prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Manipulating Magazine Metrics

Posted by prof e on March 17, 2008

The average American household spends about $10 per month on magazine subscriptions. The average number of subscriptions per household is 6 magazines, and the average subscriber spends about 45 minutes with each magazine. (I know that’s a lot of averages…but hang with me.) On average, monthly magazines have a longer shelf-life than weeklies, and both stay around the house longer than daily publications, e.g., a daily newspaper. My personal experience seems to support these data…we subscribe to 5 or 6 magazines and I pick up a newsstand copy now and then. From time to time I also pick up and read magazines in public places–e.g. my dentist’s office. From the look of some of them they have been read by quite a few equally bored patients.

Most magazines are about 50% editorial content and 50% advertisements. And like nearly all mass media, magazines live or die on advertising revenue. So it should be no surprise that publishers want to know who’s reading and to what extent the magazine’s ads are engaging the reader. Just recently the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) announced that they want to measure their audience by total readers, not just paid circulation. According to the MPA, magazines are “passed along” to other readers and these readers should count. Translation: advertisers should be paying for the privilege of reaching all the readers. According to their press release, the MPA also wants to provide more detail about issue-by-issue demographic data, advertisement engagement data, and,”consumer action as a result of the ad.”

But convincing advertisers that print magazines are such a good deal that they ought to be willing to pay for the secondary audience may be a tough sell. One thing is clear–print publications are trying to hold onto their audiences and prove their relevancy in a time of media upheaval. These latest measures may signal a desperate attempt to slow the hemorrhaging.


3 Responses to “Manipulating Magazine Metrics”

  1. amanda spicola said

    Since magazines are half advertising, and half editorial, by the time the magazine gets passed around, most of the advertisements will be gone. If there is a coupon or a perfume sample, the person who originally purchased the magazine will have ripped that page out of the magazine. (all women know this is a true fact) I do realize that circulation of a magazine and readership are related, but not the same. But circulation can bring NEW readers to the magazine, and maybe that person will subscribe. That is where you make the money.
    I think it is a bad idea to charge people more for subscriptions because the circulation of their magazine is high. I think these people are doing you a favor actually. Now the Pueblo Chieftain has 2.6 readers per news paper, but they don’t raise the cost of a subscription, and they have a successful advertising strategy.

  2. Rachel Espinoza said

    It doesn’t make sense for people to charge more for a subscription because the circulation is high. I think the more circulation there is the better because that means more people are reading that magazine and buying it.

  3. Bilal Carter said

    Magazines are another past time and are relatively good ones. They are putting up the prices on the advertisements in the magazines because magazines are a form of media that has a high shelf life. They are recycled over and over just like a movie or something but those prices aren’t going up because the previews are also viewed by many people. As the number of people who view these magazines increase, the more exposure that they get and are not sure if they should be charged for such incidents. If they increase the price the less customer they will get, which mean the less advertisements that will be in the ads and magazines will flop just like news papers are doing now.

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