Thursday, 3 December 2009

'US study shows dead tree media not dead yet'

Simon Kanter, editorial director of Haymarket Network, is blogging that US research shows "all those gloomy, techno-babble modernists, consultants and commentator that ‘dead tree media’ may have rather more life in it than they would have us believe."
Simon says a white paper commissioned by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) shows that the number of magazine readers in the USA has grown over the past five years by 5.7%, a higher rate than the number of users of all other media except for the internet.
According to Mediamark Research and Intelligence (MRI), that’s a faster growth than TV or radio or newspapers or outdoor media. Not only has the overall market grown but the number of young readers (18-34) has also grown by 2.6% in the past five years.
Simon blogs: "As some of us have consistently argued, magazines and the internet are not locked in a mortal combat from which only the digital Behemoth can emerge successful; the two media are actually complementary.
"According to MRI, a ten year high in US magazine subscriptions is almost entirely due to the internet, which was responsible for 21 per cent of all new subs in 2008. And the relationship is complementary with magazines performing better than any of 12 other media at influencing consumers to start a search for merchandise online – more than double that of internet and email advertising, online communities and word of mouth. The research also reveals that magazines are the medium that best complements the web in reaching influential social networkers who ‘build buzz’.
He adds: "The MPA has published ‘Twenty Tweetable Truths About Magazines’. Drawn from the third party research that makes up the white paper it includes some stunning facts. For example, US consumers spend more than $86 million each week on single-copy magazines; 75 per cent of American teenagers read magazines while the number of readers aged 34 or below is greater than the number aged 34 and above. Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that the top 25 selling magazines in the USA reach more adults and teenagers than the top 25 prime-time TV programmes."
Simon concludes: "This is all excellent stuff but does it translate to the UK? Sadly I’m unaware of any study of a similar scale that has been conducted by our equivalent associations but what we do know is that the UK’s top five paid-for weekly magazines (TV Choice, What’s On TV, Radio Times, Take a Break and OK!) average five million sales per week while the next five (Closer, Heat, Chat, New! and That’s Life!) contribute a further 2.2 million sales.
"So, despite a declining market, British consumers are still happy to shell out for 7.2 million copies of just 10 magazines every week. Not bad when you consider that the UK boasts some 7,945 magazines in total with a combined annual consumer spend of £1.98 billion. So yes, advertising revenues have been in freefall, yes ABCs are down around five per cent year on year but the effectiveness conclusions of the MPA are as relevant here as they are across the pond.
"Good magazines work and that’s why those of us that love and understand the value of the medium are grateful to our colleagues in the USA for proving the point."

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