September 29, 2014 Last Updated 10:55 am

MPA introduces new audience report Magazine Media 360, designed to measure audience across multiple platforms

Will the report, built on survey estimates, undermine years of rock solid, audited information trusted by brands and advertising agencies?

The MPA – The Association of Magazine Media today launched Magazine Media 360, a new report that seeks to capture consumer demand for magazine content across multiple platforms and formats including print and digital editions, websites and video. The initial release of the report includes 147 magazine titles from 30 companies.

The release of the report comes after Media Industry Newsletter announced the end of its ad page report, used for 67 years to measure the growth or decline of magazine brands.

“With Magazine Media 360, we finally have a comprehensive accounting of consumer demand for our brands, an imperative for the industry since, with the growth of new, rapidly evolving digital platforms, consumer demand is today’s media currency,” said Mary G. Berner, CEO of the association. “In fact, given the success of many magazine brands on those new platforms, continuing to rely on print circulation and ad paging counts in isolation to determine demand for magazine media would be like measuring the viewership of the Super Bowl exclusively based on the people who watched it in the stadium.”

Critics of the new report, and there will be many, will point to the absence of audit information used to compile the report. In particular, the information on print and digital editions does not come from the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) but from GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer and are the “unduplicated estimate of the average issue readers.”

In addition to print and digital editions being measured by GfK, web traffic, mobile web and video is measured by comScore Media Metrix or Nielsen NetView.

The goal of the new report is obviously to better reflect the changing nature of magazine publishing, which no longer is solely about a title’s print product. But will the report actually be useful or trusted by media buyers. For advertisers buying across platforms, the new report gives a total picture of audience. But many of the magazine brands look fairly anemic when it comes to their web, mobile and video numbers. Is it necessarily good to show, for instance, that American Photo, which shows over 1 million print and digital edition readers in the report, reaches only 6,000 on the web, and is reporting nothing for mobile web and video? (By way of comparison, American Photo’s latest publisher’s statement shows its total paid and verified circulation at 101,322.)

Despite this being the initial report issued, already the magazine association and several magazine titles are claiming that the report shows growth in the audience for magazine brands, due mostly to mobile web consumption.

“We’ve experienced firsthand the demand for quality content in print and online, and have seen our audience expand from print readers concentrated in the New York area to digital readers around the country and the world,” said Larry Burstein, publisher of New York magazine in a statement following the release of the first report.

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