Niche audiences represent an opportunity to develop an invested and loyal audience for consumer magazines, according to the 18th edition of Price WaterhouseCoopers’ Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook.
The PwC report aims to provide some insight into navigating the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary Australian entertainment and media landscape across 12 segments: consumer magazines, consumer and educational books, filmed entertainment, free-to-air and subscription television, games and e-sports, internet advertising, music, newspapers, radio, out-of-home media, and internet access.
Findings relating to consumer magazines relate to analysis of Australia’s largest consumer magazines published by the likes of Bauer and Pacific Magazines. Here, the Niche Publishing Network focuses on some of the learnings relevant to smaller publications.
The report forecasts growth to come from revenue stream diversification; the strength of long-standing brands; and, the use of data and analytics to improve products and drive audience loyalty.
Niche audiences important for magazines
It states that “niche audiences continue to be important to the magazine industry”, pointing to mainstream consumer magazines that have had success in developing targeted audience engagement and additional revenue streams – such as events – by focusing on a niche group within their readership.
“[Former Bauer CEO] Paul Dykzeul has noticed that despite niche audiences representing a specialised area of interest, they form large groups of individuals who are extremely passionate compared to general readers.”Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023.
The report states that the ability to harness niche audiences relies on the use of digital platforms where real-time insights can be used to measure engagement on certain topics, and to identify areas where new readership could be generated.
And in order to do this, the report highlights innovative and adaptable staff as the key to success as publishers explore how to deliver content that resonates while experimenting with different revenue streams and business models.
“Remaining agile to changing consumer trends presents both a challenge and an opportunity, however, what will remain constant is that ‘growth will take place off the back of great brands’. Given access to these brands is not solely via print, publishers must continue their focus on transitioning from a print-centric business model, to a multifaceted, customer-centric business model that focuses on user experience and utilises analytics to generate customer insights across all platforms.”
Good news for print?
In the period from September 2017 to September 2018, more than half of Australia’s popular consumer magazines increased their print readership. PwC now expects consumer print titles to hold their readership numbers over the next five years, after a long period in decline.
The report also highlights the growth seen in free-to-consumer supermarket magazines – Coles Magazine and Woolworths’ Fresh – which increased their readership by more than 10 per cent in 2018. The report points to their powerful distribution network and existing relationships with suppliers who buy print advertising space as underpinning their success.
PwC says that there is profit to be made in print assets where there is “high-quality, exclusive content”, however, for most consumer print titles, “the ‘flattening out of top-line print revenue and growth in digital’ will be critical in the next five years”.
“Success in the magazine industry continues to depend on brands delivering the right content, at scale.”
To read the report’s coverage of all media assets, visit this article. To read the report in full, visit the PwC Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023 webpage.