We start this week's round-up with the news that Deloitte's sixth annual State of Media Democracy survey which hints to a very positive future for print. It found that 88% of consumers prefer to read their favourite magazines in print rather than through tablet or smartphone devices. The research also revealed that only a third of tablet owners use the device to read magazines. What is your opinion on this? Find out more about the survey results here.
April may have proved to be one of the rainiest months in a long time, which is of course good for garden enthusiasts. Those who have a passion for gardening and plants will also be excited to learn that The Garden Centre Group has launched a new magazine, which features lots of idea and valuable expertise as well as key products from the company. Produced by John Brown, The Gardener has an initial print run of just over one million copies and has been mailed out to members of the group's Gardening Club, as well as being placed in stores for customers to pick-up. The content is divided in three areas - growing, gardening and living - and features expert contributions from the likes of David Austin on roses and Tamsin Westhorpe (editor of The English Garden) on perennials. There are exclusive and delicious recipes from the restaurant team, ideas on how to make your garden friendly to nature, highlights from the quality gift and furniture ranges - all of which are available to buy from the centres - as well as tips to help you make the most of your leisure time and club membership.
The River Group could celebrate this week as it has been shortlisted for the PPA Awards in the Specialist Consumer Magazine of the Year category for Healthy for Men and Weight Watchers Magazine. Healthy for Men, which has a circulation of just over 59,000, is sold exclusively in Holland & Barrett and GNC stores nationwide with the mantra "stay fit for life, for less and don't cheat yourself" and delivers a power-pack of relevant, useful and action-inducing content.
Weight Watchers magazine on the other hand is the ninth most read women's monthly magazine, reaching more than 1 million readers every issue.
Congratulations are also due to creative and commercial content agency Cedar Communications, which is celebrating the first anniversary of their Shanghai office with the publication of the fourth edition of the Chinese edition of the Tesco Magazine. This will be followed by the launch of Chinese Tesco Mum of the Year - replicating the success of the UK Mum of the Year competition now in its eight year. Cedar recently announced that it has also opened in South Africa as the company continues to expand following two years of sustained growth, moving towards becoming a global company.
Seven's Sean King has discussed the upside to the downturn at WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe 2012. King, CEO of award-winning multi-platform content agency Seven, spoke at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe 2012 this week, highlighting how the pressures on budgets means big business for publishers as brands look for innovative and cost-effective ways to reach and engage customers.
Speaking at the event, King said: "We are starting to see a lot of clients taking money from media budgets into building owned media. Content is moving from a cost, generated by third parties, into an investment, generated in house, instead of renting media you invest in your own channels."
With retailers building content supply chains guided by insights into customer behaviour, kept up to date with customer-generated content, brands are rapidly recognising the importance of content in the retention and engagement of their customers.
More news from Seven this week as its Head of Digital, Dave Castell, has joined the Executive Board as Digital Director. Castell, has been promoted to group's Executive Board as Digital Director, a newly created role, only one year after joining the company. Continuing to further Seven's portfolio of progressive digital products for clients across web, mobile, tablet, social media and video, Dave will now be responsible for the company-wide remit on the agency's digital strategy across existing and new business, with a particular focus on the innovation agenda for Seven.
August Media's This Magazine for Ocado has been shortlisted for an award in the Editorial Design category at the Design Week Awards 2012. Launched in October, each themed issue of This Magazine is a brand-building collection of features from a carefully commissioned mix of high-profile and up-and-coming writers and experts. So far they have ‘CHANGED', ‘SMILED' and shortly August will be ‘SHINING' in the third issue, due out in May. This Magazine is not about shopping; rather it inspires customers to do more with the time they've saved shopping with Ocado. A lot of thought also goes into the design: each feature has its own concept worked up by August Media's creative team, and supported by visual treatments from the UK's very best photographers and illustrators. The further application of brand elements, considered typography and clever page furniture all let the photography and illustration take the spotlight.
Communications agency Summersault has also been shortlisted an award, a national communications award for its work with information and data management organisation Iron Mountain. It has been nominated in the Best Newspaper category at the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) Awards for Iron Mountain's internal publication Your One. The 16-page publication, Your One, is published four times a year and goes to 2,300 employees across the organisation in the UK, Ireland and Norway, and provides staff with updates on company news, business wins, fundraising activity for charity of the year Sense as well as highlighting the out of work achievements of staff.
A new US study has found that companies' spend on online content marketing grew to nearly $16.6 billion last year, with video showing the strongest growth of all media measured. In contrast to the Deloitte report mentioned above, the survey revealed that online content marketing is likely to surpass print in the next few years, though print will likely remain a major player. Custom content (including print) now represents 26% of companies' overall marketing, advertising and communications budget.
Social media and digital news blog Mashable featured an article this week on why great design is the future of content marketing. Author Chuck Longanecker noted that although it is still early in 2012, ‘the importance of visual storytelling is clearly one of the year's breakout trends'. ‘Facebook Timeline, Pinterest, and Instagram are forcing brands to think and act more visually. Couple that with the impact of mobile browsing, and these emerging trends give new meaning to the phrase "show, don't tell," Longanecker continued. As the ‘beautification of the web' era is upon us, Longanecker explores some trends in the coming year, such as apps leading the way, why special effects are a key factor, how it is imperative to account for various browsing experiencing when designing websites, and that less is indeed more. Is beatification of the web the future? Read more here.
The British Media Awards 2012 took place on Wednesday night, with Huffington Post UK editor Carla Buzasi being awarded the night's top individual prize - Media Innovator of the Year - for displaying a mixture of old-fashioned and modern editing, "incorporating original reporting and comment with a chorus of contributions from the audience in real-time". See a complete list of winners here.
A new free women's magazine launched in London this week. The glossy monthly publication, Amuse, is aimed at affluent women and has a print run of 120,000. It is handed out at 75 tube stations across the capital, and will also be available in selected City offices, spas, health clubs and first class airport lounges. Its launch issue featured interviews with Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Norah Jones and Selfridge's creative director Alannah Weston.
Finally, could the corporate blog soon be a thing of the past? According to USA Today, with the emergence of social media, more companies are replacing blogs with nimbler tools requiring less time and resources, such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. According to the article, the trend in business is consistent with the broader loss of interest in blogging among all consumers. In late 2010, the Pew Research Center said blogging among adults ages 18 to 33 fell 2 percentage points in 2010 from 2008. Speaking to USA Today, T.J. Crawford, a Bank of America spokesman, says the bank dropped the blog because its social-media strategy is focused on Facebook and Twitter. "We want to be where our customers are," he says.