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Film, Fitness & Foreign Titles: the Content Capturing Today’s Consumers

Readly’s UK managing director, Ranj Begley, looks at current audience and content trends, which are still being heavily influenced by the pandemic.

By Ranj Begley

Film, Fitness & Foreign Titles: the Content Capturing Today’s Consumers

The newspaper and magazine business remains a major part of consumers’ lives, despite the challenges it faces. The rapid migration to digital behaviours during the pandemic has become embedded in their daily routines, leading to a 70% uplift in digital subscriptions for the top 50 magazine brands over the past two years. It means that 2022 will see publishers knuckling down on habit-forming offerings such as newsletters, podcasts and audio, to ensure readers stick around on the long road to recovery. Data still proves critical when it comes to boosting conversion rates, with many publishers requiring a deeper understanding of their audiences than ever before.

Our own database continues to paint an increasingly vivid snapshot of our audiences in each market. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic remains a dictator of reading behaviour as consumers continue to pursue hobbies and leisure interests. During 2021, the category with the most significant spike in readership Y-o-Y was Running, Cycling & Fitness, up 32%; 2020’s trend for home improvement and DIY continued to develop – readership in this category increased by 30% Y-o-Y; and our propensity to binge watch meant that TV, Film & Cinema saw an uplift of 26% during the past year.

Another upwards trend of 2021 was international readership which increased to double figures across all of our active markets. Most notably, 16% of all titles read by Swedes, 10% of all titles read by the UK, and 14% of all titles read by German users were foreign publications. It was the presence of international cover stars that had the most impact outside of a magazine’s home nation – the February Dua Lipa cover of Rolling Stone US and British Vogue’s November issue with Adele, for example. The category with the highest international readership overall was Cars & Motoring. 158 UK titles within this category were widely read across all markets. It’s a positive story for publishers, with 29% of those surveyed by Reuters Institute expecting to get significant revenue from tech platforms for content licensing this year.

So far, this is a fairly generalised view of readership by category and country but when we look at the number of bookmarked pages on Readly, our reader profile becomes sharper. This metric grew by 46% during 2021, the majority of which came from food titles. A deeper analysis of these pages tells us that it was specifically one-pot recipes with highly-appealing imagery that most engaged our readers during the past year. Delivering a more personalised user experience is key to maintaining steady and sustained growth. Consequently, media companies should continue to bet on AI and tech platforms as a way of knowing what, why, when and how their readers are consuming content.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic remains a dictator of reading behaviour as consumers continue to pursue hobbies and leisure interests.

About us

Readly is the European category leader for digital magazines. The “all-you-can-read” digital subscription service provides unlimited access to 7,500 magazines and newspapers including the catalogue of ePresse. Readly has subscribers in more than 50 countries and content available in 17 languages from 1,200 publishers worldwide.




Twitter: @readly



This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2022, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here and view the digital edition of the PPG here.