‘There’s definitely been a resurgence’: Magazines are the new vinyl says Are Media GM

The return of print is critical to Are Media’s omni-channel strategy according to general manger of fashion and beauty, Nicky Briger.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the media company’s Elle Australia relaunch, Briger was wholly optimistic about the future of print magazines.

“The nice thing for me is just being out and about and going to the hairdresser’s and doctor’s surgeries and things like that and seeing magazines again, because of course we didn’t have that during COVID,” she said. “So there’s definitely been a resurgence there as well, which is great.”

Her positivity is perhaps bolstered by some encouraging readership figure’s across Are Media’s stable of brands.  According to the latest figure from Roy Morgan, the publishing business saw a monthly readership of 5.9 million across its titles the 12 months to June 2023 – up 10% year on year. Growth was also felt across the market more broadly, as publishers undo some of the losses felt over many years of declining distribution.

Briger pointed out this resurgence of magazines could be something to do with novelty, comparing the trend to the popularity of vinyl records with younger generations.

“It’s that tangible product to have home and also sit proudly on your coffee table you know, something that you’ve got for in perpetuity to have for not a lot of money let’s be honest.”

Readers are overwhelmed by the “noise” and “pressure” of the digital sphere, she said, framing magazines as the obvious alternative for when readers need a break from their devices.

“When you’re absorbing a magazine you are looking for inspiration information as well. But it’s not popping up and annoying you, it’s just much more of a meditative experience.”

Nicky Briger, general manager of fashion and beauty, Are Media

Are Media’s Elle Australia is just the latest in a slew of magazine relaunches over the past 18 months, as popular titles slowly resurrect the print formats that were written off as collateral damage to the Covid-19 pandemic. Are Media’s predecessor, Bauer Media, was itself responsible for the closure of eight titles in late 2020: Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, InStyle, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Good Health, NW and OK.

Many of these have since returned to print under different publishing houses, though with a significantly reduced number of annual print runs. Switzer Media and Printing relaunched the Harper’s Bazaar brand in the Australian marketing in mid-2022, while True North Media took control of the InStyle license for its 2022 relaunch and Paragon Media picked up and promptly shut down the Men’s Health and Women’s Health titles.

Briger was tight lipped about whether the market could expect to see the return of any other retired titles in the near future, pointing to the “strong brands” that are already in the Are Media stable.

“At the moment it’s about consolidating and focusing on those and really promoting and pushing our omni channel strategy going forward.”

She did, however, offer that the media business was “always looking for opportunities.”

“The industry is actually really abuzz with talk of all different mastheads, either coming back, or new ones as well. And we all welcome it, because where we’ve worked where there was fierce competition, and nobody wants to see an industry that shrinking. I love the fact that it’s growing and blooming and booming.”


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