Magazines’ slipping share is their own fault
Australia’s magazine industry is to be congratulated.
Over the last few years, the industry has been participating in a massive piece of global market research. And the results are in.
If you don’t invest in promoting your medium, the share goes backwards. Who’d have thought?
As Matt Stanton, the new chairman of Magazine Publishers Australia pointed out last night, the UK magazine market has an 8% share of media spend. In Australia, it’s 4%.
It turns out that in order to sell your product, you’ve got to market it.
While structural change may have played a role, the fact that magazines haven’t been selling themselves while the likes of Free TV, the Outdoor Media Association, and Commercial Radio Australia have been eating their lunch is a far bigger factor.
In the UK, magazine publishers work together to promote their medium. In Australia, they’ve been hopeless. Or “shit” as previous MPA chairman Nick Chan put it.
A big part of the blame lies with ACP, now under new management as Bauer. Then boss Ian Law decided to save a few bucks and withdrew from MPA. As a result, the united front pretty much died.
Despite that, there has been small progress driven by the smaller players.
The end of November sees Magazine Week run for the second time. This event is organised by Publishers Australia, which mainly represents the second tier players, although MPA is represented on the board and the big guys are involved on the Magazine Week panels.
Last year saw Publishers Australia’s long running magazine awards opened up to MPA members. As a result, it started to feel like a big all-industry magazine event. There’s a chance yet to turn this into the big night in the magazine industry year.
And the rest isn’t rocket science. Figure out ways of reminding marketers and media agencies of the value of the medium. And then consistently deliver the message.
It will be a long slog to increase share. But at least magazines are trying again.