MPA – The Association of Magazine Media Launches Magazine Media 360

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The man at the gym getting form tips by discreetly watching a video from his favorite fitness magazine is doing it. The bleary-eyed girl reading the latest fashion news on the train at 6AM is probably doing it. And heck, I am most definitely doing it trying to cook this beautiful looking vegan dish for my friends that are going to be here any minute; at least it looked beautiful in the magazine. Although we aren’t holding a copy of the magazine in front of us, we are still consuming the content, albeit digitally.

Even though you can’t have a conversation about media without hearing the same old “print is dead” declaration, is that really the case? At this point, most media brands have embraced the idea of a fully integrated publication, balancing rich print with responsive online and mobile products that both stand alone and supplement existing content.

Magazines have long been aware of the decline of print sales, and have been investing their time rich digital content that is reaching many consumers.Readers these days are consuming content across multiple platforms, often navigating in through social media. This is no surprise, but what is surprising is that there hasn’t been a good way to measure this consumption until recently.

At the end of September 2014, the Association of Magazine Media (AMM) launched Magazine Media 360: a robust metric promising to measure the reach of print media across print, digital, online, and video platforms. In an industry that has been measuring worth and value the same way for decades, the shift to taking digital and mobile components into account seems long over-due. That’s not to say that there is no longer value in the practices of tracking circulation and advertising pages, but that you simply cannot ignore the value of including the digital readership.

Mary Berner, President & CEO, MPA said in an interview with Mr. Magazine, “I would say that print is a part of the consumer consumption experience, an extremely important part, but I would say that we haven’t told the story in regards to consumer demand up to this point.”

Magazine Media 360 is compiled monthly in a report containing data from the 150 brands that are members of MPA, which represents 31 companies. These brands are tracked for print and digital by third party providers, GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer, Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, comScore, Nielsen Online and SocialFlow. The end result highlights the multiple points of engagement that consumers hit as they shift from platform to platform. Social media data will also be captured and integrated into a separate report that is planned to launch later this year.

Publishing brands have long been embracing the value of promoting and creating content that moves the consumer from platform to platform. This metric will allow brands to leverage their multi-dimensional products, and offer advertisers a look at where consumers are spending their time.

The September report reveals a 10.6% increase in consumer demand over September of 2013 and attributes the growth to mobile readership and video consumption. In a world where most magazines are utilizing these platforms for engagement, this is welcome news. Any business needs to be responsive to what consumers want, otherwise you don’t have a product that is in demand.

So far, feedback has been mostly positive, if not a little skeptical. Offering such a dynamic, in-depth look atmagazine media, and presenting the results comparatively in such a transparent report, seems a little scary but AMM was able to get all of the members on board.

Offering advertisers and publishers a closer look at the media consumption habits of consumers within a particular brand is an exciting starting point. Looking to the future, perhaps this will offer brands insight for expanding their reach even further. But today, measuring the extent of current reach is an eye-opening start.

About Laura Botham

Laura Botham writes features covering the movers and shakers in the media industry, daily updates, and Top 10 lists. She is a media researcher at Cision, specializing in Internet media. She is a freelance artist, enjoys traveling, the mountains, and can always make time for a cute animal video.

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