Need more proof that magazine publishers are once again investing in the lean-back experience of magazines? Look no further.
“As many magazine publishers continue to look for ways to cut costs by scaling back frequency, thinning their books, and reducing their overall quality, Meredith isn’t convinced that’s the only way forward,” writes Caysey Welton in FOLIO:.
“Food & Wine, a brand the company took over when it acquired Time Inc. in 2018, is the most recent print magazine the company is investing in by increasing its trim size and improving its paper weight,” Welton continues.
Meredith didn’t get to be the largest media company in the world by playing it safe. Their success story is a tale of pushing through when things get tough, not pulling back and scaling down. Instead, they invested in making great brands even better … and they continue to do so.
“Food & Wine, and others, were always great brands and we felt if we put the right people and efforts behind them and paired them with our great advertising partners, they had potential to grow,” explained Doug Olson, president of Meredith’s magazine division.
And grow it has. According to Welton, the title increased YOY print ad revenue by 18%, grew reading by 11% and circulation by 2%. The print magazine is enhanced by a digital reach of nearly 29 million users.
“Olson says that the revenue growth in print is a combination of renewed advertiser interest as well as a concerted effort by editor-in-chief, Hunter Lewis, and publisher, Tom Bair, to develop a product its partners and readers wanted,” Welton explains.
They are certainly not the only big name in publishing investing in print. Higher quality paper… larger trim sizes… more ambitious long-form content… creative partnerships with important events… higher prices… These are just some of the hallmarks of the modern consumer magazine, geared less toward the general public and more toward a passionate (and more engaged) readership.
These trends are indicative of publishers’ reinvestment in the lean-back experience of printed magazines, at a time when we are all searching for something to engage us deeply, beyond the immediacy of social feeds and new cycles.
At Meredith, they’ve rolled out upgrades in the titles they acquired from Time Inc. including Travel + Leisure and Health over the past few months.
“This has been a theme, along with launching new magazines, which are now at various stages of their lifecycle,” Olson said. “A lot of competitors are moving away from beautiful print products, but we see it as a two-fold opportunity. We’re not only giving our advertisers a better physical environment for their messaging, but we are giving readers a better overall experience.”
It sounds like a perfect pairing.