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News and Fairfax Hit Back at Magazine Report

21 Jul 2011

News Magazines and Fairfax have hit back at a report blaming Newspaper Inserted Magazines (NIMs) for dragging the magazine sector backwards in ad revenues in the past 12 months with News predicting building consumer and NIMs titles will improve market share.

Rival magazine publishers said last week NIMS were a proving drag on the overall magazine industry, pointing to SMI figures for the 12 months to June showing ad revenues were off 10.1 per cent for NIMs to $105.3 million. Newsstand titles, meanwhile, were up marginally (0.2 per cent) to $352.1 million.

Fairfax Magazines and News Magazines did not dispute the SMI data or that NIMs were doing it tough in the current market but pointed to key newsstand categories which had also gone backwards.

"The fact is out of 32 magazine categories in Australia, 18 - more than half - declined in revenue year-on-year in the latest SMI figures," Fairfax Magazines chief executive Lisa Hudson told AdNews.

Hudson pointed to ad revenue declines in women's titles (down 3.1 per cent), the men's category (down 34 per cent), general magazines (down 24.7 per cent) and sports magazines (down 17.5 per cent) as examples.

"To suggest that newspaper inserted magazines are the only magazines with a revenue challenge is a nonsense," she said.

News Magazines commercial director Zara Curtis told AdNews there was pressure but News Magazines' NIMs titles had taken share in the 12 months to June - News' NIMs, she said, had declined 7.3 per cent compared to a 10.1 per cent fall for NIMs overall.

Curtis said the June quarter had seen further improvement for News' NIMs and further uplift was coming as the market digested the company's new strategy to bundle News Magazines consumer titles with NIMs and take on TV by rolling up the company's newspaper magazines into a single buy reaching more than 5 million people on a weekend.

Curtis predicted News Magazines bundling of consumer and NIMs titles into a single buy would further improve the publisher's marketshare position. For upscale readers, for example, News Magazines was putting NIMs titles such as Wish and The Weekend Australian Magazine with consumer titles like Vogue and GQ.

"You can't out buy a premium AB audience in the print market," she said.

"These sorts of initiatives with our packaging around NIMs titles to some publishers is a real threat. I'm not denying the magazine category has some challenges but our strategy is to invest."

Source: AdNews

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