At an event hosted by Media24, Sarah Bovim and Bridget Baalbergen, co-founders and partners at b2 Strategic Marketing revealed the results of their latest research into magazine consumption habits. Michael Bratt attended the event and spoke to the two to find out more about the results, some of which were surprising.
The main point that came out of the research is that print magazines are still a constant in people’s lives. The one quote that constantly came up with all the respondents was, “Magazines make my day.” This, despite the fact that daily media consumption is vastly different from two years ago. Technological advancements have led to the situation where news is drip fed constantly throughout the day, with it being more personalised. People are now able to choose what to read or watch when and where they want to.
The research also explored whether magazines are viewed as a luxury or a necessity. While the women respondents tended to view them as a luxury purchase, men labelled them as a necessity. Weekly magazines such as YOU, Huisgenoot and DRUM were branded as a necessity due to their news as well as being a luxury. Ultimately the term that was created to answer the question was magazines are an “indulgent necessity”. People can’t do without them but view them as a luxury.
The respondents were also asked the reasons for why they read magazines. The main ones were to relax with some alone time, to keep up to date with news and products, to educate, to inspire, and to motivate. Another trend that the research unveiled was that people share their magazines with their friends and family, but only after ensuring that they get their full fill.
Bovim says this is a very important factor as it opens up the debate of circulation numbers versus actual readers, as even though only one person bought the magazine, it ends up having many more readers. When asked to describe the relationship they have with their magazines, the respondents came up with many different answers including friend, mentor, adviser, personal trainer, and confidant. It was also found that women tend to have a mushy, sentimental relationship with their magazines. The research also touched on the sensory experience that people have when they are interacting with their magazines. The touch, sight, smell and sound are all very important.
Another reason that the respondents cited for sticking with magazines is that they view the information contained in them as more trustworthy and credible, than online content. They say that having an editor who looks through all the information is vitally important to them. They also tend to view advertisements in the same way. Contrary to the belief that if adverts were missing from a publication nobody would miss them, the respondents said the adverts are just as important as the content.
They also said they are trustworthy and reliable as they believe an editor has specifically picked them to include in the publication and have faith that the editor believes the products are of a good quality and high standard. The respondents described adverts as credible, inspirational, effective and inspiring. The general consensus is “Relevant magazine advertising adds to the value of the magazine and it would be missed if it wasn’t there.”
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