FIPP Award Winner: The power of magazine brands is stronger than ever

The digital era has disrupted offline media in more ways than anyone may have expected. The perception of different media is changing as a result of the changing role in consumer lives. Marketers and agencies are re-evaluating magazine media more negatively than they deserve based on the data and appreciation of readers (also read: Re-evaluation media in Belgium). 

The Dutch MMA concluded that it was high time to research the current role and unique value of magazine brands. They presented the result at MAGnify 2019 and  won a FIPP Insight Award in Texas earlier this month.

Also read: Nancy Detrixhe, MMA:”“Met magazines bepaal je zelf je eigen algoritme”

The role of magazine brands

In the current media landscape, magazines have transformed to magazine brands with a range of offline and online channels. The main questions of the research was: what is the strength of magazine brands in the current turbulent media landscape? How is consumption changed? What is the value and relevance of magazine brands in comparison with other media?

The research includes a qualitative and quantitative part. By using an online community –  an interactive platform – the idea was to get an in depth look at the motivations and associations of consumers to different media (internet, tv, radio, books, social media) and especially magazine brands. For the quantitative approach, MMA used the outcomes of the online community to quantify results in general and per magazine categories. The results were used for promotional purposes.

Summary of the main results:

88% say that magazines are indispensable!

The unique value of magazine brands

…lies in the individual character of reading a magazine. A magazine moment is a special moment for readers. Readers fully recharge themselves (relaxation, time out, digital detox). No other medium gives that feeling. These moments are very important, valuable and needed. So in the digital age, the strength of magazines hasn’t changed. The function of relaxation/me time has always been an important strength of magazines, but the research learned that this strength is even more powerful than ever.

With magazines you determine your own algorithm.

The research showed that the reading experience is a very important part, not to be underestimated. The reading experience is very intense and the fact that you can determine when, how, where to read is a big advantage in comparison with other media. Other media are often consumed linear or there is a lot of negative diversion and interruptions. That’s not the case with magazines

Magazines give readers satisfaction

Magazine readers believe there is a good balance between time spent and the gain from it. Magazines give you the feeling that you’re up to date and that you haven’t missed anything (because there is a beginning and an end). Internet gives a lot of information but it never stops, so the feeling that you miss things is bigger here.

Young people appreciate offline moment

Young people appreciate the strengths of magazines as mentioned above, in part even more than older target groups. (Also read: Print is terug van nooit weggeweest). Having an offline moment without any interruption is an important motivation for young people for reading magazines. (Press Pause: read more here)

Shift to online channels

‘Passive’ ways of following magazine brands. like online, social, turn out to be important triggers for people to connect with magazine brands (offline and online). Online channels of magazine brands make the brands more visible and more accessible. Readers follow their favorite brands often in more passive ways like social media and newsletters. The reasons for more ‘active’ ways of following a magazine brand (like website visit) are mostly information and inspiration.

Big Mag - use of social media - app- website

Different functions for different channels

In general online channels fulfill the need for readers to stay up-to-date in real time. Social channels are also consumed to fight boredom (like waiting room and commuting moments). Print magazines are a relaxation and me-time/quality time medium. The combination of the offline and online channels make magazine brands attractive.

Big Mag - different media different roles

Magazine advertising is no mood killer

82% has the opinion that advertising belongs to the content of magazines. In other media advertising is perceived as interrupting. This result confirms results from other studies.

The next step for the MMA is to use the insights from the research to develop a campaign for the promotion of magazine brands in the Netherlands in 202o.

Related articles: 

More information about the research method

The study involves all channels of magazine brands. 

An online community: an interactive platform especially developed for this research where 135 respondents conducted several exercises to get in depth insights from consumers about the power and value of magazine brands. The community offers a lot of space for creativity and discussion, for example uploading of photos and videos, quotes. Goal is to expose the subconscious and collect deep insights of the consumption of magazine content, changes in consumption of magazine media, the role and value of magazines compared to other mediatypes, imaging of magazines and magazine platforms (online, social). Fieldwork from 8-19 April 2019

Online panel survey: 1,007 respondents have been questioned. In this part of the study results of the online community were quantified and further deepened. The quantitative part of the survey is also important for promotional purposes. Fieldwork from 6-14 May.

Target group for both studies: male/female, 18-65 years, all consume once or more times in a month magazine media (offline and/or online), spread over different magazine categories.