Verticals, print v digital, new editors, weeklies war, readership and diversifying revenue.

It is close to four years since Are Media pounced on the magazine brands previously owned by Bauer Media Australia and Seven’s Pacific Magazines.

Under the guidance of chief executive Jane Huxley the company has cultivated and grown its list of titles. Since then, it has ignited the interest in magazine brands, rebuilding digital and print products.

The latest example of how it is turning around a once-great magazine sector, Are Media next month brings back a print edition of Elle.

To learn more about the sector and Are Media’s strategy, Mediaweek spoke with Are Media director of content Sally Eagle.

Print resurgence

A good place to start is the audience returning to print. When quizzed about the audience for magazines, Eagle said it wasn’t just market hype.

We had a 7% increase year-on-year for print,” said Eagle. “People are really enjoying picking up a product and reading it. We call it ‘me time’. Our audience is getting younger in print too. They are putting the phone down and looking at a print-oriented product.

“Print has been the heart of our business for some time. Like any business, we need to diversify our revenue. Print remains the core. Print content will always run on digital. But when we create content it doesn’t mean it will always appear in print first.”

That growth in circulation comes after Roy Morgan recently reported strong growth across its print magazines for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Eagle should be able to spot a trend in publishing. She started at the company in 2010 when it was trading as ACP Magazines. She then survived the Bauer Media Group ownership and is now key to the revival of the sector under private equity owner Mercury Capital.

Before the director of content role, Eagle was customer director looking after subscriptions, marketing, and the retail channel which included working with newsagents and supermarkets.

Prior to getting into magazines, Eagle worked as an accountant for PWC and also held down accounting roles at fashion houses Zimmerman and Giorgio Armani.

Are Media structure

The brands at Are Media fall into one of four verticals: Entertainment, Lifestyle, Homes, Fashion & Beauty. Each of those verticals has a general manager who reports to Eagle. They are respectively Susan Armstrong (Entertainment), Nicole Byers (Lifestyle), Lisa Hudson (Homes) and Nicky Briger (Fashion & Beauty).

The combined content firepower numbers about 350 people.

Most of the brands have a print and digital element. The exceptions are Bounty, a parenting bag of goodies and Beauty Heaven, a beauty review database.

Who’s on first – print or digital?

Eagle: “As we move into being an omnichannel content company we have people from print and digital co-creating. When that is done we figure out which platform it best sits on. Maybe it will be social first, digital first, or should it appear in print first?

To read the rest of this article on Mediaweek, click here.


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