Saturday, 28 January 2017

MAGAZINE audience research - get the advertiser profiles!

Just above this caption you'll see 'Media Pack' - this is for advertisers, detailing the readership of the magazine (Conde Nast Britain)

Most magazines take in more revenue from advertising than from the cover price (from which, don't forget, distributors and retailers get their cut!).

In a very real sense, if you go out and buy a magazine, you're not buying anything ... you're being sold to advertisers!
Giant multinational conglomerate Time Inc. UK boast to advertisers of their music mag Uncut readership's spending habits

At A-Level we look at theories such as Noam Chomsky's 'propaganda model' which argues advertisers play a highly ideological role in the media industry, acting as a 'filter' to keep out radical ideas that might threaten the rich and powerful.
Part of Dennis Publishing's blurb on 1 of their many titles

For GCSE, just be aware that they play a key role in magazine branding: every title is seeking to attract an audience that will appeal to certain advertisers. This might be niche (narrow, specific, highly selective) or mainstream (broad, general) but the bottom line is that advertisers will not risk wasting valuable resources paying for space in a magazine that doesn't fit their customer profile. They MUST know who they'll be reaching with their ads - the age range, gender and income levels at a minimum.
Part of Haymarket Media's advertiser pitch for glossy footie mag FourFourTwo

Therefore, magazine publishers are under pressure to provide detailed information, including demographic data (the % of readers within categories such as age, gender, income) to advertisers. This can often be found on the main websites of publishers, and accessing some examples should help you make your own audience analysis much more sophisticated.
Bauer, one of the leading UK publishers, provides advertisers with an interactive tool to match their needs to magazine brands!
Just a few of the many magazine brands owned by Time Inc. UK

To find these you need to know who the major magazine publishers are. In the UK, the focus for this blog, these change over time as there are mergers, closures and launches of new titles and categories too, but at the time of writing that includes (with examples of their publications):

Future (MacFormat, PC Gamer - here's a full list)

Bauer UK (Empire, Grazia, Kerrang! - audience finder; case studies)

Conde Nast Britain (Vogue, GQ - here's the GQ Media Pack)

DC Thomson (WWE Kids Magazine, Shout - Shout [girls mag] Media Pack - scroll to the bottom of main site for full list of titles)

Dennis Publishing (Cyclist, Cross Stitcher, PC Pro)

Haymarket Media Group (Autocar, FourFourTwo, Senior Living)

Hearst Magazines UK (Good Living, Hello, Cosmopolitan, Inside Soap - rate card for Elle)

Time Inc. UK (NME, Golf Monthly, Yachting World, Women's Weekly)

Find more magazines by using online shops such as this.

MAGAZINE the key steps to a good cover

You need to clearly evidence engagement with the KEY CONCEPTS of Media Language and Audience. That means knowing the technical terms, understanding design conventions, and how each media language decision can impact on the likely target audience. This is a task about branding, and the media language choices that enables an institution a specific target audience that can be sold to advertisers! In a declining market suffering from digital disruption, with plenty of titles closing or going web-only, the 'migration' of ad revenue to online (especially Google and Facebook) is a massive blow for the magazine industry.

There are many terms to learn, from straplines to masthead to hyperbole ... you need to be able to apply the correct, accurate industry label to each of these common elements of cover design.

Throughout your Media Studies journey you'll be asked to research existing examples to learn industry conventions before constructing your own. You need to learn how media language choices are made to target different audiences.

Gather details of what magazines are available (we will focus on the UK market) in print of a magazine sector you think you would like to focus on for your own production. That might be music (if so, any specific genre?), fashion (men's, women's, girls?), technology (gaming - which console/platform?; futurism; general computing - or Windows, Mac, Linux...), consumer/lifestyle (homes, holidays, boats...), celebrity (usually considered women's magazines), film/TV (genre, time period...), sports/hobbies ... there are magazines covering most things you can think of.

See what ideas these examples give you - you might decide it does not seem such a good choice after all!

You should by now have an idea of what type of magazine you will work on, so should pick two from your sector. You need to carefully and accurately apply a wide range of relevant terms. You also need to use the full range of audience terms, and engage with any theories that help to explain how audiences make their choices.


MAGAZINES Institution - how digital disruption is transforming the print industry

You can find details of the many closures with a simple google.

Every media industry has faced massive, often brutal, change as a result of digitisation. New forms of distribution are transforming ways of operating, with new names like Spotify and Netflix rising to threaten the old, established giants.

The term used to describe this phenomenon and process is disruption, or digital disruption - the smooth ways of doing business have been challenged, changed ... disrupted.
INDUSTRY AWARENESSBecause of the challenge of digitisation (young people preferring screens to print, and advertisers moving online, taking their money away from magazines), many titles have closed recently, unable to survive the double whammy of falling circulation (sales) and loss of advertising revenue*If you really can't find current, ongoing titles, then you can use titles that were published during this current decade.       *magazines generally rely more on advertiser fees than the cover price to make money!

The story seems simple: digitisation means that print magazines are doomed - but there is, possibly, one exception - luxury magazines ... [article link]