Characteristics of Primary Magazine Readers

 A single copy of a magazine may be read by many readers. It is sometimes argued that not all of these readers are equal, at least in terms of advertising value.  Previously, we had defined the primary reader, for whom we will give a slightly different definition here:

A primary reader of a magazine is someone who

1.  Personally bought the magazine at a newsstand or store.

2. Personally subscribed to the magazine, either at home, at work or elsewhere

3. Someone else at home bought the magazine and brought it home

4. Someone else at home subscribe to the magazine at home

What is so valuable about these primary readers?  For one thing, many magazines will find that they have more appealing demographic characteristics.  Since magazines may be relatively expensive, someone who can afford to purchase or subscribe is likely to be more affluent.  To show how this works, we will use an example to illustrate.  The magazine is Veja, the largest newsweekly in Brazil; in fact, it is the newsweekly magazine with the fourth largest circulation in the whole world.  We will refer to the data collected in the 2003 TGI Brasil study.  This is a survey of 10,624 persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old interviewed during 2003.

In the next chart, we show the socio-economic status, education and occupation.  These demographic variables are shown for all persons, all Veja readers and Veja's primary readers (that is, those readers who satisfy the source of copy that we specified at the beginning of this article).  For all the variables, we see that there is a two-step filtering process: (1) by itself, readership of Veja is skewed upscale (higher socio-economic status, better education and better occupation) than the general population; (2) within Veja readers, primary readership is skewed upscale (higher socio-economic status, better education and better occupation).  For example, the top socio-economic bracket of AB class is 32% of the general population, 59% of all Veja readers and 77% of Veja's primary readers.

(Source: TGI Brasil)

But there is more to primary readers than just attractive demographic characteristics.  Logically, if a person is willing to expend money to purchase or subscribe to a magazine, he/she is more likely to get involved with the magazine.  For example, he/she is likely to read the magazine more frequently.  For another thing, he/she is likely to spend more time reading the magazine.  This is shown in the next chart for Veja again.  Thus 66% of the primary Veja readers read 4 out of 4 issues compared to the overall incidence of 48%, and 36% of primary Veja readers spend more than 1 hour reading each issue compared to the overall incidence of 24%.

(Source: TGI Brasil)

Logically, the full presentation should be (1) our primary readers are demographically attractive; (2) our primary readers are highly involved with the magazine; and (3) our primary readers will therefore be interested in the advertisements that you place in our magazine.  But that third step is usually taken on faith, because it is a lot harder to provide an unequivocal proof.

(posted by Roland Soong, 03/3/2004)

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