MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS OF AUSTRALIA
The Association of Magazine Publishers of Australia Inc. (MPA) was established in 1995 to represent Australian publishers of consumer, cover-priced and nationally distributed magazines. Matt Handbury was appointed chairman. The association actively commissioned research, held industry conferences and staged the Magazine of the Year Awards to recognise excellence in editing, design, writing and photography, as well as the Folio Awards for advertising. In 2006, MPA spearheaded ‘A New Case for Magazines’, the retraining of the combined sales force of 400 people employed in the industry in a bid to win an additional $90 million in advertising revenue from rival media that year.
However, fractures were emerging. In 2003, for instance, the Federal Publishing Company withdrew from the association, apparently concerned that television broadcasters were too dominant in the organisation. In 2009, Australian Consolidated Press (ACP) withdrew after a falling-out over a proposed new readership survey: ACP wanted to stay with the Roy Morgan survey while the other companies backed a new metric pushed by newspaper publishers. The awards were also dropped to save money.
In 2012, the Bauer Media Group (which had acquired ACP) joined forces with NewsLifeMedia (owned by News Limited) and Pacific Magazines (part of Seven West Media) to revive the group. Mary Ann Azer, formerly of Proctor & Gamble, became executive director in 2014.
The revitalised MPA has been charged with bringing a more cohesive approach to the industry’s bid to convince advertisers and media buyers that magazines remain a vibrant and powerful medium. It has adopted the tagline ‘Magazines Move Me’, referring to the ability of magazines to influence people’s opinions and ideas about brands. In 2013, editors of member magazines launched Australia’s first social media initiative to highlight the collective power and reach of mass consumer magazines, using the hashtag #MagsMoveMe.
There has been concerted effort to fight perceptions among advertisers, analysts and media buyers that the magazine sector is in terminal decline. As a result, the MPA has stressed the different qualities of magazines and newspapers in order to demonstrate the positive relationships between print magazines and other media such as television and the internet. The MPA aims to provide consistent methodologies to measure the readership of magazine titles. This is achieved through commissioned research and readership surveys that are freely available on the MPA website.
REFs: Australian, 22 October 2012; http://magazines.org.au/about