Branded content goes from strength to strength in latest NRS report

The latest NRS figures signal that consumers' appetite and demand for quality branded editorial content continues to go from strength to strength according to Julia Hutchison, COO at the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA).

Analysing the customer magazines listed on the survey reveals some interesting findings: 

  • Seven out of the top ten most widely read magazines in the UK are customer magazines, with a total readership of 33.6 million adults - this equates to over half of the UK population
  • 46% of the adult population (22.7 million adults) read one or more of the customer magazines currently measured on NRS
  • 61% of customer magazine readers are female and 39% are men
  • Customer magazine readers are more likely to be up-market: their readers are 17% more likely than the average adult to be in social grade AB
  • 47% of customer magazine readers shop online (17% more likely to do so than the average adult)

In addition, key customer publishing titles topped the women's monthly, women's bi monthly and general interest monthly periodicals section of the report. Asda Magazine, with a readership of 5.3 million topped the women's monthly section of the report closely followed by Sainsbury's Magazine which has a readership of just under 3.6 million. Ranked in third place was Waitrose Kitchen enjoying a readership of over 1.6 million. Consumers' interest in diet and fitness is evident with Weight Watchers magazine ranked ninth with a readership of 971,000.

As well as readership figures and the wealth of lifestyle data already available on the NRS, it has recently added questions about digital reading to reflect changing reading habits. Whilst digital reading of newspapers and magazines is still relatively small compared to the millions reading print, it will grow substantially with the advent of new technology.

Looking at this new data it appears that customer magazine readers are ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology and digital reading. For example, 6% of customer magazine readers have used a tablet computer which is 20% more likely than the population as a whole, and perhaps a reflection of their social grade and propensity to buy iPads and Kindles.

Other top-line figures amongst customer magazine readers for brands to consider: 

  • 4% have used an ebook reader (39% more likely than the population as a whole)
  • 4% have viewed any magazine content digitally using a mobile phone app (35% more likely than the population as a whole)

The APA recently commissioned its own research amongst 1,000 iPad users and discovered that they want free apps that are associated with brands - nearly three quarters (73%) of respondents would opt to download a free app associated with a brand over a non-branded paid for application. In fact, 67% of respondents were hungry for brands to provide them with more interesting and exclusive content for their iPad, with lifestyle (38%), games (27%) and entertainment (23%) highlighted as the top areas they would like brands to create more apps in. With these research findings and the latest NRS figures in mind, the terms of digital engagement are clear and if adhered to can be extremely valuable for brands. 

The demand for engaging and relevant content by consumers undoubtedly continues unabated and new platforms, such as iPads, provide even more opportunities to reach them. In return for providing free but interesting and relevant information, brands receive engaged and loyal customers - a win-win for both brands and consumers.

27thJun 2011

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