Magazines maintain their mojo as latest numbers give publishers a boost

  • Media
  • August 10, 2012
  • Ben Fahy
Magazines maintain their mojo as latest numbers give publishers a boost
85mm.ch via Flickr

It's a rather interesting period in the history of magazines and, despite the prevailing belief that shiny new digital toys are killing off paper, there seem to be some positive signs of a resurgence around the world, as this article in The Economist shows. And here in New Zealand, the latest readership and circulation numbers mostly back that optimism up. 

In terms of readership, there are far more ups than downs. In fact, for many of the doomsayers, the minus column will be looking remarkably sparse. North & South was the only monthly earning a significant rating after going down from 289,000 to 263,000 readers from the same time last year and Home NZ joined it by dropping from 76,000 to 55,000. 

In the weeklies, Woman's Day charted a significant rise, up from 781,000 last year to 847,000, just ahead of its main rival NZ Woman's Weekly, which also increased, going from 804,000 to 819,000. Rugby News was the only other significant riser, up from 108,000 readers to 164,000. 

In the plus column for the monthlies are The Australian Women's Weekly, which is up big time from 664,000 to 777,000; Healthy Food Guide, which continues its consistent increase and is up from 358,000 to 402,000 readers; Your Home & Garden, which is up from 294,000 to 329,000; Mindfood, which is up to 184,000 from 160,000; NZ Rugby World, which is up from 154,000 to 240,000; Sky Sport The Magazine is up from 263,000 to 366,000; and NZ Performance Car, Farm trader, NZ Lifestyle Block and Recipes+, whichalso charted significant rises. 

In the bi-monthly category, there were also some big movers. NZ Geographic was up a massive 100,000 to 352,000; Homestyle magazine was up from 84,000 to 122,000; NZ Life & Leisure was up from 119,000 to 140,000; and Cuisine was up from 399,000 to 438,000. 

While some have questioned whether the six-monthly Hunting and Fishing is a magazine or a brochure, it went up from 450,000 to 555,000 and Habitat also increased significantly. 

As for circulation, things remained fairly stable (check out the numbers here). 

Most of ACP's titles remained pretty solid in comparison to the same time last year (all results average net paid circulation), but the readership results were reversed in some cases, with Australian Women's Weekly down from 79,585 to 77,643 and North & South up from 23,717 to 24,509. Looking further back, however, things aren't quite so positive (Next has lost almost half its ANP circulation, going from a high of 67,564 in 2005 to 37,274).

Fairfax was also solid, with mostly small decreases for most of its titles and a few small rises over last year. NZ Life & Leisure was up again and has done the opposite to Next by tripling its ANP circ numbers since it launched in 2005. NZ House & Garden increased slightly and Cuisine went from 49,407 to 46,553 (that's down from a high in 2005 of 61,468). 

As for NZ Magazines, NZ Woman's Weekly went down from 73,547 to 67,428 and The NZ Listener, Creme, Girlfriend and That's Life also dropped. New Idea and Simply You were solid, and Simply You Living was the only title to increase over last year. 

Tangible Media had some good circ results, with supreme magazine of the year Good going from 7,723 to 9,169 and Dish up from 19,488 to 21,442. Idealog, NZ Marketing Magazine, NZ Weddings and NZ Rugby World were solid, but NZ Fishing World was down to from 9,887 to 8,310. 

Overall, the sector seems pretty chipper about the latest results, as the releases below show. And, given what's happening to circ numbers in Australia at the moment, it's certainly healthier. Of course, it still seems to be a challenge to get that message across to clients and agencies and some very big advertisers have moved away from print—both newspapers and magazines—recently (for example, Goodman Fielder, which is thought to have completely cut its marketing budget after its restructure and Air New Zealand, which is thought to be shifting all of its $1 million print budget into TV and digital over the next few years). 

Feast your eyes on the various releases. Look forward to a run-down on newspapers next week. 

MPA: 

New figures released today show how much New Zealanders love reading magazines. The latest round of numbers from ABC Circulation (to 30th June 2012) and Nielsen CMI Readership (Q3 2011 – Q2 2012) will be released today, showing growth and increased engagement for magazines.

Total circulation was up 2% over the year prior, but the great news is it’s not just about volume. Consumers spend considerable amounts of time reading magazines and are heavily influenced by the messages they see there, with significant conversion to research and purchase.

Nielsen’s recently revised CMI database gives the insights behind the numbers:

There’s more of us reading more magazines

  • 73,000 more than last year –new readers could fill Eden Park almost 1.5 times.
  • We’re now reading 4.9 magazines within the issue period compared to 4.6 a year ago

 If you pay for it, you spend more time reading it

  • Average time spent reading is 41 minutes, increasing to 67 minutes for primary magazine reader. 

