Thursday, January 17, 2008
MPA: Mags Must Adapt Or Die
BoSacks Speaks Out: Pages Vs. Revenue
Beneath this MPA review is the last quarter results of the PIB statement. I'm so tired of this reporting structure, that I just can't take it any more. It is cow pie like this that brings that question of accountability to question. Every quarter it's the same damn thing - pages are dropping but revenue is up.
"The difference between reality and unreality is that reality has so little to recommend it."
MPA: Mags Must Adapt Or Die
by Erik Sass
MAGAZINES ARE WELL-POSITIONED TO COMPETE in today's media landscape, but must adapt quickly or face losing ground to new types of content publishers--be it the Internet or elsewhere. That's according to John Griffin, the president of the National Geographic Group and the new chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America.
Speaking at the University Club in New York, Griffin said one of the keys to success in the Internet era is more precise measurement of the audience's size, characteristics, and engagement with specific magazines. This will help level the playing field with the Internet, where digital technology allows a variety of measurements seen as more precise by media planners.
Specifically, Griffin called for a reliable way to measure the accumulation of audience for each issue of a magazine over time. Some work has already been done by Mediamark Research and Intelligence, which last year introduced its issue-specific Readership Study, based on single-source surveys of its panel of about 200,000 magazine readers.
The data, collected as a supplement to MRI's "Survey of the American Consumer" through online questionnaires, documents the accumulation of audiences for specific issues of magazines over time, giving publishers and media buyers a view of issue-to-issue changes in magazine readership.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations has also introduced a new "Rapid Report" feature that allows magazine publishers to deliver circulation data to media planners and advertisers within weeks, rather than months, as previously.
The Internet itself is key to magazine strategy, with Griffin outlining a model for magazines as multi-platform content purveyors, delivering to desktops and mobile devices. However, he cautioned against any strategy based on online subscriptions, noting that the overall trend is toward free content. For example, in the newspaper industry, one of the last bastions of paid content--The Wall Street Journal Online--may lower the subscription barriers in the next year, according to its new owner Rupert Murdoch
Final 2007 Report: Magazine Ad Revenues Grow, Ad Pages Dip
Celebrity titles buoyed by Britney; newsweeklies continue to struggle.
By Dylan Stableford
Total magazine rate-card-reported advertising revenue for consumer magazines grew 6.1 percent in 2007 when compared to 2006, according to year-end Publishers Information Bureau figures released this morning. But total ad pages-considered the more telling statistic, given the unaccounted rate card discounts doled out by publishers-declined about a half a percent (-0.6) over the same period.
Nine of the 12 major advertising categories-comprising more than 85 percent of the $25.5 billion of total magazine ad spending-showed increases. Eight categories bought more ad pages in 2007 than in 2006. Drug companies spent the most on advertising in magazines, according to PIB.
"In the face of a weakened economy, lowered consumer confidence and tighter ad budgets, magazine spending held steady in 2007, and even posted a stronger finish in the fourth quarter," Magazine Publishers of America executive vice president and chief marketing officer Ellen Oppenheim said in a statement accompanying the PIB release.
Some magazines had markedly strong years, in both ad revenue and, to a lesser extent, page gains. Reader's Digest Association's Every Day with Rachael Ray took in $78.3 million in PIB advertising revenue in 2007-an increase of 283 percent over 2006-on 717 ad pages, a 59 percent increase over the previous year. (RDA's flagship title, Reader's Digest, fared closer to the industry average, up eight percent in revenue, down roughly one percent in pages.)
New York magazine had yet another good year, up 16.3 percent in ad revenue and 4.3 percent in ad pages, overtaking the New Yorker in total reported ad revenue ($227.3 million to $226.2 million) for the first time.
Britney and Brangelina made their presence felt, too, as celebrity magazines saw increases in spending. In Touch (up 31.6 percent in ad revenue, 20.2 percent in ad pages) Life and Style (up 67.6 percent in revenue, 39.8 percent in pages), OK! (up 110 percent and 44 percent, respectively) all had productive PIB years.
The newsweekly category did not fare so well. Newsweek (down 1.8 percent in ad pages, 6.7 percent in pages), Time (down 18 percent in ad revenue on 6.9 percent fewer ad pages), and U.S. News & World Report (up one percent in ad revenue, down 4.6 percent in ad pages) continued to struggle as news-and marketers' interests-continued to shift online. Only Felix Dennis' The Week-the magazine he left out of the sale of his U.S. magazines-registered significant growth, up 15.8 percent in ad revenue and 5.3 percent in ad pages.
Other notables: TV Guide-sold for $2.8 billion in December-saw solid PIB gains (up 33.5 percent in revenue, 23 percent in ad pages); Best Life continued to climb, up 61.1 percent in ad revenue (to $35.4 million) on 584 ad pages-a 37 percent increase; and Portfolio tallied $28 million on 656 ad pages in its first nine months in existence.