Magazine publishers have been quick to adapt to changing events. This week we check in with Abby Carvosso, Group Managing Director, to see how Bauer is being responsive to evolving market conditions and what magazine content she’s paying attention to.
Abby: It’s a total privilege to work for the UK’s biggest magazine publisher and Europe’s no.1 radio broadcaster, leading a team of 200+ people, working across world-class influential brands such as heat, KISS, Grazia and Absolute Radio, across radio, print, digital and live events.
Our purpose every day is to give value to our advertising partners and help them to deliver on their business needs and challenges.
What that really means at the moment is that I am on teams video calls all day every day, either with customers or my team (and trying to homeschool three children… very badly!). I am totally horrified about how old I look and how irritating my facial expressions are on each call but I love getting a peep into everyone’s homes!
The last few weeks have all been about bringing the team together and establishing new ways of working with our teams internally, with our customers and with our brands. We’re working on establishing a clear commercial goal and set of objectives in light of the Covid-19 crisis, to ensure everyone is focused on the areas that will make the biggest difference to help support our customers and drive revenues. Another key activity has been developing our Thrive wellbeing programme for a new remote world, making sure that we are able to support our people, both physically and mentally.
How are your magazine brands adapting to current world events?
I am in total awe of how our hugely talented teams have been able to turn on a sixpence, move to working remotely in 48 hours and continue to create world class, relevant, informative and entertaining content and get it into the hands of our readers. It is in these circumstances that you really see the true creativity from all the teams whether the content or new ways to distribute our brands. Through direct mail, social media and a campaign in both print and on air on our Bauer radio stations, we’ve provided advice to readers on how to subscribe and get magazines delivered home, or how to access magazines digitally. The campaign has so far proven successful, and we’ve seen a 70% increase in the number of new subscriptions purchased online year on year.
At Bauer, insight is at the heart of what we do, really understanding our audiences’ needs, values and behaviours. Therefore from the moment the Covid-19 crisis started we ensured that we had totally tuned in to our audiences, through a programme of insight from our Bauer Insiders panel. In our newest research, collected between 31st March – 3rd April, readers noted that the top reasons for reading magazines whilst on lockdown were because they provided escapism, a dose of normality, connection and companionship. From at-home facials to easy recipes using cupboard ingredients, we always try to ensure that our brands deliver on all those fronts whilst also providing relevant, up-to-date news and ideas.
Which magazines are helping to distract you right now?
There have been so many brilliant magazine moments, but I am so proud of the work that the Grazia team in particular have been doing. The 31st March issue was particularly special with the four NHS frontline workers on four split covers. Reading their interviews about how they’re working during this crisis was inspiring, eye-opening and and truly humbling.
And then Grazia has been focusing on mental health, providing the best advice and tips to help readers overcome any challenges they’re currently facing in lockdown. As we know through our Where’s Your Head At? Campaign, this pandemic is going to have a massive impact on our nation’s mental health. That’s why we launched a new social campaign across our brands this week, asking people to share a selfie, how they’re feeling and encourage others to do the same, in hopes to drive awareness and remove stigma.
Another great read for me has been Empire. Whilst we’re all at home we are all consuming a lot more home entertainment than usual. Just like the 46% of respondents in our survey who mentioned they were most interested in hearing film recommendations at the moment, Empire has helped me immensely to navigate through the hundreds of titles!
Share a useful tip:
Even though we might be stuck at home, it’s important to stay fit and healthy. Country Walking want to make sure that the #Walk1000Miles Challenge isn’t over and have provided safe walking tips, ideas on how to ‘walk’ 1 mile in your living room, and have added a digital version of the handbook and progress chart online.