Magnetic, the trade body for consumer magazines in the UK, has been working with Enders Analysis on research that will be published this Autumn, although Mediatel has had a sneak preview of the main message.
Rather like the Newsworks' mantra that quality newspapers are a cut above the rest of the internet and deliver advertisers an improved ROI, Magnetic is starting out with a message that magazines are too easily overlooked by media planners and buyers.
According to Enders Analysis, demand for passion-based content is on the up and there are sound economic reasons to explain why. Namely, in the past five years, consumer spend on passions and hobbies has gone up around GBP60 per household per week. However, other forms of consumer spending are, at best, flat-lining. The researchers also claim that nearly half of our spare time is spent consuming media and the other half doing the things we like to do.
So, although there are not any hard and fast figures to offer yet -- the research is to be published in the Autumn -- the takeout is that magazine advertising should be better supported. We are talking here about those cycling, cooking, music, fitness, travel and gardening titles, to name just a few, which consumers turn to for advice on how to get better at a hobby and which products they might enjoy using.
However, it is also those magazines that are generally seen with a negative growth sign next to them in any rundown of ad spend comparing one year to another. The figure varies according to the year and who has conducted the research, but it typically points to around a 10% loss each year, if not sometimes more.
The takeout for adland, then, is it should be tapping into these specialist titles rather than dialing down spend. At the same time, the pointer for the future suggests the magazine industry is not going to take its apparent fate lying down. Like the newspaper industry, it is going to campaign hard to point out its content is a cut above what advertisers might be spending to appear against and it deserves more attention, and most definitely more spend.
The fightback has only been in newspapers to date, I think we're getting a signal the entire print industry is getting ready to fight its corner and prove to advertisers that not all content is created equal. It's an encouraging sign that print, and associated online sites, will not go quietly into the grave but will instead fight the corner of quality journalism.