Readership of women’s weeklies as big as Auckland and time spent reading far more than it takes to drink a cup of coffee

  • Women’s weekly titles grew to 1.3 million readers each week (Auckland residential pop 1.377 million).
  • Average time spent immersed was a massive 84 minutes. Women 25-54 spent even longer: 96 or an hour and a half!

We love sport, especially if it’s rugby

  • Sports titles are up 15.4% from last year to 1.16 million readers
  • Rugby titles have led the way, increasing 46.4%

·Read magazines then buy stuff

  • More than half of Women 25-54 and Men 25-54 will buy something after seeing it in their magazines.
  • 70% of Homeowners 25-54 will go to a website after reading a magazine for more information.

Katrina Horton, Commercial Director of the Magazine Publishers Association says:

 “It’s no surprise that engagement levels by readers of magazines are so high. Intuitively, we have known this for some time and it’s great to see our assumptions quantified. Very few media can compete with the combination of immersing content, visual splendor and emotional connection that magazines continue to offer readers. This research now proves there’s a tangible benefit to advertisers.”

 These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more good news for many other sectors and many other consumer target groups, all available within Nielsen’s CMI.

ACP: 

Remember 1993? When Laurie Mains was coach of the All Blacks and Les Mills was Mayor of Auckland City? That was the last time iconic brand The Australian Women’s Weekly had a readership as high as today at 777,000. This represents an incredible 17 per cent year-on-year increase, or 113,000 new readers available to advertisers. It is the largest readership increase of any magazine and confirms the brand as the undisputed number-one read and sold monthly newsstand magazine. This is one of a run of stellar circulation and readership performances from market-leader ACP Magazines. 

The country’s most-read newsstand magazine, Woman’s Day continues to lead the women’s weekly market in every key metric from circulation to readership to advertising share. In the past year it has grown readership by 66,000 New Zealanders to 847,000 readers and also posted a circulation gain while key competitors fell. 

ACP Magazines’ third-largest title, NEXT magazine continues to resonate with smart, successful and stylish women with a readership of 359,000, up 11,000 on the same time a year ago. 

Metro and North & South magazines are proving that good journalism continues to resonate with the country’s more affluent and influential readers. Audited circulation for North & South rose to 26,095, up 2.4 per cent on June last year, while Metro experienced its fifth consecutive readership increase to 161,000, up 12.6 per cent, and circulation is stable. Other great performances came from the premium set: 

  • Fashion Quarterly increased readership, up 8.4 per cent year on year to 245,000, and circulation edged ahead to 24,572. 
  • KiaOra magazine is flying high with a record-breaking 304,000 readers. 
  • Home NZ has had its second consecutive circulation increase to 11,862. It is the dominant market leader with a paid circulation that is two and a half times that of its nearest home-design competitor. Readership also is starting to reflect these gains with a recovery following the negative effects of masthead changes. 
  • Your Home and Garden magazine has hit an all-time readership high of 329,000. This huge 11.9 per cent growth on last year’s numbers is igniting the category and outperforms its nearest competitor NZ House & Garden. Other stand-out results include: 
  • NZ Good Health magazine enjoying one of the most rapid rises in readership audiences since its launch two years ago, reaching 163,000 health-conscious readers. 
  • CLEO, New Zealand’s life-stylist for young women, is up 5.1 per cent in readership year on year to 145,000. 

CEO Paul Dykzeul says: “Magazines remain hugely influential in this country and continue to show they are much loved by New Zealanders. Our magazines show that more and more people are deeply engaged with our content and choose not only to endorse magazines by purchasing copies every day but also passing on magazines to other readers. This is an exciting and challenging time for all media but at ACP we feel very optimistic about the future.” 

Fairfax: 

New Zealanders’ love affair with magazines continues its powerful growth according to the latest Nielsen survey.

And it is the lure of the ideal lifestyle and a passion for hobbies and interests that is drawing in an increasing number of readers.  Latest consumer research shows that more than 2 million New Zealanders read a magazine published by lifestyle publishing giant Fairfax Media[1] in the last year - up significantly from 1.9 million readers 12 months ago.

It is the better-off households leading the way in the growth of magazines. Fairfax Magazines, with its stable of premium titles, has increased its reach with households earning over $100,000 by a whopping 126,000 readers in just a year.[2]

“Kiwis love to escape into beautiful and informative magazines and share the experience with friends and family, says Fairfax Magazines general manager Lynley Belton. “The tactile experience of sitting down with a favourite magazine can not be replaced and this is why our titles are doing so well.” 

