Hearst Named UK’s Media Brand of the Year – Here’s Why it’s Important for Advertisers

For Magnetic’s Sue Todd, one of the common traits among great magazine brands is “the ability to build connections and communities with audiences that are hard to establish elsewhere.”

Todd, writing in Campaign this week, creates a compelling case for the role of magazines – and the ads that appear in them — in the emerging identity economy.

“It’s been a big few weeks for magazines. The cherry on top was the news that Hearst UK, owner of titles including Cosmopolitan, Elle and Good Housekeeping, was named Media Brand of the Year at the Media Week Awards,” she writes.

“This was not only a just reward for an excellent publisher, but it’s also an indication of the broader confidence that surrounds magazine media, as reflected in mergers and acquisitions activity that has included Epiris’ acquisition of Time Inc UK and Exponent’s purchase of Dennis Publishing,” Todd continues.

That confidence is stemming from the way modern audiences are behaving, seeking out content around their specific interests, and losing interest in consuming mass media.

“We found that the largest part of discretionary spending to grow over the past five years surrounds people’s passions – from fashion and football to film and food,” Todd explains, referencing research that Magnetic undertook to better understand the changing nature of attention and how that impacts advertising.

“Spending on purchases related to our identity is increasing much more significantly than other household spend,” she continues. These categories made up 52% of discretionary household spending last year and captured 79% of the growth in spend in the past five years. This economic growth – the passion pound – is recognized by publishers and demonstrated by their diversification of offers to customers, including off-the-page experiences and diversification into as events and e-commerce.”

For advertisers, it’s the golden ticket – a self-selected, highly engaged and passionate audience in a particular niche. And for that audience, the experience extends from editorial content to associated advertising in a seamless way that just doesn’t exist on other platforms.

“…the core strength of print magazines is their ability to convert attention to content into attention to advertising.” – Sue Todd, CEO Magnetic

As she explains so clearly, we pay more attention to the things that mean something to us.

“Therefore, the context in which we consume content and advertising is an important part of priming us for later action,” she notes. (Previous research backs this up; when it comes to driving purchase action, print ads work on several levels.)

For magazine media brands like Hearst that truly understands today’s passion-driven readers, creating an effective platform for ad partners comes down to delivering quality content written with integrity. They make it look easy – we know it’s anything but – and they are well deserving of their Media Brand of the Year title. Kudos, Hearst UK, and keep making magic.