Written by Katrina Hutchison. Regional Sales Director, TI Media

Magazine brands have responded speedily & with incredible agility to these ever-changing lockdown conditions.  

Publishers have demonstrated how to effectively engage with audiences as they become an ever more important “at home” media channel. Editors are adapting content across all platforms to do what magazines do best: Inform, Entertain, Educate, Enrich, Inspire as well as provide much needed escapism.  All of this from highly trusted sources….helping readers and users navigate their way through lockdown towards the new normal.

It has been an interesting month for the Magazine medium, with big news in TI MEDIA’s sale to FUTURE Publishing PLC completing, making the Company the biggest Publisher in the UK. 

However, there have also been a few casualties as BAUER announced this past week that they will sell, close or merge 10 magazines including Q and Mother & Baby.   Furthermore, the freemium brands including Stylist and Time Out (now temporarily called Time In) have moved their content online.

It is, of course, a difficult time for all Media channels but Publishers have been quick to effectively manage their distribution model to increase orders to those retailers which are open as well as engaging in marketing campaigns to successfully drive new subscribers.  Successes include:

  • TI Media subs are up 200% and Immediate Media has reported orders up 278% year on year driven by Good Food and Gardeners World and a staggering Radio Times result with 1k new subs per day 
  • The Week and The Week Junior from Dennis have seen outstanding circulation growth The Week Junior had 20,000 new annual home subscribers in 8 weeks (28% increase in circulation)!
  • Bauer has seen an increase of over 70% in the number of new subscriptions purchased online yoy. 

Reaching key Audiences through their Passion points

We know from previous research that 66% of people claim their passions help them through difficult times and whilst these passions might currently be oriented to ideas that can be carried out in confinement, the surges in demand for magazine content digitally and in print, suggests that people may be finding this truer than ever. 62% of ABC1 magazine readers said that reading their favourite magazines during “lockdown” has been helping them through it so far.  Well over a third (39%) of newsstand mag readers are considering a subscription to their favourite mags to make sure they do not miss out of them. This rises to 47% for ABC1s. (source: TI Media),

Magazine content is rooted in subjects that really matter to people, be that food, fashion or film, health or the home, and staying connected to these things you love is important right now.   Not to mention the nation’s obsession with cycling and this week Cycling Weekly is in its 9th consecutive week of traffic growth, up another 10% this week!

Hearst also continue to ensure their content is a beacon of positivity which is a mantra they have championed for some time.

The digital audience has grown exponentially for magazine brands.

Publishers have witnessed increased digital audiences, from newsletter sign-ups to video & webinar views as well as increased traffic to their websites- as audiences look to engage with trusted media brands content.

For example, Conde Nast brands have been engaging with audiences beyond the obvious print and web routes pivoting to offer IGTV Happy Hours by GQ and Glamour with fabulous celebrity guests each week, audience numbers are growing each week. Friday brings Glamour’s Lockdown Live event ticket sales raising money for charity, an incredible line up including Ellie Goulding and Jesse Ware amongst the many celebrity guests. 

Meanwhile, Hearst brought their Women’s Health event live to a virtual audience last month.  Many events will follow this format this year.

  • Ti Media recently experienced its best performance of the year across the TI Media digital portfolio. Their UK traffic is on a significant upward trend, driven by relevant, premium passion-related content, being consumed by highly engaged audiences.  Ti has reached +33% more users during May (to date) when compared to April.
  • BBC Good Food has set traffic records over the lockdown period, peaking at over 7m page view per day but generally seeing traffic up by more than double.   2.5m daily users v. an average of 1.2m pre lockdown
  • Hello! has topped 30 million UK PV’s in March & again in April 2020 – Highest ever.

Hopefully, this blog illustrates the POWER of magazine brands as an excellent in -home media- one that is non- intrusive, engaging, positive, trusted and where its quality curation is what consumers are engaging with in growing numbers.

Sue Todd, CEO of PPA’s Magnetic division, sums it up in her recent news post,

I believe magazines’ relationships with their audiences will be strengthened during this time, as brands continue to serve up highly positive content that helps people stay connected to the things that they love. “