The Digital Publishing Industry by the Numbers: MPA Releases 2015 Factbook

mpa digital publishing factbookTaken together, Magazine Media 360° Audience Report findings paint a pretty picture for the digital publishing industry

Is the digital publishing industry unstoppable?

If you’ve been monitoring the leading trade organization’s robust monthly reports, you’d have to say the answer is a resounding yes, at least when it comes to audience development.

Late in 2014, the Association of Magazine Media (aka, the MPA) launched Magazine Media 360°, an ambitious effort to track audiences across publishing platforms. At Mequoda, we’ve been keen to track that tracking (we do produce our own Digital Magazine Market Study, after all, which you can download for free!), and nearly without fail, the findings have been upbeat and positive – particularly in video and mobile efforts.

Some highlights:

  • In January of 2015, the Audience Report charted a 9.3% year-over-year increase in site visits for November of 2014, while putting gross traffic for digital magazines at 1.6 billion.
  • In March, having accumulated six months’ worth of data, the Audience Report charted a 10.1% year-over-year increase in site visits during August of 2014 to January of 2015 from the same time period in 2013-2014, while tabbing average monthly traffic for digital magazines at 1.6 billion (as opposed to 1.4 billion during those same months in 2013-2014).
  • In April, first-quarter social media performance from around the digital publishing industry in 2015 was on the agenda, and the numbers were revealing: Despite the sustained dominance of Facebook, the Audience Report pointed to Instagram as the best bet for magazines, which saw an 18% jump on the social photo-sharing platform over the last quarter of 2014. In addition, magazines racked up more than 10 million followers on Twitter during the first quarter. Notable performance trends included health & fitness realm on Twitter, which saw 6.2% growth; science & tech on Google+, 4.7%; luxury (15.3%) and travel (27.6%) on Instagram.
  • Later that month, Magazine Media 360° released its overall Q1 report, in which it recorded a 10.2% year-over-year spike in total visits, and total traffic for digital magazines at 1.73 billion, up from 1.55 billion in the 2014. Mobile consumption skyrocketed 65.3% , accounting for much of the surge.


Now, those stats and many more have been collected in the MPA’s Magazine Media Factbook recently released and available for download at – the digital publishing industry’s (as well as print’s) definitive compilation of magazine media research and statistics.

“The 2015 edition includes graphics with data from the recently launched Magazine Media 360° Brand Audience Report,” the MPA says in a statement, “as well as figures and trends from third-party sources demonstrating the growth, vibrancy, and appeal of print and digital editions, magazine brand apps, and social media.”

Here’s a small sampling of key facts and figures from the MPA Factbook:

  • Digital edition magazine readers are younger, more educated, and wealthier than the average U.S. adult
  • The percentage of U.S. adults who read digital edition magazines has more than quadrupled over the past 3 years
  • Web, mobile web, and video represent 40% of magazine media’s total gross audience, compared to 34% a year ago
  • 14 of the top 15 (and 45 of the top 50) highest grossing Lifestyle iPad apps are magazine brands
  • 4 of the top 5 highest grossing Health & Fitness iPad apps are magazine brands
  • 8 of the top 10 highest grossing Food & Drink iPad apps are magazine brands

That’s rather impressive stuff, wouldn’t you say?

The MPA – in measuring multiplatform publishing data from upward of 150 magazine brands from more than 30 companies, representing 95% of total readers – is using metrics and sources available to all parties, including: GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer and TeenMark; the Media Metrix, Mobile Media Metrix, and Video Metrix from comScore; and Nielsen’s NetView, Mobile NetView, and VideoCensus.

Here’s how Magazine Media 360° defines its categories:

Print+Digital: The unduplicated estimate of average issue readers

Desktop/Laptop: The number of uniques that have visited a website on a desktop or laptop at least once in the specified reporting period

Mobile: The number of uniques that have visited a website via mobile device – including iOS and Android – at least one time during the reporting period

Video: Unique viewers who watched a video at least once during the reporting period via a player owned/operated by the publisher – regardless of where that video was viewed – and/or, if reported, through a separate, clearly branded channel.

“It’s always inspiring to see magazine media’s story laid out by the numbers,” said MPA President and CEO Mary Berner, “particularly now as we expand the delivery of our trusted, created and valued content to a bigger audience, including the most desirable demographics, across new platforms and formats.”

Are you inspired? Have you read through the MPA’s Magazine Media Factbook? Let us know your favorite facts and figures in the comments!


Leave a Reply