While New Zealand’s media inddustry debates the merits of a potential NZME Fairfax merger, the Australian magazine industry is rife with rumours of a potential merger between its two biggest players, Pacific Magazines and Bauer Media.
The scuttlebut says media giant Bauer has approached Seven West Media to make an offer on its Pacific Magazines division in a bid to stamp out local competition and cut costs. They allege only a few of Pacific’s print titles are profitable, therefore a merger could slash major costs for both companies and would offer a stronger product to advertisers.
Pacific and Bauer have made no comment on the speculation. Soon to be merged printers PMP and IPMG are the major printers for Bauer and Pacific.
It has been a tough year for print magazines with dwidling circulation figures forcing Bauer to drop several of its flagship titles such as Cleo, Women’s Fitness, Zoo Weekly, Madison and Grazia.
Pacific is no stranger to this, it has also sold off or cut a number of titles this year including Prevention, Your Garden, K-Zone, Total Girl, while going with a pure digital strategy for Practical Parenting and Bride to Be.
However, it has not been all doom and gloom for the industry with the latest Roy Morgan Australian Magazine Print Readership figures for September reporting print magazine readership levels were boosted by 2.7 per cent compared to last year.
Earlier this year Pacific made a bold move by taking back control of the digital ecosystems of its magazine titles, which were previously managed by Yahoo7, signalling the publisher’s strategic focus on digital.
In September, Bauer’s German head office declared printed magazines the company’s cash cow for 2015, with magazine sales contributing €1.292bn while its digital division paled in comparison, delivering €122m.
However, despite magazines continuing to provide the majority of the company’s sales turnover, print sales actually declined 23 per cent year-on-year in comparison to Bauer’s digital division which surged 16.2 per cent.