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Passions prevail as UK demand for special interest titles rises in ABC latest

  • Date:

    25 February 2022

Passions prevail as UK demand for special interest titles rises in ABC latest

Magazine media in good health as subscriptions soar and consumers continue to connect to trusted content writes Sue Todd, CEO Magnetic

Data released by the ABC this February lets us fully analyse the market for the first time since the start of the pandemic. It reveals a positive story for our sector, one that will be encouraging to publishers and important to advertisers.

As with many lockdown trends, I wondered if immersing ourselves in our passions would remain as prevalent once the myriad of possible ways to spend our time was widened once again.

Would banana bread keep us busy once bars bounced back? Could we keep up our new enthusiasm for fitness and enjoying the great outdoors between zoom calls? In short, would the demand for magazine media’s trusted content serving the many specialist communities, continue?

Well, the answer in short is hell, yes.

These latest ABCs highlight content areas that are showing continued growth that started even before the pandemic. As consumers have become more mindful of sustainability and re-valuated how they want to live their lives, they have turned to intentional activities, embracing pursuits that are more soothing in nature, such as being outdoors – gardening or walking, seeking inspiration around cooking, the home and reading.

And when we weren’t at home/work in 2021, it is likely we were on holiday somewhere in the UK as, despite relaxation of international travel rules, many opted to stay in this country for their breaks. This was demonstrated through a rise in readership of titles around camping and caravan ownership.

The increasing focus on our mental health has seen activities connected to our passions used as a coping strategy during a time of uncertainty and this need shows no signs of abating.

This intentional consumption reflects what consumers are passionate about, and this is great news for advertisers.

The immersive nature of magazine media means the advertising experience feels non interruptive and relevant, something that was shown in a recent piece of work we did with Blink Consulting called ‘Harnessing Intentional Attention’.

Beyond passions, the broader trend seen in these latest ABC numbers is the continued demand for regular content, as subscriptions continue to rise.  

In February 2021, we highlighted that the subscription economy was in particularly good shape growing 13% year-on-year. This trend has continued with 84% of titles who shared their subs data, reporting growth and the combined increase across these titles was 9%.

It’s clear from the numbers, that the effort by publishers on marketing their content and retaining readers when retail was restricted, has paid off. Strong engagement combined with enhanced first party data and the opportunity to engage on multiple channels is positive news for advertisers.

An area that is expanding exponentially for publishers is the trend in favour of digital magazine formats, shown by 85% of titles recording increases, and of those, the average rise was an impressive 21% year-on-year.

And let’s not ignore the 54% of magazine titles showing increases in actively purchased copies too.

These latest ABC figures reflect the value magazine media still retains as a trusted medium and they signal clearly how future-proofed and sustainable the sector is. Magazine media is in a robust place and the pivots we’ve been seeing in recent years are being borne out strongly in this data, delivering growth for both publishers and importantly, for our advertising partners.

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