Web's role growing in magazines' future: MPA

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The growth of online editions and proof that print media drives traffic to the Web are among the key highlights of the 2007-2008 Magazine Handbook from Magazine Publishers of America.

The newly released handbook presents facts, figures and statistics on the consumer magazine industry, including information on magazines' editorial diversity, reader characteristics, circulation trends and the impact of magazine advertising. Information on accountability, a section of the handbook introduced three years ago, doubled its original page count this year. The handbook also introduced a section on digital data for 2007.

"One of the most important things that is standing out is growth in the digital operations of magazines," said Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the MPA. "Another piece that is very important is the expanding amount of independent information that documents that magazine advertising works, including driving Web search and Web business.

"The third important thing is data that speak to the vitality of readership in the print magazine," she said. "We found that young readers read more magazine issues than older readers - which defies conventional wisdom."

Data presented in this issue of the Magazine Handbook show consistency in readers' tastes. The editorial categories that got the most coverage in 2005 remained the same in 2006.

Changes in the industry also showed in the data. The handbook reports that the number of magazines with Web sites has increased 67 percent since 2003 and that magazines lead media in driving Web visits and searches.

Independent research compiled in the handbook focuses largely on magazines' advertising power and accountability.

Ms. Oppenheim said that the handbook provides a context through which publishers and advertisers can better view and understand the industry. She said that the information presented in the Magazine Handbook also affects the financial community and industries aligned with publishing, such as paper and printing.

The Magazine Handbook has been issued once a year since 1982 and is available in downloadable PDF format on the MPA's site at www.magazine.org. Printed copies may be ordered via e-mail to promotion@magazine.org. Additionally, the handbook will be poly-bagged with the June 18 issue of Advertising Age newspaper.

New York-based MPA is the industry association for the consumer magazine business. It represents more than 240 publishing companies within the United States, holding approximately 1,400 titles. Its membership also extends to more than 80 international companies and more than 100 associate members.

Ms. Oppenheim said that data presented in the handbook was primarily positive for the magazine industry. She expects the industry to grow through expanding retail locations and online offerings.

"The magazine industry is going to continue to follow the consumer," Ms. Oppenheim said. "That is the success formula for all media, so to the degree that you see changes in the handbook data, you will see changes in the whole industry. The handbook doesn't lead to change, but it documents change and how the industry is evolving to reflect that change."

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