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Do the ABCs reflect the true influence of magazine brands?

There was a time when magazine publishers looked forward to the ABC results. Every six months, they got to find out whether their hard work had been rewarded by growing circulations. Agencies and brands looked closely at the numbers, making sure they were spending money with the right titles. They were a strong indicator of performance.

Today, it’s a different picture. The advent of digital media and proliferation of free competition have led to falling sales. Last week’s report showed a 2.2% increase in UK magazine circulations in the first six months of 2016, but there was a 5% decrease in actively purchased titles.

However, even if the ABCs don’t paint a full picture of a magazine brand’s influence, print is still the major revenue driver in many publishers’ businesses. The paltry revenue shared from advertising around Facebook’s Instant Articles is a long way from the income generated by a glossy press ad. It is imperative that publishers continue to find new ways to monetise their power. There is little point in having influence if you do not have a sustainable business model.

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