Hearst Magazines UK Unveils New Research Into Reading Habits Of Tablet Users

HEARSTUKTuesday October 15, 2013. Hearst Magazines UK, the UK’s largest digital publisher, has unveiled research that shows magazine readers consume digital editions in a similar way to print editions, but have much higher expectations of interactivity.

Hearst Magazines UK, which publishes 20 magazines and 20 websites including world famous brands such as Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan, surveyed more than 500 tablet readers to identify how consumers are reading digital editions and the extent to which they are utilising the additional enhanced features.

The research, unveiled today (Tues Oct 15), explores attitudes and reader experience across both advertising and editorial content on digital editions. Hearst Magazines UKis the first media owner to publish a piece of research that explores the habits of a digital edition-only audience.

The research shows users are as engaged with digital editions as they are with the print format, picking tablets up and putting them down akin to a magazine, and continue to read in linear format ensuring they read almost all of their issue. However, it also shows that tablet users prefer articles and ads on digital editions that are enhanced with clickable links, with 90% saying enhanced features have to be relevant and genuinely add something.

The research also shows that future digital edition purchase intention is high with 85% saying that they will continue to buy digital editions. Digital edition purchase, however, will not necessarily be at the expense of print with nearly half of the respondents (46%) saying they would alternate between both print and digital, demonstrating an appetite for both products.

The research also looked at how users interact with advertising on digital editions and found 60% of users said they would browse an advertiser’s website directly from an ad on a digital edition.

Key highlights include:

· 64% would spend more time with a digital ad they could engage with

· 78% like to able to tap the ad to find out more

· 8/10 like ads that link directly to the advertised product

· 88% of tablet users prefer to read basic stacked articles and linear format

· 70% enjoy the ‘fun’ format of digital editions

· 7/10 think ads in digital editions are impactful and sharp

· 55% feel more favourable towards a brand as a consequence of seeing an ad in a digital edition

Respondents were targeted through an in-app questionnaire in various Hearst UK digital edition titles including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Healthand Red had a medium age of 37. Of those surveyed, 48% were subscribers, 23% were first time buyers and the remaining 29% bought a copy at least every other issue.

Hearst Magazines UK has also produced an info-graphic (see attached) supporting the research which will be shared with advertisers and clients over the next fortnight.

In launching the new research, Max Raven, Group Revenue Director, Hearst Magazines UK said, “I am delighted Hearst Magazines UK has been able to deliver the first piece of engagement data for our industry that explores attitudes and reader experiences across both advertising and editorial content. Developing robust Digital Edition metrics and ensuring our advertisers and clients have the utmost confidence in our data is top priority.”

The on-going growth of digital editions is a key focus for Hearst Magazines UK with editorial teams realigned across print and digital, new appointments from leading digital companies such as AOL and Microsoft, and significant investments in development to deliver an exceptional digital experience to the consumer.

At the recent ABCs (August 2013), Hearst Magazines UK reported a 13% growth, year on year, in digital edition sales with 10 out of 19 digital editions audited delivering double digit growth both period on period and year on year. Hearst-owned titles such as Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health regularly occupy up to half of the top 10 Apple Newsstand iPhone chart positions.

Last month (September 2013) the leading UK media owner launched a pioneering new tablet magazine: Esquire Weekly – the first men’s magazine app designed to make full use of the extraordinary potential of tablet technology with a revolutionary design, unprecedented interactivity and cutting-edge content.