By Paul Pannone
Wedding Water Cooler members now known as Coolies, discussed wedding magazine circulation, subscriptions and general information. But some said they’re still miffed by the term pass along, wondering if there is a standard way to measure how often a bridal magazine is really passed through. Some magazines tout having a higher pass along rate than others but who is really there to confirm the information?
”What science, surveys, and frequency do they use to calculate “pass along – pass through? When you look at this number as a baseline in calculating “total readership” then there should be some transparency in how publishers get to both. If an audited statement shows distribution of 125K per issue, and media kits quote total readership of 5M per issue, by doing the math, that seems to indicates that each and every copy is read by 30-40 people. Can that be? Are all 125k passed along, or picked up by 30-40 people? If these numbers are used to set rate cards and advertising values, then it becomes even more important for advertisers to question those numbers,” said Francombe.
Francombe, along with other WWC members agree the mysterious term “pass along rate” could use some amplification.
Wedding analyst, Christine Boulton also questioned pass along and agreed with Francombe saying, “That kind of extrapolation could only come close to working for the mags like US and People that end up in the Doctor’s waiting room. The way brides tear pages, by the time something like Brides made it to reader 30 it would be nothing but a naked spine.”
Fashion expert and publisher at Bridal Guide Magazine, Jim Duhe, recalls a time when the wedding business was robust enough to sustain many magazines but conceded the time was before digital; when brides turned to print for their bridal information. Today there are three. Martha Stewart leads in news stand sales, followed by Bridal Guide and Brides.
Wedding advertiser/marketer, Steve Lang, gave his opinion of how the current national line up of bridal magazines measure up.
“Martha Stewart has a mystic around it but she is trying to sell the empire so who knows if the news stand figures are pumped up. I would only trust an audited Publishers statement, not just the ABC report. Brides says that their true customer is the ultimate consumer. These are the facts I have presented to them:
Only 3-4% of market is couture (and declining) ; that means 96-97% is average bride spending between $600 and $1500 for the bulk of purchasing, yet, their editorials are so stilted to couture that it is laughable. They feel that the ultimate consumer is their only true customers–then why direct 97% of your editorial to a customer that is only 3-4% of the market? To show 97% of brides what they cannot afford?”
According to Steve Lang, Bridal Guide offers the most mass appeal to readers and advertising value to its customers.
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