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New magazine figures again improve transparency

Earlier this year we blogged, as so many public relations agencies do, about changes to the ABC– that’s the body responsible for collating and analysing circulation figures of UK print magazines and newspapers. We welcomed the revised system, which separates weekday and weekend editions, mainly because, from a marketing and advertising perspective, this means more clarity.
The point being we have a far better idea of potential reach and impact now, compared with 12 months ago. As such we were delighted at the news, on Brand Republic yesterday, that some of the country’s biggest and longest-established magazines are now separating print from online figures, meaning anyone with an interest in press and publicity can get a comprehensive overview as to which portal- real world or digital- is the best target for any campaign.
The much-maligned NME, once the greatest music title in Britain, provides a useful case in point. Year-on-year circulation losses mean the weekly publication is currently picked up by 23,924 people. But, when the associated website is taken into account, the monthly reach sees the 809,000 print readers jump to a significantly larger 1.42million. A huge difference that, until recently, was a common assumption, with little concrete evidence.
Elsewhere FHM added 29% on to its 892,000 print readers with its online presence, although many titles show less of a divide. Grazia, for example, only increases its statistics by 7% when the web is taken into account. But the numbers are irrelevant, at least in the context of this blog, because what matters is that this information is now common knowledge, which can only be a good thing.
Of course there are some other interesting points to note from this. For instance; why do most magazines seem to struggle attracting readers to consume both digital and print content (people seem to prefer one or the other)? And the value of an online audience is still the subject of huge debate between advertising buyers and sellers. Let’s save these quagmires for another time though, and enjoy the knowledge afforded by increased knowledge.

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