The death of magazines has been overplayed, according to a leading media agency, despite a torrid year that has featured the British title Glamour ending its monthly print run and Rolling Stone appealing for a deep-pocketed buyer.
There has been a precipitous slump in advertising in UK magazines this year with, an 11% fall representing the biggest since the advertising recession of 2009. In addition, in 2017 almost 1 million British consumers stopped buying print magazines or gave up their subscription.
Despite this gloomy picture, Group M, which buys more than $75bn (£60bn) of advertising space on behalf of clients globally, believes that the UK consumer magazine market has been “seriously undervalued” by marketers.
“It is too early to call the death of magazines,” said Adam Smith, a director at WPP-owned Group M. “The decline in ad investment is disproportionate to the loss of magazine circulation. This is regrettable and probably not based on the evidence. The single biggest factor [in magazine ad decline] is probably the growth of Facebook.”
Smith says that 2018 will see a fightback by magazine publishers as ongoing issues – such as brand safety concerns from ads running next to inappropriate content – provide a platform to get advertisers to reassess where they spend their money.