Overall, the audience across all platforms – print, web, mobile and video – grew 4.4 per cent from 1.68bn in October 2014 to 1.75bn this October. Today, print and digital editions attract 53 per cent of readers, down from 60 per cent at the same time last year with the mobile audience growing strongly to 27 per cent, up from 19 per cent last October. The video audience grew modestly from 3 per cent to 4 per cent this October. While these numbers reflect the market in October, they are pretty indicative of the state of reader preferences throughout 2015 and there is every reason to believe, that next year, these trends will continue.
NYLON, the multi-platform media company and magazine which focuses on pop culture and fashion, led the Top 10 Total Brand Audience ranking for the third month in a row, growing 226 per cent vs October last year. In September, growth was 145 per cent and in August, 214 per cent.
NYLON far outperformed the second ranked Domino, whose total brand audience only grew 73 per cent relative to last October. NYLON’s total brand audience was is 4.3m in October. ESPN The Magazine remains the largest publication with a total brand audience in October of 112.5m followed by People with 80.5m.
This growth at NYLON comes in spite of some dramatic recent changes, including merging with FashionIndie, being sold to Diversis LLC and Backbone LLC, laying off 13 staffers and ending with the November departure of Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee who is taking over the reins at Allure Magazine. Melissa Giannini has replaced Michelle Lee as editor-in-chief who has been with NYLON for three years after stints at Spin and Martha Stewart Living.
A big contributor to the growth the overall brand audience comes from a 276 per cent growth in NYLON’s web audience in October relative to last year. This is not surprising considering that the company is heavily committed to their multi-platform approach to production. In September, nylon.com attracted 4.2m organic unique visitors, up from 500,000 a year ago. In spite of this growth, the print magazine continues to be a focus as well as editorial-driven native and branded content across all platforms.
The October rankings also reveal that print magazines continue to enjoy modest growth relative to digital versions with Vegetarian Times topping the growth list for the second time in two months with 36 per cent year-over-year growth in October and September. This could be attributed to the growth in the number of Americans following a vegetarian diet (7.3m people) or a vegetarian-oriented diet (22.8m people). The print version of New York Magazine with a circulation of 2.06m was close behind with 35 per cent growth versus September and October last year.
In the Web category, seven of the top ten publications saw triple digit growth versus October 2014. Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi, and digital creative director, Dirk Standen, W Magazine moved up from fifth position in September to take the top spot in October with a whopping growth of 420 per cent. This is not surprising considering the magazine’s digital business is up more than 42 per cent and their social media footprint is up more than 52 per cent since last September. According to AMM’s June 2010- 2015 statement, their digital edition single copy and subscriptions continue to grow more than 9 per cent year-over-year. This is a notable achievement considering that in April, the online version of the magazine did not have enough readers to meet comScore’s minimum reporting requirements.
All ten of the top ranked magazines saw tripled digit growth in their mobile access in October. This is in keeping with the growing trend that magazine audiences wants easier, faster access to content that doesn’t require flipping through pages, whether print or digital. As it approaches its 170th anniversary, Town and Country Magazine shows it is still relevant by dominating the Mobile Web category with growth of 420 per cent in October. Changes in the air at the magazine include a new logo that will grace the cover of the January edition as well as a digital archive which will be available only to magazine subscribers. Readers are also flocking to mobile editions offered by Domino and Marie Claire whose audience grew by 385 per cent and 318 per cent respectively in October.
A 2015 study conducted by YuMe and Digiday found that 84 per cent of publishers believe video is vital to their publication’s future success. One publication taking this to heart is hunting and fishing orientated lifestyle magazine, Outdoor Life, which made the best strides in increasing the size of its video audience. In October, its video audience grew a massive 6486 per cent to 1.45m. Videos on the site run the gamut from ‘Sanctuaries: The key to hunting mature deer’ to ’The hunt for my 10th ram’.
Video is becoming an increasingly important part of the content offered on cosmopolitan.com and the other Hearst magazine properties. Over the past few years, Hearst invested US$300m into digital video platforms, including stakes in video-intensive news site BuzzFeed, hardware company Roku, teen-focused YouTube channel AwesomenessTV, and video news site Vice Media. Hearst is also investing $21m for a minority share in Complex, a network of pop culture websites.
In 2014, Cosmopolitan launched Cosmobody.com, a subscription based fitness site at $9.99 per month. At this end of this year, content will be transferred to Youtube and can be accessed for free. This appears to align with a more video-intensive approach on cosmopolitan.com which saw more than a 2,000 per cent increase in their year-over-year video audience in October.
Perhaps one of the key takeaways from the report is that, today success requires excellence across all platforms as readers embrace a range of consumption models. ESPN The Magazine is a case in point. The publication dominates with 15.7m readers of its print magazine, 27.7m online readers, 54.9m mobile readers and 14.2m video viewers.
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