Remaining print titles see growth as 15.2m Australians turn to magazines during lockdowns

Market research company Roy Morgan has released a report that shows Australians have turned to magazines during lockdown despite Are Media’s 2020 financials showing a decline in advertising revenue.

A total of 15.2 million Australians read magazines in print and online either via the web or an app during the 12 months to June 2021, a drop of 4%, or 628,000, on the 2020 results.

Although overall industry readership figures were down slightly compared to a year ago this is largely due to the closure, or suspension, of many titles during 2020 as the industry grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown.

On the contrary, the report showed that many magazine titles that have continued, have resonated with new audiences during a tough year and are thriving, with solid readership increases seen across many categories.

The print readership of several magazine categories increased significantly from a year ago. Readership of the Food and Entertainment category increased 10.8% to over 7.1 million, General Interest was up 6.1% to over 4.1 million, Home and Garden increased substantially by 17.8% to over 3.8 million and Mass Women’s was up 3.8% to over 3 million.

There were also increases in readership for the magazine categories covering Motoring, TV, Sports, Music and Movies and Motorcycles.

The report also cited that a majority of Australia’s Top 15 magazines increased print readership over the past year with Better Homes & Gardens and Women’s Weekly again the most widely read paid magazines.

A majority of 12 of the Top 15 magazines increased print readership over the past year as Australians looked for new activities to partake in with borders closed and travel options heavily restricted.

Better Homes & Gardens is Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with print readership up 3.5% to 1,679,000 ahead of the Women’s Weekly with a print readership of 1,475,000, an increase of 18.7% on a year ago.

In addition, National Geographic has retained an impressive print readership of 969,000 to be Australia’s third most widely read paid magazine ahead of Woman’s Day with a readership of 752,000.

Australia’s two most widely read free magazines are Coles Magazine with a readership of 5,061,000, an increase of 11.6% from a year ago and Fresh Ideas with a readership of 4,597,000, up 15.1%.

Bunnings Magazine is the third most widely read free magazine and had a large increase in readership over the last year as Australians turned to home improvement and renovations due to the COVID-19 pandemic with readership increasing by a massive 40.3%to 1,629,000.

The two magazines in the top 15 to have the largest increase in readership compared to a year ago are both in the same home improvement focused area of interest with House & Garden increasing its readership by 59.2% to 640,000 and Gardening Australia up 48.1% to 539,000, the report cited.

The five most read categories of magazines were, Food & Entertainment (7,133,000 Australians, 33.8% of the population), General Interest (4,123,000 Australians, 19.5% of the population), Home and Garden (3,877,000 Australians, 18.4% of the population), Mass Women’s (3,066,000 Australians, 14.5% of the population), and Business, Financial and Airline (1,105,000 Australians, 5.2% of the population).

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, said readership of magazines has held up well during an unprecedented year as the ‘Magic of Magazines’ delivered a high level of engagement with consumers stuck at home during several lockdowns of major cities around Australia.

“The latest Roy Morgan readership survey shows 15.2 million Australians now read magazines whether in print or online and despite the ‘digital deluge’ of the last year it is print magazines which are clearly the favoured channel – read by 12 million people (56.8% of population).

“The last year has been a tough one for everyone but there have been many bright spots in the magazine industry with the print readership in several leading categories increasing strongly although the closure, or suspension, of over 20 titles during 2020 led to a slight decline in the overall industry-wide readership figure,” Levine said.

Are Media’s ‘Now to Love’ digital platform read by 1.8 million Australians.


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