UK magazines contribute £3.74bn to the economy, PPA report finds

New trade body report outlines the financial contribution and reach of the sector.

Magazines: PPA said sector had been 'resilient' during 2020
Magazines: PPA said sector had been 'resilient' during 2020

Consumer and business magazine brands reach 83% of the population over the age of 15 every month and contribute £3.74bn to the UK economy, providing 55,700 jobs.

That is according to a new report from the PPA, the organisation that represents magazine publishers, in print and online.

The figure of £3.74bn represents 35% of the UK publishing sector and contributes more than £500m in exports, with a total of 73 million magazines sold in 2019 to export markets.

The PPA figures reveal its members’ content reaches 44.3 million consumers every month.

In total in 2019, 1,493 advertisers spent more than half their total media budget in the sector, with 916 brands advertising exclusively with magazines.

An announcement accompanying the release of the figures acknowledges that the impact of Covid has resulted in a 10% dip in revenue, mostly from lower newsstand sales and a drop in advertising revenue. However, the PPA says this has been mitigated “to some degree” by other income, such as sponsorships and other marketing activities.

The report said consumer and business magazines are shifting towards more “audience-derived and more engagement-driven revenues”, which are enabling publishers to “nurture much longer-term relationships with customers to drive lifetime value”.

PPA chief executive, Owen Meredith, commented: “At the heart of the industry are brands who have a deep engagement with their audiences, speaking to consumers passions, hobbies and interests, as well as supporting individuals and businesses to do their jobs better.

“We have seen throughout the pandemic how audiences have valued this trusted relationship, with growing reach and truly multi-platform engagement reaching more people than ever.”

According to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report, though, the magazine sector suffered a 29.4% decline in ad revenue to £461.9m last year, with online revenues down almost as sharply (-24.5%).

However, a partial recovery is forecast for 2021 with overall advertising rising 6.8% and online advertising revenues increasing by 15.8%.

The PPA also said that while Covid has presented significant challenges, its data suggested that the sector as a whole had been resilient, with a net impact of 10% revenue loss and optimism about a recovery through 2021. Drops in advertising and newsstand revenue have been offset to an extent by increases in subscriptions, other direct consumer revenue and alternative commercial channels such as sponsorships, it said. 

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