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Analysis Of The Teenage Magazine Market Sector

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1851 words Published: 24th Apr 2017

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The following section of the plan provides a brief analysis of the teenage magazine market sector. In particular, total volume and value of sales is investigated and critically discussed. Furthermore, it is necessary to provide an assessment and analysis of the key competitors in the market sector and the target group of consumers. Advertising expenditures are also explored in this section. In addition, it will be relevant to scan the external environment of the industry which includes political, economic, social and technological factors unified under PEST framework. Thus, this section will attempt to make a contribution to the identification of the potential opportunities, which may be used for a new brand.

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The following graph illustrates the total yearly subscriptions for the UK magazines by sector. As it may be seen from the histogram, children and teenage magazines constitute the most numerous and dominant sector. They account for as much as 32.7% of the whole magazine market. The second largest sector is women’s traditional magazines. Its market share is equal to 12.9%. Other sectors with the market shares ranging from 10% to 11% are TV listings, men’s monthlies, sports and music and the remaining sectors. The least popular type of magazines is home interest as they were found to account for only 4.2% of the market. These findings reveal that children and teenage magazines are most popular among the UK readers.

The next graph reveals that the total volume of sales of teenage magazines in the UK has fallen in the recent past. It may be observed that in 2008, as many as 47,535,000 units of magazines were sold. The indicator decreased to the level of 41,794,000 units in 2009. Moreover, in 2010, the total volume of sales constituted only 38,040,000. Hence, the market for teenage magazines in the UK has been going down. This reduction of sales may be explained by the growing popularity of on-line media and portals for teenagers. Printed magazines are often substituted by social networking and entertaining web applications.

This tendency may be discussed in the light of the standard product life cycle (PLC) curve. As presented by the following graph, the PLC curve consists of the four main stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. These stages imply different changes in the volume of sales. The recent fall of the volume of sales of the UK teenage magazines indicates that the product passes through the decline stage. It means that the producers of the UK teenage magazines will not achieve the maximum volume of sales unless the product is improved or changed.

Correspondingly, the total value of sales of teenage magazines has reduced recently. In 2008, the value of sales constituted £99,039,000. The indicator decreased to the level of £88,245,000 in 2009. In 2010, the reduction of sales value continued and the indicator reached £86,138,000. The fall of volume and value occurred during the period 2008-2010. Hence, it may be concluded that the UK market for teenage magazines has been shrinking and narrowing.

Among the major competitors in the UK market for teenage magazines it is valid to mention Elle Girl, Glamour, GQ, Grazia Magazine, Heat, New!, OK! and Yours. Their relative market shares are reported in the following figure.

As it may be seen from the histogram, New!, Ok! and Glamour are the most popular teenage magazine brands in the UK. Their market shares are equal to 15.7%, 15.4% and 13.5% respectively. The market share of Heat constitutes as much as 12.4%. Such brands as Grazia, Yours, Elle Girl and GQ occupy 6.7%, 6.5%, 5.1% and 3.1% of the market. Other brands, which are less popular, account for 21.6% of the market. Critical analysis of these brands may reveal that GQ is the worst performing magazine. Its market share is the smallest among ‘major’ magazines. This may be explained by the narrow specialisation of the magazine. The target audience of the magazine are males from 16 to 24 years old. Teen girls are more inclined to reading magazines than teen boys. The researchers reported that “girls read more screen and confession magazines” .

On the contrary, the most successful teenage magazine brands are New! and Ok! (these magazines have the largest market share in the UK market). This success can be explained by the proper and suitable content. The teenage magazines include celebrity interviews, dating tips, fashion tips and descriptions and samples of the popular cosmetic products. Such content is highly appreciated by the target audience. Another advantage over the rivals in the market segment is availability of the magazines. Teenage magazines have relatively low prices in comparison with other ‘glossies’. Furthermore, these magazines are universal. They are read by teenage girls as well as medium-aged women.

Brand positioning of the ‘major’ teenage magazines in the UK can be presented as follows. Kumar developed a special framework, which differentiates between economy brands, bargain brands, cowboy brands and premium brands. The differentiation is based on the two dimensions: quality and price of the production. The brand positioning framework can be graphically presented as shown below.

