Bauer says subscriptions to its magazines have surged by over 60%

Bauer Media may be under financial pressure as COVID-19 causes the advertising market to plummet, but the publisher says consumer engagement is surging.

The publisher, behind the likes of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Take 5 and Country Style – and now former Pacific Magazines titles including Marie Claire, New Idea and Who – said subscription sales have surged over 60% in the past month. The Australian Women’s Weekly, it said, was a particular standout, with a subscription increase of 97% compared to the previous month.

Bauer Media’s suite of brands

Woman’s Day is up 81% compared to last month, Take 5 by 87%, and Country Style by 77%.

Year on year, the numbers are even more dramatic. Bauer said magazine subscriptions are up 111% over the past 30 days, compared to the corresponding period last year.

Bauer said the figures prove “Aussies’ love of printed magazines remains strong”.

“In times of uncertainty people return to the things they know and love which is why we’ve witnessed a sizeable increase in consumers taking out subscriptions to many of our magazines. What’s even more pleasing is these new subscribers are also investing for the longer term, moving away from three-month introductory offers to year-long subscriptions that offer enhanced value,” director of sales, Andrew Cook, said.

“In ever increasing numbers, audiences are migrating to our brands across magazines and digital platforms and are highly engaged with our social content. Forward-thinking advertisers are recognising this as an opportunity to engage consumers with targeted and relevant messages to help them adapt in what is likely to become the new normal for some time to come.”

Cook: People are thinking longer term

CEO of Bauer Media, Brendon Hill, noted the publisher’s strengthened connection with women, now that it also commands the Pacific Magazines brands.

“Following the integration of Pacific Magazines, we now reach more than half of Australian women each month through our expanded portfolio of brands. Across a number of key categories in print, digital and social, we are the leading media company delivering trusted and targeted content,” he said.

“Our increased reach and deep understanding of how brands can effectively connect with Australian women is needed now more than ever. Changes in sentiment and spending priorities are driving advertisers to rethink their approach, and through our ongoing research we have unique insights into how women are navigating the new world to help inform their strategy. We look forward to working with commercial partners to maximise their investments and engage with our audiences across the new portfolio.”

Bauer, like many media companies, has had a tough few months.

In October, it announced its intention to purchase Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines for $40m, however towards the end of the year the competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) voiced its concerns over the deal. The ACCC’s concerns centred on the viability of the publishers’ weekly titles due to the content cross over between the two companies, as well as a potential reduction in quality.

Despite the initial concerns, the deal was given the go-ahead by the ACCC in March. By then, however, the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic had begun to hit Australian shores, and the deal was delayed.

Right before the deal was completed, Bauer made 70 staff redundant and suspended a number of print titles. CEO Hill has subsequently said those titles will ‘absolutely’ come back post pandemic.

The acquisition of Pacific Magazines was completed on 1 May, and 60 more staff were axed.


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