Our media planning team aren’t shy about their love for magazines, mostly because they offer a format that is effective, engaging and affordable. The truth is however, that we are all reading fewer magazines now than we did five years ago (a drop of 19% according to German media agency Zenith Optimedia).


We now mostly read our newspapers online and, although they are a bit behind that dramatic drop off, our popular magazine reading habits are following suite. Some titles have disappeared entirely (Nuts), some are having to experiment (NME) while others are halfway to the scary promised land of rolling content (the Top Gear Magazine app springs to mind).


While thinking about the closure of the aforementioned Nuts, we mentioned that the magazines shouldn’t “…offer what is freely/better available online.” An unavoidable trap that Nuts fell into as their (now quaint seeming) static boob pics couldn’t hope to compete with what a fast broadband connection could deliver. Given that logic, in the long run, surely every magazine faces the same fate. How can a magazine compete when everything is available online, for free?


This is where the independent magazine sector has stepped in. As a proud reaction against the USPs of online media, independent magazines are going through a real and sustained renaissance and offering a safe and luxurious haven for brands in the process.


Independent print magazines (and their ad spots) are luxurious and slow where digital content is fast and often unavoidably trashy. For instance Delayed Gratification is a great long read ‘slow news’ title that boasts about being the ‘last to breaking news’. In an age of ubiquitous 24 hour rolling coverage, the slow media producer, that takes it’s time to offer a considered qualitative view, stands out from the crowd.


Indie magazines are often expensive to purchase (I just bought the glorious art and culture magazine Flaneur at an airport – a snip at €15). The high cover price of an indie mag goes toward very high production values. You can expect a more tactile experience, obviously, but also better presentation, photography and graphic design as a standard. And that cost of entry itself provides exclusivity which rubs off well on luxury brands, providing a mutually beneficial environment for all involved.


From music to fashion, baking to furniture, nostalgia sells. And independent print magazines, unsurprisingly, handle nostalgia so much better than on-screen media. See Pretty Nostalgic magazine for evidence.


Independent magazines are able to use their often niche content to offer an excellent home for likeminded brands. A good example of this is found with Rouleur (published just 8 times a year), a magazine that is only interested in cycling. And only high-end road cycling at that. The luxury bike brands that advertise in the mag know that the only people reading will be heavily invested already. There is little wastage, brands don’t just have permission to talk to the audience, they are encouraged to. They are a part of the enjoyment of the magazine.


“One of the luxuries of publishing in the independent sphere is the time to make your magazine.” Jeremy Leslie in Magculture


Similarly, one of the luxuries (for both audience and brands alike) in reading an independent magazine is the time spent on it. While advertisers tussle with the conundrum that although we spend ever more time online as a whole, we spend ever less time on single items/pages online. Magazines, and independent magazines particularly, allow the consumer, editorial and brand the space to ‘lean back’.


Want to know whether there is an indie mag with your name on it? Get in touch with our media planners today to find out more.


Image courtesy of Flaneur magazine


By Oliver Brown