Tablet editions 'reinvigorating' print magazine brands, PPA claims

Tablet editions of magazines are complementing rather than cannibalising print editions, according to research conducted by magazine trade body PPA.

Magazine readership: Tablet editions are reinvigorating print brands says the PPA
Magazine readership: Tablet editions are reinvigorating print brands says the PPA

The PPA has published the TAP (Tablets and Publishing) report, the first in a planned series, which draws both on the PPA's own online market research and on a large selection of international studies.

While the report predicts a surge in digital magazine engagement, it also identifies a positive correlation between print and tablet readership. The findings show that 96% of tablet owners have read a printed magazine in the past year, compared to the 80% national average.

The PPA claims that while readers are positive about and responsive to digital magazines, they "continue to want both formats".

In addition, tablets "reinvigorate" owners' appetite to try different magazine brands, with 68% of tablet owners stating that they have read newspapers or magazines on a tablet that they had not previously read in print.

Marius Cloete, head of research at the PPA, said: "There is a strong link between tablet owners and magazine readership.

"A number of studies suggest that digital editions are reinvigorating the appetite for magazine media and this has been confirmed by our own research with Tolunaquick, which demonstrates that digital editions are not eroding the market for print editions, instead quite the opposite.

"Tablet owners are more likely to have read and purchased printed magazines in the previous three months than the national average, dispelling the myth that tablet owners are abandoning print in favour of digital. The two platforms instead appear to be working in combination to expand consumers' reading repertoire".

The TAP report also revealed a divergence in the way content is being accessed by tablet and smartphone users. Despite the fact that both mobile devices provide similar functions, the research shows that tablet users are much more likely to spend time reading content.

The figures reveal that 73% of tablet owners use the device while in bed and 96% use it on the sofa, mirroring the consumption habits in leisure time familiar to printed magazines.

Smartphones, in contrast, were more likely to be used for social networking activities which, the PPA claims, "underlines the difference in the engagement experience for users and the range of opportunities available to both publishers and advertisers".

Audited circulation figures from ABC for the six months between July and December 2011 showed a 400% increase in tablet edition reporting, and the following ABC period confirmed consumer appetite for digital editions, with 25% of all titles reporting a tablet figure.

As tablet ads allow readers to interact, should they choose to, net action scores are high for tablet advertising. MRI Gfk 2012 research included within the TAP Report shows magazine ads deliver similar levels of recall across print (53%) and tablet (56%).

It goes on to highlight that tablet advertising further improves on the performance of its traditional counterpart when it comes to generating further interaction with the brand, be it via the brand's website, social media, or other forms of research.

James Papworth, marketing director of the PPA, said: "As we approach Christmas, increasing tablet sales are expected to continue, fuelling more opportunity and distribution for magazine editions.

"The PPA expects tablet editions to expand in both the number of titles available and copy sales. This is good news for advertisers, as the opportunity to engage with magazine brand content is rapidly growing."

In March, global magazine trade body FIPP released its annual innovation report, which showed how print titles were innovating to keep pace with digital titles.