Paid and Non-Paid Magazine Distribution Yields Similar Ad Action Response

by , Sep 27, 2006, 3:00 AM
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Paid and Non-Paid Magazine Distribution Yields Similar Ad Action Response

The Value of Magazine Readership study, from the Magazine Publishers of America, suggests that many assumptions may not be accurate about the connection between consumers' reaction to magazine advertising and the price paid and circulation source for the magazines that they read. This report shows that:

  • Price paid and circulation source do not predict reader engagement or demographics
  • Differences in the ways subscribers, newsstand buyers and public place readers respond to magazines and to the advertising in them are often insignificant
  • Public place copies generate significant advertising exposure opportunities, often to readers with desirable demographic characteristics

Debbie Solomon Senior Partner, Group Research Director, MindShare, said "What is important is how the reader reads the magazine, not how they obtained the copy or the price they paid..."

The analysis of MRI data by DJG Marketing, and, and Waiting Room Subscription Services shows that in 2006 approximately one-fourth of magazine reading is done in public places, up from 16% in 1996. Rick Jones, of DJG Marketing, notes that "Public place copies are individually addressed and strategically targeted to specific locations. They are third-party auditable copies with proven readership value for the advertiser."

Their research found that "Public place distribution can and frequently does enable advertisers to reach a larger body of readers who are involved, demographically qualified and responsive to their advertising message."

Estimated Readers Per Copy Generated by Public Place and Newsstand Copies

Newsstand

Public Place

Factor (Public Place/Newsstand)

Total Readers (per copy)

4.0

30.0

7.5

Adults HHI $50,000+

2.4

16.0

6.7

Adults HHI $75,000+

1.6

10.0

6.2

Professional/Managerial

1.3

7.9

6.1

Women 25-54, HHI $50K+, Any College

1.2

8.3

6.9

Source: Condé Nast research incorporating MRI data, 2003

Factor (Public Place/Newsstand) is the multiple of readers per copy that public place copies offer as compared to newsstand copies. For example, among total readers in the titles studied, public place readers per copy are 7.5 times those of newsstand buyers.

McPheters & Company conducted a study in which the subscriber base of multiple magazines was anonymously matched with the base of MRI respondents. According to Rebecca McPheters, who led the analysis, "The price paid by a subscriber for a particular magazine does not predict the quality of the reader nor is reader quality determined by the method by which a reader acquires a magazine. Quality is a function of reader characteristics..."

Reader Demographic Indices by Circulation Source

Demographic

Subscriber Paid Less Than Average Net Price

Subscriber Paid More Than Average Net Price

Bought Direct from Publisher

Did Not Buy Direct from Publisher

College Degree+

102

98

106

93

Employed Full-Time

99

101

102

102

Professional/Managerial

101

100

106

98

Any Children in Household

94

106

91

113

Sources: McPheters & Company analysis of MRI Doublebases 2003, 2004 and magazine proprietary circulation data.

Reader Involvement Indices by Circulation Source

Demographic

Subscriber Paid Less Than Average Net Price

Subscriber Paid More Than Average Net Price

Bought Direct from Publisher

Did Not Buy Direct from Publisher

Average Page Exposure

99

100

105

95

Average Publication Rating Score

100

99

103

97

Interest in Advertising

100

99

104

96

Frequency of Reading

100

101

101

97

Sources: McPheters & Company analysis of MRI Doublebases 2003, 2004 and magazine proprietary circulation data.

Mediaedge:cia and Time Inc. conducted a study of six magazines in January 2006 to gain insight into the role and value of magazines in public places and to examine how the source of a copy impacts how people read magazines. The study yielded numerous insights into public place readership, including:

  • Reading magazines is the most commonly cited activity in each and every type of public place analyzed (doctor's office, barber shop, business reception, etc.) except for libraries, where it is second to reading books
  • Readers revealed a strong emotional connection with public place copies. For example, almost all or 95% of public place readers report that they would be "upset, underserved or bored" if no magazines were available in public places
  • Though readers spend less time with public place copies than paid copies, the time spent with public place is more focused. 71 of nonpaid readers read public copies with time devoted to just reading, which exceeds 66% of readers of paid copies
  • While 54% of readers are doing other things while reading paid copies, only one-third, or 34%, are multitasking while reading nonpaid copies.

Tom Robinson, Managing Director, Affinity Research LLC, noted: "Based on interviews with more than 60,000 magazine readers in 2006, on average, more than half took or plan to take action as a direct result of exposure to specific print ads. Reader action levels were similar for both paid and nonpaid readers."

Actions Taken in Response to Advertising

Paid

Nonpaid

Consider purchasing the product or service

20%

18%

More favorable opinion about the advertiser

13

11

Gather more information about product or service

2

11

Visit advertiser's website

10

10

Purchase the product or service

8

7

Visit a store, dealer or other location

8

7

Save the ad for reference

6

5

Recommend the product or service

5

5

Some other action

4

5

Took any action (net)

52%

51%

Source: Affinity's VISTA Print Effectiveness Rating Service

Base: Actions taken based on respondents recalling specific ads, multiple responses.

For more information about the value of magazine readership, please access this PDF file.

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