Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
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Magazine audience crosses the 2 billion mark, fueled by triple-digit growth in mobile and video

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Magazine media has reached a total audience of 2 billion, and is more engaging to consumers online than non-magazine brands, according to a 5-year study on audience trends by MPA—The Association of Magazine Media.

MPA, over the course of 5 years, studied more than 135 brands representing 95% of the American adult reader universe. Since 2014, Magazine Media’s total audience has grown +24% to 2.0 billion. 

“Magazine Media 360° is the first analysis of its kind within the media industry,” noted Jeri Dack, Director of Research Initiatives, MPA. “The Brand Audience Report shows that the magazine media universe has grown overall by 24%, while each platform with the ecosystem has had its own trajectory.”

The pie itself has grown larger, with the pieces inside taking on different sizes.

Jeri Dack, Director of Research Initiatives, MPA

Mobile web has grown +122% and Video has grown +425%

Mobile access to publisher websites rose to 37% this year (of the total magazine audience) from 21% in 2014. Video’s share of the media mix expanded 5x to 10%, from 2% during that same period.

The Brand Audience Report research shows that consumers have made a dramatic shift from the larger computer screen to the smaller mobile screen of tablets and cell phones in the past five years. 

Mobile (websites viewed from a mobile device) has grown a tremendous 122%. At the same time, Video (viewed on either a desktop or mobile device) has grown a whopping 425%.

Divided into three areas – Brand Audience, Social Media and Online Engagement, MPA reported on magazine audience growth across formats; magazine media performance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and magazine brands’ engagement on online platforms. The resulting research provides a comprehensive picture of consumer demand and magazine media vitality. 

Magazine brands outperform non-magazine brands on Facebook and Instagram

Magazine brands have evolved into true multi-media platforms that grab and hold the attention of audiences,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA. 

The Magazine Media 360° reports demonstrate that regardless of format or platform, consumers are passionate about magazine media and continue to trust and deeply interact with the professionally researched, written, edited and curated content.

Linda Thomas Brooks, President and CEO of MPA

“Magazines are the original influencers,” continued Brooks. “By using verified, third-party measurement and research, we verified that magazine brands still have what other ‘influencers’ are trying to find – consistently growing audiences who seek reliable content.” 

Measuring widely accepted attributes of engagement in consumer media: Loyalty, Immersion, Intensity and Connection, using third-party metrics sourced from comScore and statistics from the MPA’s Social Media Engagement Report, an Online Engagement Report was created. 

The report demonstrated that 81% of the time the audiences to the sites of magazine media brands are more engaged than those consuming similar content on non-magazine brand sites, and only 13% of the time are they lower. 

Overall, the Magazine Media 360° reports conclude that continued and growing consumer demand for magazine media, across channels and platforms, proves magazine media’s vitality and influence. 

“Those trends indicate publishers need to develop strategies to drive mobile readership and deliver eyeballs to advertisers,” according to Mediapost’s Robert Williams. “Those mobile strategies also need to include video content, especially as higher-speed 5G cellular networks make data-heavy visuals less onerous for viewers in the next few years.”

“Every major magazine publisher—including Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith—has beefed up video content, either on websites or video-sharing platforms like YouTube.”

To read the complete white paper, Magazine Media 360°: A Five-Year Review of Magazine Brand Vitality, visit