Consistent top performers leading this growth are TV Guide, Cuisine, NZ Life & Leisure, NZ House & Garden, NZ Autocar, NZ Trucking, NZ Fishing News, NZ Lifestyle Block and Computerworld.

TV Guide continues to be the country’s most read and highest selling magazine reaching 609,000 people.

The combined reach of Cuisine, NZ Life & Leisure and NZ House & Garden is now more than 800,000 unique New Zealanders which demonstrates the power of just three premium titles. More broadly, it also illustrates the strength in magazine readership.

Food continues to be a preoccupation with New Zealanders and market leader Cuisine, which has already taught a couple of generations to be foodies, maintains powerful growth by increasing its readership to 438,000. This is up by 9.8% on the previous 12 month period.  Much newer on the block but now with a strong, and rapidly growing, following NZ Life & Leisure had a 17.6% increase (to 140,000) and the much-loved home-owners’ bible, NZ House & Garden easily dominates the Home category with well over half a million regular readers.  

And it is not just women who are increasingly reading magazines. Fairfax Magazines reaches more New Zealand men than any other publisher with 1 million male readers – of increase of nearly five percent in the past year.

NZ Autocar’s readership is up 12+ % (to 183,000), NZ Trucking up 13.7% (108,000), NZ Fishing News up 8.4% (322,000) and NZ Lifestyle Block has had a massive increase of 20+% to 87,000 readers. Even digitally-focussed titles are showing the power of print:  Computerworld up 7.1% on readership with 45,000 readers and PC World with 121,000 readers also contribute to that figure.

“While publishing is rapidly evolving, at its core remains the fact that having the best people, producing relevant, quality content will ensure that New Zealanders continue to respond. We all want something informative, aspirational or simply an enjoyable dash of escapism in our everyday lives,” says Belton.

Tangible Media: 

Metrics out today from both Nielsen and the Audit Bureau of Circulation confirms Tangible Media’s strategy to build strong communities of interest from original Kiwi-made content. 

Total reach across the Tangible portfolio is now 1,055,000New Zealanders 10+ built on readership increases across the entire consumer portfolio of Dish, Good, NZ Rugby World, New Zealand Weddings, NZ Fishing World and Habitat. 

“It is particularly gratifying to see this growth at a time when many commentators persist with their irrational predictions of the decline of our medium,” says Consumer Magazine Publisher John Baker. “We are particularly thrilled to see NZ Rugby World in the position of New Zealand’s fastest growing title in the last 12 months.” 

It’s not only readership where Tangible has performed exceptionally well with standout performances from this year’s Supreme Magazine of the Year Good, delivering a year-on-year 19% increase in paid circulation with stable mate Dish up 10%. 

Across the board, Tangible delivers audiences that are: 

- above average in terms of household and personal incomes 

- are typically low TV watchers 

- and based on metrics like time spent reading now available in CMI, are highly engaged in their genuine magazine experience. 

Combine this with a magazines ability to strongly influence consumer behaviour and you have some very potent options to integrate into almost any campaign, particularly when you include the digital media options Tangible are building around these audiences. 

NZ Magazines: 

The New Zealand Magazines portfolio has increased its reach by 2% on last year, with year on year growth experienced for each of our weekly women’s titles.

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly readership has increased 15,000 on last year, reaching 819,000 readers aged 10+. Digital growth has also been strong for the Weekly, with average monthly Unique Browsers (UBs) increasing by 44% in the 12month period to June 2012, on the same period last year. New Idea and That’s Life! have also performed exceptionally well. New Idea’s readership has grown by 18,000 to 476,000, and that’s Life! has increased by 2,000 readers to 283,000.

The New Zealand Listener continues to lead the current affairs category with 277,000 readers and sets the standard in reader engagement with the average time spent reading the Listener growing by 5% to 65 minutes. This is, on average, 22 minutes longer than people are spending with its nearest competitor.

“The performance of our weeklies in a highly competitive category is extremely encouraging,” says CEO Sarah Sandley. “To have four of the top six bestselling weeklies in supermarkets, and to be commanding 45% market share according to the latest audited numbers is a fantastic position to be in.”

New Zealand Magazines’ youth titles have built upon a strong and loyal reader base. Girlfriend engages with 188,000 readers, an increase of 19,000 on last year. Creme’s audience has grown across multiple platforms, with its print audience increasing by 12,000 readers to 161,000, and crememagazine.co.nz average monthly UBs up by 41% over the last 12 months.

The premium lifestyle titles performed well, with Simply You readers up 5.2% to 101,000 and Simply You Living up 9.8% on the previous release to 67,000 readers.

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