Beyond the ABCs of the Magazine Media Story

[responsive]abc[/responsive]Folks are slow to change. And entire industries are even slower. Publishing industry folks are used to looking to reports like the recent one from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) to gauge the overall health of the industry. And they are missing the bigger picture when they do, explains FIPP’s Cobus Heyl.

“So the ABC past quarter results was released this week. None of it really got under my skin, but the way in which it was reported and commented upon by some, surely did,” he writes.

The irksome reporting goes something like this in his estimation: “magazines = print, print is dying and therefore a whole industry is in its dying throes.”

Heyl is quick to disclaim that he is not writing “in defence of print” but is in a fact aiming to help people understand the bigger picture.

“Leaving aside that there are some print brands showing strong resilience, even growth, what is so disappointing is that some do not realise, or cannot be bothered to explain, that print is but part of what is an ongoing, developing industry story (a journey),” he says.

“Of course ABCs is a good measurement tool for an important segment of the industry, but not for the overall vitality of an industry,” Heyl continues.

He’s not alone in this opinion. Sue Todd of Magnetic stresses that people need to look beyond “old habits” to really understand the growing influence of magazine media.

“The ABCs give us a sense of the value still placed in print and digital editions by consumers, but add in the multiple touchpoints created by magazine media events, mobile engagement, online video, social media interaction and e-commerce activity, and you start to get the full view of a sector whose power and influence is as strong as ever,” Todd notes.

Heyl agrees.

“From this vantage point, I truly believe reality is far removed from the dire picture some would have us believe,” he notes.

So let’s look beyond the old habits. It’s a brave new industry we live and work in, and we need new and more comprehensive ways to truly understand what’s happening.