It’s been a rather tumultuous year for magazine media, to say the least. With so many consumers reading content on digital platforms, it appears that many publishers are reducing print frequencies or altogether shuttering print editions of magazines to focus on digital initiatives and cut costs.
While most publishers seem to be drifting away from print, Bauer Media Group is doing just the opposite. In 2018, the media giant is not only continuing its print editions, but also increasing frequencies for four of its titles, with Life & Style slated to rise from 51 to 53 issues, and Closer, In Touch and Woman’s World from 52 to 53 issues.
“Bauer earns a positive margin on every issue from single copy sales,” Bauer CEO Steven Kotok (pictured) tells Folio:. “So the more issues we publish, the more money we earn, unlike an ad-dependent model in which fewer ads each year are spread over the same number of issues.”
Kotok explains that Bauer’s “absolute focus” on the reader is what sets its titles apart from other magazines on the newsstands.
“Counterintuitively, this drives an industry-leading level of reader engagement that sets Bauer apart with advertisers,” he says. “Also it’s an additive audience – because Bauer uniquely among publishers activates a majority of its readership at retail point of sale, our brands have very low duplication from all our competitors whose readers are overwhelmingly served subscriptions in their homes.”
In such a difficult print environment, Kotok emphasizes that Bauer’s recipe for success boils down to focus.
“Not only does Bauer lead the industry in total unit sales, we also lead the industry in percentage of our own revenue earned from reader purchase decisions at retail,” he explains. “The level of focus we have on satisfying that reader and activating that retail purchase is unparalleled and undiluted by other considerations.”
In addition to increasing print frequencies of four of its titles next year, Bauer is the only publisher up in ad pages this year, according to data from MediaRadar. Kotok says that generally, advertisers from consumer packaged goods and over the counter pharmaceuticals seeking retail sales are particularly good fits for the company’s magazines.
Hitting newsstands this week is a special holiday issue of Woman’s World. The title regularly limits its ad pages to seven per issue, however, for the special edition, Bauer decided to increase its page count and place two additional ads.
“Woman’s World zealously guards our reader-favorable ad/edit ratio by strictly limiting ad pages of every issue at just seven. We sell out all seven of those ad pages every single week, all year long,” says Kotok. “So with the extra edit pages providing additional reader value, it was a no-brainer to offer more opportunities for advertisers to reach our audience, when we could do so without diluting the ad/edit ratio that is key to the reader experience and drives industry-leading engagement with both the edit and the ads.”
As the company looks ahead to build upon the momentum it has seen this year, Kotok tells Folio: the Bauer team seeks to maintain and deliver on its promise and value proposition to its readers.
“As with the Hippocratic oath, Do No Harm, because what we are doing is working for our readers and in turn, what works for our readers directly benefits our bottom line,” he says. “But we have some other ideas on the drawing board to expand on the value we bring to both readers and advertisers.”