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TV listing mags defy gravity

by on 21 Jun, 2011

The TV listing magazines continue to defy gravity: 4 TV listings magazines win the top readerships among weeklies in the latest NRS survey.

The information they deliver  is all available elsewhere.  It is in daily newspapers and in separate magazines of the Saturday and Sunday editions; it is available online.  Yet 3.4 million read What’s on TV from IPC and 2.3 million read Radio Times from the BBC.

Why, when all of the information is available anyway?

Offering views

Because these mags offer more than just listings.  These mags offer interviews, views and reviews.

See the word “views” there?

Readers want more than information.  They want a view of the world.  They may disagree that the rerun of Godfather III deserves to be viewed, or that Britain’s Got Talent is a contribution to our cultural heritage.  They can always disagree.  But a view of the world gives the reader something to bite on, more than just information about what’s on and when.

The lesson for every publisher, then, is to offer information but also offer views.  They come for the information and they stay for the views.

And in every case of the TV listings magazines it’s the women who dominate among readers: 2.2 million female readers for What’s on TV compared with 1.2 million males.

Techies read mags

The general assumption is that this readership of paper magazines is in decline as technology takes over.

Katherine Page of the NRS argues, from a solid basis of data, that this is not so.  She says:

“The 6.4 million technophiles identified [in the NRS survey] tend to be young, well-educated and affluent, with a net personal income 36% above the average. They use the internet everyday and consume content across a range of digital platforms, but are also enthusiastic readers of print.”

It looks like the TV listings mags are going to go on defying gravity for some time to come.

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