'We are in a slowdown, not a downturn,' says IPC chief

Bailey:upbeat message to PPA seminar

IPC Media chief executive Sly Bailey delivered an upbeat message about the future of the magazine industry at last week’s PPA sales seminar – despite widespread closures and redundancies.

She told publishers and sales executives: "We know we are entering tougher times but where other media are experiencing a downturn, we’re experiencing a slowdown."

Bailey said the number of consumer titles in the UK had risen by 44 per cent in the past 10 years with more than £100m being spent on magazines each year. She said £1.3bn was spent on magazines every year – which meant 42 consumer titles were being bought every second.

Referring to the forecast by the Advertising Association that magazine ad revenue will grow by 4.9 per cent next year — the only medium to be reforecast upwards – she appealed to advertisers to remember the "size and scale" of the magazine market, especially compared to new media.

"Understandably, we can at times be too focused on our own titles, which is good for business. Inevitably, we do compete against each other but we have to remember to draw on our combined strength against other media," she said.

Bailey quoted research which showed there are now 80 more TV channels than there were 10 years ago, 160 more commercial radio stations and a new website launches every 20 minutes. However, research from the Henley Centre, which predicts social trends, claimed that, by 2003, people will spend 10 hours a week reading magazines – an increase of two and a half hours.

"This is even more impressive when you set it against a backdrop of consumers having two hours less leisure time a week," Bailey added.

Stephen Quinn, senior publishing director at CondŽ Nast , also put a positive spin on the recent downturn. "You are in the front line selling the magazine medium and it must look something similar to the horrors of the Taliban front line," he said.

He highlighted the importance of licensing and brand extensions, such as Cosmopolitan bed linen, vitamins and cafŽs and Good Housekeeping cookware.

"Newspapers, more than any other medium, are trying to ape the increasing success of magazines. They buy our features from our syndication departments and headline our cover celebrities," he said.

Commenting on the growth of contract publishing, which he said had more than doubled in the past five years, Quinn added: "The combined coverage from editorial and advertising pages is the real strength of magazines as an advertising medium. You should push that at every meeting with clients and their agencies."

By Ruth Addicott

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