Gimme Shelter: The Involvement Data

As the success of magazines like Real Simple shows, cocooning has taken on the aura of a business opportunity. Life is more complex, frenetic and unpredictable than ever before, demographers tell us, so American are concentrating on home and family. That means a need more do-it-yourself decorating information, lifestyle features and advertising that fits well within that mix. It's a recipe for opportunity if you're a shelter magazine. And the category has been growing despite a fiercely competitive situation this year.

To try and define the shelter titles that most capture the attention of their readers, we took 17 titles that routinely show up on planners' screens when home is the topic. We measured them against the Involvement Index. Publications were measured and ranked on their ability to connect with homeowners. The new Involvement Index formula, created as the result of the 2003 Knowledge Networks study-which correlated high reader involvement with high ad recall-was applied to data from the spring 2003 MRI report. The new, validated formula, uses three MRI involvement measures: The average frequency of reading score counts 51%, while the balance is split between average reading minutes (25%) and average rating or preference score (24%).



To round out the planner's-eye view, we included each magazine's composition (the percentage of homeowners) and corresponding index. The Involvement Index is calculated based on all magazines tracked by MRI. Interestingly enough, while the Knowledge Networks study linked high reader involvement to high ad recall, this analysis shows that measuring magazines by composition and involvement highlights connection and recall opportunities that might be obscured by a focus on audience composition alone.

Home Connection

Higher reader involvement yields higher ad recall. Chart compares 17 shelter titles on the basis of involvement and composition among homeowners.

RankPublicationInvolvement IndexComposition IndexRank
1The Family Handyman1261172
3Southern Living1131156
4Traditional Home1081148
5Country Living1061155
6Architectural Digest10610913
7Better Homes and Gardens10511012
8This Old House10511111
9 Real Simple10510116
10Country Home1031147
11House Beautiful10311110
12Martha Stewart Living9810414
13House & Garden971139
14Midwest Living971181
15 Home9510017
16Southern Accents941173
17Metropolitan Home8810215
source: MRI Spring 2003
Index of 100=average of all MRI-measured magazines
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