Singapore association conference highlights latest trends in magazine media

The conference began with Gilles Demptos, director (Asia) of WAN-IFRA, The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, who shared the emerging trends in news media and explained their relevance to magazine publishers.

News media trends

An important observation was that from 2009-2013, newspapers around the world faced a 13 per cent decrease in print advertising revenue, while digital advertising sales increased 47 per cent increase over these same five years. However, this is a concern as the increase in digital revenue is unable to cover the shortfall in digital revenue. Specifically, for every US$1 gained in digital, $7 is lost in print revenue.

Another narrative is the rise of mobile in publishing. This in turn gives rise to a whole new set of factors to consider. These include fast, accurate publication of content, the short life span of mobile content, the need to have a rethink on visuals and lengthy articles (400–800 words) being unsuitable for a mobile first paradigm. All points are relevant to magazine publishers as well, though magazine content on mobile is less time sensitive and thus has a longer life span.  

Upcoming themes in magazine publishing

Chris Llewellyn, president and CEO of FIPP, highlighted 10 themes in magazine publishing to look out for in 2015.

1. Magazines ≠ not only print anymore

This is especially relevant in today’s mobile first age, and ties in with Gilles’ observation in news media about declining print and increasing digital revenue.

2. See the future; think millennial (and beyond)

The tastes of the millennial generation are unique and ever changing. In fact, many editorial staff around their world are grappling with changing their writing styles. Magazine publishers need to be aligned in order to stay relevant. What has managed to capture their imagination? Buzzfeed and Grumpy Cat are good examples.

3. Audiences dictate distribution

The attention spans of millennials are relatively short. Instead of seminal pieces, magazine publishers can do well to tailor their content in easily digestible bite-sized nuggets.

4. Content is your trump card

Thought multiple platform formats exist, at the end of the day, content is still king.

5. Authenticity and the role of the brand

More and more information channels exist, all competing for attention. The media brand is the key differentiating factor.

6. We are mobile, social and visual

Adopting a mobile first format is the way to go. No two ways about it. In addition, online video consumption is increase. Much of it is, on mobile.

7. Key advertising trends

eMarketer predicts that by 2016, mobile advertising will finally exceed other digital formats. According to Shareaholic (April 2014) native ads are viewed 53 per cent more than banner ads. These findings are reinforced by Triplelift/eMarketer, (Dec 2014), which reported that native advertising delivers six times the conversion rates of banner ads.

8. Diversifying revenue streams

Media companies are still experimenting on paid content to diversify their revenue streams. This ranges to erecting a paywall on ones site or relying on digital magazine platforms like Magzter.

9. A word about print

Magazines are not about to die anytime soon. In the US alone, there were 847 print launches. However, publishers have to embrace that fact the digital paradigm, in particular mobile is here to stay.

10. Organisational DNA

With a drastically new operating environment, magazine publishers should examine their organisational cultures. The new media paradigm requires around-the-clock content, as consumers want what they want, when they want it, on whichever platform is most convenient.

The bottom-line – what are advertisers actually looking for?

Knowing upcoming magazine themes in isolation is not as holistic as understanding the point of view of the advertiser. Chloe Neo, managing partner of OMD Singapore shared some perspectives based on her work at OMD, one of the world’s largest media planning agencies.

Some key takeaways from her session included despite all the hype on digitalisation, tradition media is still at the forefront. While it has shown a decline in terms of eyeballs over the past years, they still command a sizeable reach.

However, marketers are slowly seeking alternative media solutions to help them get noticed in an increasingly fragmented world. They are currently adopting a mobile first approach when considering their media buys, with an even greater emphasis on the tracking the buyers’ journey. This focus underpins the shifting from an advertising-centric to consumer-centric content marketing approach.

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