The latest ABC numbers were released last week, showing the period January – June 2015, giving us enough time to take a look at the headline figures and reflect on what they mean for the sector.
Print is declining (3.4% fewer print copies YoY), slowly but surely. But then you didn’t need us to tell you that. What is perhaps more revealing is how slowly that is happening and how there remains a strong appetite for paid content (the base figure of traditional combined with digital, shows a -0.2 decline YoY).
The format might be evolving (‘Freemium’ in particular continues to make headway), but it remains the case that every month a whopping 75% of UK adults still read magazine content. As we’ve mentioned previously on the blog, magazines are still a powerful advertising format and offer a clear opportunity for brands to get in front of highly specific audiences.
TV Choice, remains the biggest-selling magazine in the UK with a circulation of 1.27 million, with Radio Times the UK’s biggest weekly subscription title, with 253,390 subscribers, a 5 per cent year-on-year increase. Other magazines bucking the general trend of decline in print include Tatler (9.5% YoY increase to 84,383) and Private Eye (5% YoY increase to 228,264), showing that growth is possible, given the right publicity, audience and quality of content.
The stand out digital performer is The Economist, with a 69% YoY increase bringing the digital circulation to 282,829 copies. Their combined print and digital increase was a respectable 4.6% YoY.
Unbundled media might be here to stay, and we might get our content primarily via our social network of choice now, but the overall stability of the magazine sector indicates that consumers still value quality magazines that are able to provide a brand and experience outside of that environment. And advertisers, used to low attention spans, ad avoidance and a fragmented media landscape will continue to value magazines as a format that delivers 100% of attention and extremely positive consumer reactions.