There’s a distinct trend taking place in the so-called ‘men’s’ magazine market. While magazines touted as being aimed at men, such as FHM, are taking a major knock, those that were once regarded as ‘niche’ are kicking butt. The latest ABC figures show Stuff magazine leaping out of its box and straight into mainstream, with its latest audited figures putting the tech mag at 25 800.
Stuff has increased its circulation each year, even when most magazine sales were in decline. In ABC figures for the first half of 2012, Stuff has broken the 25 000 mark with its year-on-year increase from 23 215 copies to 25 811. That’s an 11.18% increase, in a period when some established men’s titles have dropped circulation significantly.
“Circulation of over 25 000 shows that Stuff is not a niche publication,” says editor Toby Shapshak. “Technology isn’t niche. Almost every single South African consumer buys it and uses it. And Stuff has become established as the authoritative voice on consumer technology. We know our readership and they trust us.”
TheMediaOnline asked Shapshak to unpack the reason’s for Stuff’s success in a tough market.
– Incredible growth in tough times. Who are these readers who have taken Stuff over 25 000 and why are they buying the magazine, according to your research?
Target audience is LSM 8-10, household income R30 000+, aged 20-44, male skewed, all race groups. For this core readership, gadgets are an important interest and an expression of personal style, according to Stuff UK research.
– Looking at you growth rate, do you see it continuing? How high can this circ go?
Readership will extend well beyond this core audience. All cellphone buyers, for example, will find a trusted list of Top 10 Cellphones useful. Even non-buyers such as lower-LSM school learners enjoy being knowledgeable about the latest cellphones and MP3s.
– What is the breakdown between male and female readers? (Girls also like tech buy does that follow through to gadgets?)
Readership split roughly 70/30
– Has advertising kept pace with the growth in readers? Taken a hit at all during recession?
From 2010/11 fiscal to 2011/12 fiscal Stuff virtually doubled its ad income. We conservatively expect to end the current fiscal 20% up on 2011/12.
– Have you upped your ad rates or kept them consistent over these times?
Minimal increase – from R23 000 a page last year to R24 850 this year, despite roughly 30% readership increase.
– How is the SA title faring compared to the international titles? Are they all growing?
The UK edition is pretty stable; international / franchisee editions are showing growth, though can’t give you figures. SA’s is among the leaders, with consistent strong growth throughout a global economic downturn.