Are Media gearing up for a ‘supercharged’ Christmas as Australians face ongoing COVID uncertainty

Are Media’s director of sales says Christmas is still key for advertisers and sales of its magazines, providing commercial opportunities for advertisers, especially during a pandemic. 

With a portfolio of brands including Gourmet Traveller, The Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW), New Idea Food, Cooking with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Better Homes and Gardens, Now to Love and Homes to Love, the Are Media Food Network now reaches seven million main grocery buyers each month, according to the data in Roy Morgan’s Single Source Australia, March 2021 report.

Andrew Cook, director of sales, Are Media

Are Media’s director of sales, Andrew Cook, spoke to Mumbrella about how the publishing house is “supercharging Christmas” this year with new investment in research and insights, a revamped and refreshed brand, and commercial solutions to connect advertisers with its audiences

“I think for most of the advertising market, that lead-up to Christmas is the busiest time of year, from a revenue perspective. Are Media is known to influence, inspire, and inform its readers especially around the Christmas season. It’s more important than ever due to COVID-19 and the lack of connection that we’re facing, that we really promote this as a connective Christmas, and from our perspective, when it comes to food, we have around 4.5 million women who we talk to in our ‘Food Network’, and they come to us with ideas and inspiration, so we really know how to effectively connect with women and our brand’s different audiences.”

Cook said: “We also know through internal research that Australians plan several months before Christmas, and that people are even buying Christmas presents now, because of the potential delay of receiving items on time due to the pandemic. So, we are really trying to support Australians and encourage consumers to buy locally. We have one of the biggest cross-platform networks in Australia, in particular when we connect with women. We talk to six in ten women across the country and have a great opportunity to connect advertisers with that audience with the right environments.”

Cook explained that despite Are Media being a January to December business, the last quarter of the calendar year is its biggest and busiest time in terms of the company’s revenues and forecasts, with Are Media supercharging the Christmas period with new investment in research and insights.

“Without getting too in depth with numbers, if each quarter is about 25% of advertising revenue, we can absolutely say that the final quarter is much bigger than that. We have a fairly significant research team, we’re really well-known for thought leadership, and we do over 70 pieces of research throughout the year. We have considerable investments with the likes of Roy Morgan, but also invest in our own research. We have a panel of 15,000 people we use. Two benefits for that, one is to help shape our editorial proposition with our range of brands, and secondly, the thought leadership piece that goes out into the market for our advertisers. 

Cook said Are Media sees itself as an influencer to its audience, and even influencing influencers. How it does this, he said, is by investing a significant amount of money throughout the year on research pieces to help advertisers and to help improve its own products.

“Two recent examples of this, is our development of the ‘Food Languages’ study, using our panel of 15,000 people, and also the dip on COVID-19, and what consumers are feeling and thinking around the topic of the pandemic. We found that consumers are prepared to spend $1000 per Australian family on food and gifts to the lead-up to Christmas this year, more than ever before. We also know that three-quarters of our audience use the recipes and look to us to get inspiration for their gift-buying as well.”

Are Media has invested in providing its commercial partners with the latest insights into food, with its ‘Food Languages’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing’ survey. It will shortly broadcast TRENDtalks Food – a panel discussion featuring experts discussing the latest Christmas and food trends.   

According to data cited in Are Media’s ‘Food Language’ survey, more than six in ten women are interested in food and nutrition, that’s 6.4 million Australian women who are open to learning about all aspects of food. The average Aussie family spends $487 on average on Christmas entertaining. An average of $554 is spent on gifts. 79% of Are Media audiences start preparing for Christmas one or more months in advance.

Additionally, the survey found that 45% of Are Media’s audiences get inspiration from social media, 56% prefer to cook scratch even if it takes more time, 81% prefer to buy Australian made, 74% of Are Media’s audience use magazine recipes for food inspiration and ideas and 84% of Are Media’s food audience have taken action as a direct result of reading a food magazine and/or visiting a food magazine website.

Cook continued: “We always have the traditional content which we push out during Christmas, we also really believe, and what comes in from a circulation point-of-view, is we know consumers feel like they’re on holiday when they’re away from their screen. As a result of that we always see our circulation go in the right direction more so than any other time of the year. We see consumers taking time-out to really reconnect in reading and buying magazines. 

“Saying that, we want to make sure there is an opportunity for our advertisers throughout the year that we do engage in cross-platform.”

In response to this, Are Media are launching a number of ways brands can tap into the conscious, creative and connected moments that are most important to women at Christmas. 

These include: ‘Ariel View’ which is an engaging video shot from above the action, that shows step by step visual instructions – curated for snackable social consumption. 

‘Go Shop’, shot on a Go-pro, Are Media will take audiences along on a shopping trip through the eyes of our editorial team. Armed with a budget and an objective, this video will give a tantalising snapshot of their favourite places to shop and the best things to go-and-shop for Christmas.

‘Xmas Instazines’ which is an engaging advertorial style digital magazine that showcases inspirational Christmas content in a snackable social format. A simple and visual way to incorporate products into inspirational content she consumes while relaxing.  

‘Live webinar’, a live webinar cooking/decorating showcase event with influential talent such as AWW Food Director Fran Abdallaoui or Real Living editor Elle Lovelock, that will include seamless brand integration.

Additionally, Are Media will have ‘Fully shoppable experiences’ which aims to drive people to “buy now” through a Christmas countdown across all of our shoppable touchpoints such as shoppable social eDMs, QR codes, content, programmatic and affiliate links.


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