Media Matters goes beyond simply reporting on current trends and hot topics to get to the heart of media, advertising and marketing issues with insightful analyses and critiques that help create a perspective on industry buzz throughout the year. It's a must-read supplement to our research annuals.
We’ve spent quite a lot of time in Media Matters disputing the doom and gloom assessments of linear television, but it turns out that maybe media pundits might just want to get the shovel out for another medium—magazines. We joke, of course, but we recently took a look at average audience trends for magazines, and the findings were sobering. Using GfK MRI’s magazine Doublebase data, as reported in its long-running pocketpiece, we took a look at average audiences for a number of magazine genres for 2013, 2017 and 2018. In the short term, the picture for magazines isn’t great, but it’s not dire. Average print audiences for 2018 were down across the board from the previous year, ranging from a scant -.2% for the automotive category, to a more significant -6.9% for fine food. The only two genres to buck the trend were outdoor (essentially flat) and bridal magazines (up nearly 6%). However, if digital editions are factored in to the average audience data, most genres come out slightly ahead of their 2017 numbers.
Obviously, publishers know that digital is the way to go—Conde Nast’s focus on digital content/channels being a notable example—but the numbers only come out slightly ahead compared to last year’s data. As shown in the accompanying table, when we looked back at the same genres for 2013, the picture becomes much bleaker, with half of the genres we examined showing double digit declines over the past five years. It’s unrealistic to expect this downward trend to reverse itself, but with ongoing expansion into digital content, and emphasis on being upscale/niche (rather than as a competitor with mass reach television), an evolved “magazine” medium might live to fight another day.
Today marks the release of MDI’s latest edition of CPMTrack, which evaluates and trends national CPM data for TV, magazines and radio for 1960-2018. Despite dire predictions for traditional media (see article above, among others), the numbers were once again up, with predicted average national CPM increases up as follows over 2017 findings:
For more information on CPMTrack, and to take advantage of the last week to save $50 off the cover price, visit CPMTrack.