Money & Business

Report: Magazines Keeping Momentum in Digital Climate

By / Dec 9, 2019 (SolStock/E+/Getty Images Plus)

A new report from magazine industry group MPA shows that even as declines in audience happen with older mediums, mobile, social media, and digital video are paying off in a big way for magazine publishers.

The magazine industry is finding its footing in the digital world—and its print legacy might even help give those existing brands a leg up online.

That’s an underlining point of a multifaceted new white paper from MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, which highlights the audience growth that publishing brands have seen as they’ve evolved their offerings from beyond the printed page into areas such as video, social media, and the mobile web.

“Magazine brands have evolved into true multi-media platforms that grab and hold the attention of audiences,” MPA President and CEO Linda Thomas Brooks said in a news release.

Magazine Media 360°: A Five-Year Review of Magazine Brand Vitality shows that audience numbers for traditional approaches, such as using a desktop computer and a traditional print publication, have declined by double digits between August 2014 and August 2019, but have more than been made up for by growth in mobile web, which saw an increase of 122 percent (a level that’s closing in on print+digital, or a print magazine with a digital component), while video saw an increase in audience of 425 percent over the same period (now topping traditional desktop web reading).

The two categories drove overall growth, with video making up 10 percent of the media mix and mobile making up 37 percent—a massive jump from 21 percent five years prior. Web fell from 16 percent to 9 percent over the five-year period, while print-plus-digital fell from 61 percent to 44 percent.

“While there has been a gain of almost half a billion in the Magazine Media 360˚ Total Audience, it has come exclusively from the mobile and video platforms,” the report stated. “In our time reporting monthly on Magazine Media 360˚, we confirmed month after month that consumers were making a dramatic shift from the larger computer screen to the smaller mobile screen of tablets and cell phones.”

The social picture also points out some interesting points for publishers: The report found that, over a two-year period, magazine brands were slightly more successful on Facebook than non-magazine brands, while non-magazine brands were slightly more engaged on Twitter. But the real story is Instagram, where magazines were 1.5 times more likely to see engagement than non-magazine brands.

“The data has provided further support that online users are passionate about magazine brands’ content,” said Jeri Dack, MPA’s director of research initiatives, in the release. “In almost all the opportunities we analyzed, magazine media brands were superior or equal to non-magazine brands.”

To put it another way, that authority and legacy that a magazine has is carrying over online–if you’re building your audience to keep up.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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