we had been expecting a lift based on our retail numbers, but there is always a delay in seeing that reflected.

“Likewise Good was up 14 percent and I think if you look at the other big increases with AA Directions, Hunting and Fishing NZ, Habitat etc. it shows not only the ongoing appetite for magazines in New Zealand, but also where Kiwis have been putting their attention since the onset of Covid. Home cooking, travelling domestically and doing up their living environments are all on trend now, so these results make perfect sense.”

Tuck is confident that this trend will continue into the next quarter as retail sales continue to go from strength-to-strength.

AA Directions Editor Kath Webster, who recently celebrated 20 years with the magazine, says the magazine’s celebration of New Zealand and New Zealanders clearly resonates with readers. 

“This is our constant focus, with each issue looking at a different facet of Kiwi life. Over the past year that’s seen us celebrate rural New Zealand, small New Zealand-owned businesses and most recently, Kiwis who have come back to Aotearoa since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe. 

“We’ve also developed new content categories which reflect new areas of focus for the AA, such as AA Home. It’s been great fun delving into home and lifestyle topics. The AA has also extended its reach further into the world of finance and we’ve introduced stories about that, alongside topics addressing economic wellbeing.”

The Nielsen release included a special six-month topline release for some titles like NZ Listener, Home  and NZ Woman’s Weekly, who were out of the market for a period due to the Bauer closure last year, and unable to record a full year result.

 *A few titles that did not measure in both periods were excluded from these comparisons.

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