Beyond the Newsstand: New Tool Captures Print and Digital Magazine Consumption

To account for changes in how people read magazines, the Association of Magazine Media launched a new audience-measurement tool that calculates content consumption across a variety of platforms and formats. The goal: to help advertisers see the big picture.

It used to be that magazines would measure consumer consumption of their products by reporting newsstand sales and paid subscriptions. But with a growing mobile audience and with readers engaging with magazine content in different formats, those methods are not painting the whole picture.

A new tool from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) aims to help fill in the gaps.

Earlier this week, the group announced Magazine Media 360, a new industry measure that captures consumer magazine consumption across print and digital editions, websites, video, and five social media networks.

“The ability to capture and report a measurement which truly reflects the vitality of our brands across the entire content ecosystem is a game changer for magazine media,” Mary Berner, MPA president and CEO, said in a statement.  “With Magazine Media 360, we finally have a comprehensive accounting of consumer demand for our brands, an imperative for the industry since, with the growth of new, rapidly evolving digital platforms, consumer demand is today’s media currency.”

The report, available to the public on MPA’s website, pulls data from third-party providers such as Ipsos, comScore, Nielsen Online, and SocialFlow to illustrate consumption levels. Currently, the index measures data for 147 magazine brands from 30 companies.

The first of the monthly Magazine Media 360 reports, for example, showed that magazine media demand rose 10 percent between 2013 and 2014, largely due to an increase in mobile web consumption.

A New York Times article used Runner’s World as an example. The magazine has an advertising rate base (the circulation guaranteed to advertisers) of 660,000 but reported a much larger online audience, with 5.5 million unique monthly visits to its website, 1 million video plays, and 2.5 million social media followers.

While there is some overlap among print and digital consumers, “there are also an increasing number of people who do one or the other,” the magazine’s editor-in-chief, David Wiley, told the Times. “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me at events and say, ‘Hey, I read you guys on Facebook.’”

The audience report provides magazine publishers with a more accurate and complete story to tell advertisers about the health of their brands.

“It redefines the state of magazine media because you can’t sell what you can’t measure,” Berner told The Wall Street Journal.

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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