Archive for the ‘sales’ Category

Deloitte suggests digital U-turn

December 17, 2008

Declining advertising revenues, increasing costs and a dismal economy could see off one in 10 magazines and newspapers in 2009, according to a report (Stop the presses: print in peril) from Deloitte quoted in Media Week.

The solution? ‘Significantly reducing’ online activity, to drive people back to the physical product, a strategy Deloitte finds evidence for in Japan, which has restricted its online presence, and where titles have suffered lower declines in readership and advertising than in North American and Europe.

Can this be the same firm that summarised an earlier report so:

Cannibalisation is a myth: digital complements rather than competes with print;

Blogs and user generated content supplements rather than threatens.’

That was two years ago, but what a U-turn.

Magazines, tins and beans

March 3, 2008

There are some things that can be done but shouldn’t be done. Like the weird ‘fruit’ in Kellogg’s Special K and impatient taxis trying to run over pedestrians on zebra crossings. Now, another comes into view: magazines on bottles. It’s the brainchild of a company called On Product Publishing.

Case studies show that companies such as Virgin and Tetra Pak have used the idea. It reminds me of a bin that used to sit in my office in Covent garden. It was from the Tin Marketing Council and emblazoned on the side were the words: ‘Another great idea hits the bin – next time, Think Tin.’ I [do not] look forward to finding a magazine strapped to the side of my can of beans.

Reading behind the figures

February 20, 2008

Roy Greenslade is just as perplexed as David Hepworth when it comes to the latest ABC sales results. Greenslade identifies:

  1. Winners: Esquire, OK!, Glamour and Good Housekeeping.
  2. Losers: Hello!, Maxim, Now, Heat and FHM.
  3. No breakthrough/jury’s out: Easy Living, Grazia and ShortList.

He quotes an International Federation of the Periodical Press report that predicts UK magazines’ share of ad spend is set to fall from 13% in 2007 to 12.6% this year. If that forecast does come true, the fight for revenue will result in what always happens: the leading titles in their sector will see off the weakest – and the same trend will occur among sectors.

Take mainstream men’s magazines. There have been two big cullings in the sector:

  • in the mid-late 1950s when the biggest titles went to the wall – Lilliput, London Opinion, Esquire and Razzle.
  • 10 years later, when Club, King, Men in Vogue, Town and Men Only all closed after a surge in launches in the Swinging Sixties. (Though many of these titles were bought up by porn publishers.)

The sector revived in the 1980s, so another cull is well due, with Maxim and Arena looking favourites to go.

For other magazines it has been a long, slow decline – Women and Woman’s Own alone sold 5.5 million copies a week between them in 1959; now they barely muster 750,000.  Today, the same is happening to Take a Break – the top-selling weekly – though it has stubbornly kept above the million mark so far.
The parallel between earlier decades and now is that of new technology – commercial television in 1954 followed by colour in the mid-1960s and the web, then social networking today. In 1960, magazines took a quarter of all advertising revenue but that has eroded to today’s 13%. The reason magazines have still thrived is that the overall advertising spending has risen so much and people have more money to spend buying them. If that carries on being the case, there is room for magazines and the web. It is when spending stagnates or falls for a lengthy time – a recession – that the pips really start to squeak.

ABCs perplex even Hepworth

February 19, 2008

David Hepworth summarises the big story from the latest ABC figures:

The celebrity weeklies such as Heat (down 11% to 533,034), Closer (down 10% to 548,594) and Now (down 12.9% to 470, 290) are suffering from the same malaise as the men’s monthlies a few years ago. It’s a combination of the fact that in the UK, once your circulation goes above 500,000, you cross the border between being a phenomenon and a bit passé.

However, even a veteran observer such as Hepworth seems to find contradictions in each trend he seems to identify:

Having said that this doesn’t seem to apply to OK!, which posted a startling rise of 9% to 683,451. It could be that the vogue for waspish accounts of the ups and downs of celebrity has passed, and the rump of the readership is happy with bovine reverence.

But it seems bad news across the board for the lads’ mags – and ShortList couldn’t even give away its target 500,000 (462,731)!

Roy Greenslade’s view