Flood of new titles
THE BOOM in advertising expenditure has flowed through to an unprecedented increase in new titles reporting results to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Commenting on the figures for the final quarter of 2006, Starcom MD Gordon Patterson notes that
there was a 27% increase in adspend last year, and that 123 new titles have reported ABC data in the past year.
Therein lies a problem. Adspend in the print media category grew only 18%, well below the average of media categories, which means the medium is becoming increasingly fragmented, as more titles fight it out for a slice of the adspend cake, which incidentally is the slowest growing slice.
More than half the new titles were magazines, with newspapers accounting for a modest share. Free distribution publications were also a big category.
“Despite this activity, the print vital signs are in high care,” says Patterson. “There’s more print competition, and mounting pressure to discount advertising rates.”
The biggest beneficiary of the boom was the television category, which enjoyed a 47% growth in adspend.
There’s intense competition in the consumer magazine category, where 17 new titles were registered. One source of growth is interest in smaller homes and DIY, and only 22% of consumer home titles declined. But in the male consumer mag category, 75% of titles have declined in circulation – a clear sign, says Patterson, of cannibalisation. Similarly, in the travel category, where an Afrikaans/English twinned title ( Weg/Go) has grown 44%, effectively redefining the category, while the other three titles ( Getaway, Wegbreek and SA Country Life) have all declined.
The women’s general interest magazines, a category comprising 21 titles, also show a worrying trend, says Patterson, only 29% of titles have grown.
But print vital signs are in high care. Gordon Patterson