Magazine article Marketing

Same Kids More Money

Magazine article Marketing

Same Kids More Money

Article excerpt

Two-thirds of today's youngsters have a TV in their room. What does this say about their growing power as consumers?

It is something of a myth that kids today are different from us old-timers. The truth is, they still mope around their bedrooms, get chucked by people they fancy and try to copy their cool classmates.

With that note of caution, however, there are changes in children's lifestyles that are significant.

First, the range of consumer products targeted at kids is greater than ever - as is their disposable income. Second, their consumption of media is becoming increasingly complex and, finally, they are acknowledged to be more advertising-literate.

A lot of hype has focused on the growth of an MTV generation, which spends its time either watching satellite TV or playing Sega and Nintendo games.

If that's not bad enough, there is the multimedia revolution. Interactive kiosks are springing up in record shops and this month witnessed the arrival of a CD-ROM magazine called UnZip. Although its tone and price are targeted at a young adult market, there is a perception that the youth market will soon be ripe for both CD-ROM and Internet products.

Magazines remain a primary kids' medium- particularly at the high end of the age range where there have recently been launches, It's Bliss and Sugar.

The market is dominated by Emap Metro, which publishes the top five titles in the 11- to 19-year-old range. More!, Smash Hits, Big!, Just 17 and Looks sell between 250,000 and 400,000 copies per issue. Their rivals are IPC's Mizz (195,000), 19 (203,000) and Attic Futura's TV Hits, which sells 207,000.

Emap Metro publisher Barbara Patterson says: "Young people are prolific magazine purchasers. They spend [pounds]3m a month buying our magazines, which are up 14% year-on-year in circulation."

It's a different story from the early 90s, when the demographics were turning against teenagers. Now, says Patterson, there will be an extra 500,000 of them by the end of the decade. Hence last month's launch of It's Bliss - expected to settle down with a circulation around 200,000 - aimed at teenage girls.

Patterson admits that boys are harder to catch: "Magazines like Match do well but generally, boys like things, while girls like emotions. I wouldn't know where to start with a launch for teenage boys."

In 1994-95, the Emap titles showed a 37% increase in ad revenue, partly due to a more flexible approach to group selling and an upturn in the record business. "Advertisers are more confident and we're encouraging them to use response mechanisms."

Neil Raaschou is managing director of rival Attic Futura. Following the growth of TV Hits, the company launched a monthly title, Sugar, for 15 to 18-year old girls last October. An audit of the first four issues shows a 205,000 circulation.

Raaschou believes Sugar and TV Hits represent a quality environment for advertisers and the industry needs to encourage clients into the medium.

"They still see TV as being the most important medium. We're working hard to promote magazines as something that can extend the life of a TV campaign. TV watching is a low priority for teenagers, but their magazines are a social thing," he says.

Magazine purchasing clearly reflects the changing mood among teenagers. Boys in particular have a fascination with computer games - a market which should be boosted by the upgraded consoles about to be launched in Europe by Sony, Sega and Nintendo. Publishers in turn must reflect that fact.

Emap might bemoan the halving of Smash Hits' circulation in the last few years, but it is presumably comforted by the success of its high cover-price, games titles CU Amiga (105,000), Nintendo Magazine System (71,000) and Mean Machine Sega (68,000).


Programme                          TVRs

4-9 year olds

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids            42
Gladiators                          40
ET                                  40
Ghostbusters 2                      37
Do it Yourself, Mr Bean             36


Neighbours                          42
National Lottery                    38
EastEnders                          38
Twins                               37
Casualty                            37

(Source BARB/AGB)
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