January 16, 2021


In a world where nearly everyone is always online, there is no offline.

Mag sector happy with result

AUCKLAND, Today: A delve into the latest Nielsen readership data reveals a great story for magazines, says Magazine Publishers Association executive director Sally Duggan.

“The overall readership across measured magazine titles was down 2% year on year – but, more importantly, New Zealanders who buy magazines (the valuable primary readers) are purchasing more of their favourite titles, and sharing them more with those living in the same house.”

The Nielsen results (Q4 2019-Q3 2020) measure readership in the 12 months finishing in September – including the months when magazine supply was at record lows, due to a lockdown ban on magazine publishing.

Duggan: “Covid restrictions on travel and other outings mean that Kiwis were reading fewer magazines outside the home in places like cafes, hotels and doctor’s surgeries – resulting in an 18% fall in this so-called tertiary readership among measured titles YOY. This dragged the total numbers down.

“A deeper dive into the data, though, shows that inside Kiwi homes it is a very different story.

“The number of primary readers – that’s subscribers and people who buy magazines for themselves – rose by 6% across all the measured titles YOY.

“And these loyalists were sharing their magazines with other members of their household, resulting in a 16% jump in secondary readership.

Readers feel their favourite titles are a welcome diversion from their increasingly online work world.”

“The Nielsen results tally with reports from publishers, and point to a story of deepening engagement.

“Publishers are telling us that they’re seeing mid-year spikes in retail and subscriber sales similar to their usual Christmas sales – and these primary readership numbers back up those reports.

“The MPA’s own research [Matter Survey, Aug-Sept 2020, conducted by Insightful] suggests what’s behind this: Magazine readers feel their favourite titles help them relax in tough times: they trust the information they read in magazines, and find them a welcome diversion from their increasingly online work world.”

Current affairs titles were among the big winners in primary readership: NZ Geographic up 34%, and Time up 62%. Home titles also fared well, with NZ Gardener recording an 8% increase in primary readers, NZ House & Garden up 7.4%, and NZ Lifestyle Block up 36%.

Methodology changes
There have been some changes to Nielsen’s Consumer & Media Insights survey methodology this year, partly in response to Covid restrictions.

The face-to-face interview portion of the sample has been replaced with samples recruited by a mix of computer assisted telephone interview and online panel.

As online respondents have to be aged over 15 years, Nielsen has changed the population of the CMI survey from All People aged 10+ to All People aged 15+. Magazine results (for this year and last year) have all been updated to All People 15+ to reflect this.

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