The death of print media has been so widely reported for so long that many of us would never even questions its truth. But the beleaguered magazine industry has released a new report that might prove those assumptions wrong, especially for those with a digital platform.
On Monday, the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) released its first Magazine Media 360 Brand Audience Report, looking at audiences for 147 of the biggest magazine titles, using third party data to provide a closer look between the pages of these not-so-dead glossies. Significantly, the report shows that magazine readership — be it in print or digital formats — has grown 10 percent year-over-year. This includes a 2.1 percent increase in print readership, and close to 98 percent growth in online mobile readership.
Leaders in magazine readership
Of the top six magazine titles in total audience, People comes out on top, with a healthy lead over its nearest competitor Better Homes and Gardens.
Allrecipes and Forbes stand out as titles that have relied on digital numbers to stay near the top, while National Geographic is heavily reliant on print.
Unlike National Geographic, not all have survived a lack of a transition into digital unscathed. Titles like Popular Science and Redbook stand out as two that are not finding much success online and are losing overall audience; both titles lost significant desktop audience and have almost no online video presence.
But this is the point. The magazine industry has been under such scrutiny that losers and winners alike have been swept up in the same narrative about a loss in magazine readership.
“With Magazine Media 360, we finally have a comprehensive accounting of consumer demand for our brands, an imperative for the industry since, with the growth of new, rapidly evolving digital platforms, consumer demand is today’s media currency,” MPA CEO Mary Berner said in a statement. “In fact, given the success of many magazine brands on those new platforms, continuing to rely on print circulation and ad paging counts in isolation to determine demand for magazine media would be like measuring the viewership of the Super Bowl exclusively based on the people who watched it in the stadium.”