CONSUMER DEMAND: MPA, The Association of Magazine Media provided insight into consumer demand for magazines for three months — its largest report since it began releasing data from The Magazine Media 360 Brand Audience Report in September.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Covering the August-through-October period, the report, which uses data from third-party providers, revealed an average gross audience for magazine brands of 1.50 billion, marking a 9.8 percent increase over 2013. The performance was driven by a rise in video and mobile Web consumption, up 59.2 percent and 90.8 percent, respectively.

It may seem like Greek to some, but the MPA explained that the data are collected through reader surveys to determine the size of an audience in print or digital editions. To determine demand for mobile, Web and video, researchers compiled the number of unique visits for each category. Those numbers are tallied up, which is how the report assesses consumer demand.

The MPA ranked 15 fashion-beauty and lifestyle titles for WWD, and there were some surprises. The biggest share of the 360 pie for that sector went to — ta-da! — Cosmopolitan (19 percent), with Glamour and Vogue trailing behind at 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively, followed by O, The Oprah Magazine (9 percent), Vanity Fair (8 percent), InStyle (8 percent), Seventeen (7 percent), Allure (6 percent), Elle (6 percent), Harper’s Bazaar (4 percent), Marie Claire (4 percent), Teen Vogue (4 percent), Lucky (2 percent), Town & Country (2 percent) and W (1 percent).

Mary Berner, president and chief executive officer of the MPA, addressed the new metric.

WWD: The MPA used to provide monthly ad-page data. Why did you stop?

Mary Berner: This is an audience measurement for consumer demand across all platforms. There’s nothing controversial about this. It tracks consumer demand. In the world of media, all you can compare is consumer demand.

WWD: The majority of revenue is still derived through print. Isn’t showing that still important?

MB: All we’re saying is that print no longer captures the entire picture.

WWD: What about circulation? Isn’t that important?

MB: I think audience is more important. Circulation is an indicator, but in isolation, [those numbers] can be misleading or simply inaccurate. All we’re saying is that print no longer captures advertising performance for a brand. It captures the print performance. Without the other parts of the pie, you can’t have a full picture of what happened to a brand for that month. Absent that, we can’t continue to give one part of [the pie] because it will be extrapolated as the only performance metric.

WWD: What do you think 360 shows?

MB: The only common currency is consumer demand. It’s an indication of what’s going on in the brand and how it relates to the consumer. In a business, what you need first is to show consumer demand. That’s what this does. You can’t monetize what you can’t measure. But it’s up to them [the brands] to use this [information], to test it, to use it to make money.

WWD: Are media buyers using 360 to buy ads?

MB: Not yet, because it just launched. We’re in the process of doing a road show with advertisers. Do they yet plan with it? I don’t know yet, but it gives them visibility.

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