For many magazine publishers, the state of the newsstand isn’t exactly the stuff of sweet dreams these days. Yet for some, it’s been a heady time, with new titles and new-found audiences breaking the mold for newsstand revenue.
What’s the secret?
“Almost all of the success secrets centre around the rediscovery of the qualities inherent to print and the realisation that printed content needs to distinguish itself from any other medium,” writes Piet van Niekerk in FIPP.
Piet reels off a number of publishers in the UK – including Bauer Media, Immediate Media Co. and TI Media, formerly Time Inc. – that launched new titles and racked up what the Audit Bureau of Circulation called “outstanding” performances following this formula. But can it really be that simple?
“I think it’s been tried and tested,” said Bauer Media’s Rob Munro-Hall in What’s New In Publishing. “Perhaps we all took for granted what magazines and newspapers are able to do. Clearly now consumers have more choice, that content has to be absolutely outstanding in terms of quality, if you’re going to be able to first of all get people to spend time consuming that content.
“Now I think the bar is really high from the quality point of view, because obviously we’ve got a business model that is largely dependent on people actually paying for our content,” Bauer continued. “If it’s not good enough, they won’t pay for it, so we’ve got to make sure it’s exceptional so that we can continue to get them to put their hands in their pockets.”
Take Egmont Publishing, for example, a children’s media company. Two of their titles showed major improvement year-on-year. Commercial Director Siobhan Galvin credits their success with knowing how to leverage the tactile qualities of print. As van Niekerk notes, Egmont’s research shows them that parents truly value the physical magazine experience for kids.
“Magazines are an affordable ‘treat with benefits’,” she said.
Clearly, when you’re looking for success in the newsstand, you need to stay true to your mission and back it up by delivering high quality relevant content. And that content should be something that is unique to print – a secret weapon that Bauer Media has been leveraging for years.
Success in the newsstand starts with delivering quality content that your readers will be happy to pay for – curated with a keen respect for the defined edges of a tactile printed experience. We’ve been saying for years that magazine publishers sell magazines – not simply content packaged in magazine form. These successful publishers are proving that this is the case.