Peter Zavecz claims media agencies have ‘unfairly treated magazines’ as he exits PacMags

Peter Zavecz has taken aim at media agencies lack of understanding of the benefits of magazines as his time with Pacific Magazines winds to an end, saying media agencies have “unfairly treated magazines”.

Peter Zavecz:

Peter Zavecz: “You can stick an audience in the sky and claim all of Sydney saw you but that doesn’t mean people engaged with you”

Speaking with Mumbrella in his final week as CEO at Pacific Magazines, Zavecz said the declines in advertising revenue was his biggest disappointment due to the way magazines have been treated by media agencies.

“The over-reaction to loss of audience – the revenue declines have been far more pronounced than the audience declines,” Zavecz said.

“In the past five years between Bauer and ourselves in SMI the ad revenue has halved. It was about $160m in SMI five years ago and now it’s an odd $80m.”

Zavecz said it is Gereurd Roberts, who was officially named CEO earlier this week, challenge to stave off the declines in advertising revenue and to more effectively convince media agencies to consider magazines in their planning and buying processes.

“That’s what he’s looking at right now,” Zavecz said.

“Media agencies, this whole argument about audience and engagement and the science around it, they’ve unfairly treated magazines because they haven’t been able to properly manage the engagement magazines bring and brand-alignment associations, what that brings.

“Clients – most of them are managing low interest brands – really want to associate with desirable brands and high interest brands and they see magazines as high interest brands. They get it, that’s why you see lots of magazines as high interest brands.

Zavcez said there’s too much focus on the print circulation metrics.

“The metrics they’re focusing on are very blunt metrics. You can buy audience anywhere. You can stick a balloon in the sky and claim all of Sydney saw you but that doesn’t mean people engaged with you and that’s what magazines deliver and that’s what brands like Marie Claire, Women’s Health and Better Homes & Gardens bring to the table.

“Client companies want to be involved with them and that usually manifests itself in events and sponsorships, they’re still strong but the run of the book advertisements have really dropped away because magazines just haven’t been in the consideration set with young media agency planners and buyers.

“We’ve been unduly treated by media agencies in blunt metrics without them fully understanding the benefits of a magazine.”

Zavecz  is finishing up with the magazine publisher at the end of this week to join News Corp as managing director of Herald & Weekly Times – commercial.


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