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Behind the ABCs

  • Date:

    15 February 2021

Behind the ABCs

Magnetic’s Sue Todd and key magazine publishers share their views on the latest data release

Sue Todd CEO Magnetic Media
Sue Todd – CEO, Magnetic

“Today’s ABC figures for magazine brands are a reflection of the value and strength of a trusted medium. Whilst the challenges of a restricted newsstand and limited distribution channels is reflected in the headline numbers, beneath lies a more nuanced and positive story that’s important for advertisers. Publishers have adapted their content, distribution and pricing models and found new ways to monetise the highly engaged, attentive readers that have turned to magazine content during the pandemic.  

The booming subscription economy has been a growth area for magazines, with the entire market up 13% yoy. Consumers have turned to magazines for inspiration around food, fitness, gardening and even support for home schooling. This is good news for advertisers as research indicates these loyal and committed readers are more likely to respond to reviews and advertising content, but also for publishers, as it enhances the opportunity for more direct to consumer relationships.  

The data proves that in turbulent times, consumers will turn to trustworthy and reliable content for entertainment and escape. This is reflected in some strong areas of growth in actively purchased magazines, the record surge in digital editions and the huge range of magazines brands that have benefited from the increases in demand for our favourite entertaining content at our fingertips.” 

Agency media buyers review the highlights from the ABCs

Publisher CEO’s share insight into their brands:

Tom Bureau
Tom Bureau – CEO, Immediate

Immediate: “These results demonstrate the enduring appeal of Immediate’s brands, both in print and digital. Our special interest brands, in these extraordinary times, have become more important than ever to our audiences, helping them get the most out of their passions and hobbies, whether that be cooking, gardening, cycling or watching the latest streaming sensation.

In the last year we have grown our paid and premium reach across all platforms, a testament to our commitment to consistently deliver world class content and create a platform for further growth.” 

More detail on Immediate’s ABC results

Chris Duncan – CEO of UK Publishing, Bauer Media

Bauer: “These ABC results cover a period of extraordinary disruption for readers and retailers across the UK, during which we have worked tirelessly to produce and distribute great products. Across the Bauer Media UK audited range to have one in five of our titles in year-on-year growth and the overall portfolio in only single digit decline is something we should be very proud of.

We thank our readers for their extra efforts this year to get their hands on our titles despite the restrictions and hope we have played our part in keeping the nation entertained and inspired during this period. We look forward to a strong 2021 performance in all sectors as we get back to normal trading.” 

More detail on Bauer’s ABC results

James Wildman – CEO, Hearst UK

Hearst: “We are pleased to have seen a number of our brands post a robust set of figures in spite of these unprecedented times, but our business has no doubt felt the impact that Covid-19 has had on our routes to market. Whilst we continue to be encouraged by the significant increases in our magazine subscriptions and digital editions, as well as seeing newsstand trends recovering, we have particularly been affected by our dynamic distribution channels and through travel point sales. This is something which we had anticipated and were prepared for.

I continue to be exceptionally proud of the way our business has tackled the current climate and the large number of successes we recorded throughout 2020. Digitally, unique users to Hearst UK sites were up 22% year-on-year as our audiences turned to us for positive, trusted and life-affirming content. We also saw e-commerce revenues increase materially, launched many initiatives designed to super-serve the needs of our valuable clients and successfully pivoted from large-scale live events to virtual iterations.

As a truly diversified, modern media business, we remain resolutely focused on building loyal audiences and delivering premium content wherever they are in order to help them get more out of life.” 

James Tye
James Tye – CEO, Dennis

Dennis: “Our strategy is a simple one: create content that really matters to people. Whether it is providing an open and balanced view of the news agenda, helping people grow and protect their wealth, fuelling their passions or simply helping them to do their job better, what we do is valued by our readers. Dennis has been a subscription business for many years and continues to place forming a direct relationship with our customers right at the centre of our business model. Our fundamental subscriptions strength has allowed us to grow and maintain circulations during the past 12 months and as such we have declined to take the ABC Covid Exemption Certificate in order to provide full transparency.” 

More detail on Dennis Publishing’s ABC results