None of the mentioned magazines refers to the category of economy brands. The ‘major’ teenage magazines do not combine the two qualities, i.e. low quality and low price, at once. However, New! and Ok! can be classified as bargain brands. They belong to the moderate price category, but have very rich and diversified contents. Grazia Magazine, Yours and Heat are of lower quality, but more expensive. Hence, it allows for classifying them as cowboy brands. Finally, Elle Girl, Glamour and GQ are positioned as premium brands.

It has already been mentioned that girls read teenage magazines more often than boys. Hence, the major target audience are teenage girls. The following graph provides a comparison of the percentage of teenage girls and teenage boys reading magazines.

It may be observed that 55% of male teenagers are found to enjoy reading magazines. However, the female readers of teenage magazines are even more numerous and constitute 63% of all female teenagers. These findings reveal that the target group for the majority of the magazine producers are female teenagers. Another fact, which proves these findings, is that male teenagers are also inclined to reading other specialised magazines besides teenage publications. The alternatives include sports magazines, technical magazines, PC and IT magazines and others.

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In accordance with Kaiser Family Foundation all magazines discussed above are targeted at clearly specified groups of consumers. For instance, Elle Girl is targeted at younger sisters of the readers of Elle. Furthermore, it has been revealed that girls from 12 to 17 years old comprise up to 26% of the total number of females reading different magazines. Nevertheless, these magazines can hardly be segmented by their contents. The point is that all of them contain articles about celebrities, fashion, relationships, etc. In addition, it can be stated that the market could not be segmented according to the social classes of the teenage reader. It may be explained by the fact that teenage readers have mostly the same interests at this age regardless of the social background of their family.

It is argued by Form (1995) that “segmentation theory deals with the problems of coordinating huge entities like institutions, sectors, strata, or society; it holds that individual groups generally place their inter ests above those of the groups with which they interact, creating problems of intergroup coordination” (Form, 1995). Relying on this statement, it may be argued that there are no many conflicts between the segments of the teenage magazine market in the UK. The point is that the difference between the demands and interests of teenage girls is not very large. It has been mentioned that they have similar interests. Hence, the majority of magazines can be easily substituted with other types.

As it may be seen from the following graph, the publishers of teenage magazines use different media for advertising their production.

Newspaper advertisement comprises as much as 29%. It may be stated that such a considerable percentage of newspaper ads cannot be justified since teenagers are expected to spend more time in the Internet than reading newspapers. However, if their parents subscribe to newspapers, teenagers can see the advertisement in the papers. Radio ads, TV ads and internet ads comprise 22%, 22% and 18% respectively. ‘Outdoor’ advertisement constitutes only 9% of all advertising. The costs of advertising are summarised in the graph below.

The figure has reported that the total teenage magazine advertising expenditure has been reduced recently. In 2008, the UK publishers of the teenage magazines spent about £14,593,000 on advertising of their production. In 2009, the indicator decreased to the level of £12,043,000. However, the advertising expenditure was equal to £11,452,000 in 2010. The reduction of the total advertising expenditure may be explained by the overall decline in the market. It has already been stated that the total number of units of magazines produced yearly decreased too. Furthermore, the influence of the global financial crisis could have additional pressure on companies and make them reduce advertising costs.

The advertising to sales ratio constituted 0.28 in 2005. In other words, the UK magazine publishers spent on average £0.28 on advertising a £1 worth magazine. It is understandable that premium brands and cowboy brands had different advertising budgets. Nevertheless, the indicator illustrates the average ratio.

As it may be seen from the graph, the main types of retail outlets where teenage magazines are sold are supermarkets, other multiples and independents. Another important thing, which should be grasped from the histogram, is that the percentage of sales in each type of outlets has changed recently. In 1997, supermarkets were the least popular outlet for selling teenage magazines. Only 19% of all teenage magazines were sold there. Nevertheless, in 2007, supermarkets contributed to the sales of up to 32% of all teenage magazines. The percentage of teenage magazines sold in other multiples in 1997 and 2007 changed insignificantly. The indicator had fallen from 34% to 33% by 2007. However, the sales by independents had reduced from 42% to 37% by 2007.

Delivery to retail outlets is the final stage of the teenage magazine supply chain. Today, supermarkets are becoming more and more popular as teenage magazine retailers as the graph above has revealed. However, supply chain of teenage magazines is much more complex than it may seem from the first sight. The timing of the average teenage magazine supply chain is presented in Appendix.


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