Thursday, October 21, 2010

Connecting with Magazines: The "Brand Bond"

by Andrea Cubala

Our increasingly online world and its effects on publishing is a hot topic these days—perhaps even cliché—but something I’ve been pondering nonetheless. Due to the online presence of magazines, virtually every magazine issue can be accessed via internet. If readers can browse their favourite magazines onscreen, isn’t it safe to assume that print readership should be suffering? Not quite. The Print Measurement Bureau (PMB) recently released their fall report, and the news is positive: the “average readership across all magazines remains stable at 1.02 million.” In fact, not much has changed in the past year. The following averages have remained consistent:

  • number of readers per copy
  • time spent reading magazines
  • level of interest

The internet and social media are actually helping magazine readership. The internet brings magazine information and advertising to the home, making all things magazine highly accessible. Just watch this short (and very spunky) video entitled “Magazines Connect.” It highlights various facts about how the internet and magazines, well, connect. For instance, dedicated magazine readers are also heavy internet users. If we can all agree that this generation is very internet savvy, then it’s no surprise that young adults and teens constitute a large portion of magazine consumers.

This youth dedication to magazines may be due to the relationship that readers have with their favourite magazines; something I’d call the “brand bond.” According to “How Magazine Advertising Works,” readers view magazines as brands: just like people choose clothing to represent who they are, they choose magazines to do the same. And with brand satisfaction, comes brand dedication. If your favourite magazine entertains you, informs you, and represents you, then it makes sense that you would continue to read that magazine despite any changes it incurs over time.

Now back to the question at hand: Why do people still turn to magazines on newsstands when they could read them online? That’s easy. Did books go extinct with the release of e-readers? Did CDs disappear with the appearance of mp3 players? Did people stop listening to the radio when TVs were made? Did…okay, you get the picture. Holding magazines, carrying them around, rolling them up, folding them, and leaving them in the bathroom are just a few reasons why print magazines are extremely convenient. Just imagine trying to do the same with your computer. Plus, there’s nothing like flipping through a magazine, the crisp corners crunching under your fingertips and the glossy pages gliding over one another.

While the internet has definitely added convenience to our lives in more ways than one (no more messenger boys to carry our wax-sealed letters!), people still seem to opt for the old-fashioned way. We are sentimental creatures and when we find something we like we stick with it. The internet has opened the door to access and information about magazines, but our dedication is what keeps the print magazines in our bathrooms—in all their steam-crumpled glory.

For more reader information and statistics from the PMB’s fall report, visit: