As the magazine industry pores over the latest set of ABC figures, with the usual picture of very mixed results, Readly, the digital magazine newsstand, has delivered a dramatic 102% year-on-year rate of growth for the first half of 2017, clearing over 5.8m issues read in the six-month period.
Between January and June 2017, Readly subscribers opened 5,842,589 issues of UK magazine brands. This is more than double the 2.9 million figure seen in the January to June 2016 period.
Ranj Begley, Readly UK’s Managing Director, said: “Our rate of growth accelerated dramatically from the second half of 2016 on.It has been a real achievement to have maintained that momentum into 2017. This is due to two key factors. Firstly, we have been investing in consumer promotions to boost our subscriber numbers. Secondly, we have been stimulating our existing subscribers to read more. Back in 2015, the average Readly reading time was 5 hours per month; this has now risen to 7.5 hours. We are becoming more embedded in our customers’ lives, with 40% of Readly subscribers using the app every day. The average is 4.5 reading sessions per week with each session typically lasting for 22 minutes.”
Readly is the UK’s leading digital newsstand and has pioneered the all-you-can-read subscription with a monthly fee of £7.99 which currently gives consumers access to a range of 713 UK magazine brands from 98 publishers, as well as a growing inventory of international titles.
The market-beating growth of Readly demonstrates that it is in the newsstand environment, where there is a wide range of titles to choose from, that consumers seem much more open to the idea of digital reading. The digital newsstand is the place where magazine readers seem adventurous and experimental, while they tend to be more conservative and habit-driven when consuming in print.
Top Ten most read titles by gender
Begley: “Our Top Ten list of the most read titles can actually change a lot from month to month, driven mainly by the pulling power of the covers, but also influenced by marketing and promotional activity behind specific titles. It is very similar to a bricks-and-mortar newsagent, just more dynamic. And more trackable. We can monitor which pages are read and which ads are viewed. So, we can provide publishers with really granular data on how their magazines are being consumed. We often work with them to help tweak and improve their products.”
A significant proportion of the increase in Readly reading times is due to “snacking” – people reading in short bursts when commuting or in between other tasks during the day. This is where digital magazines come into their own due to their portability and ease of use.
Begley: “In response to the growth in snacking, in April we launched our enhanced mobile reading option for using Readly on smaller screens. Most of our subscribers are multi-device. They use a smartphone on the move and a tablet at home for those longer, immersive “me time” sessions. We need to be constantly enhancing the user experience to drive more usage. At the same time, we are also increasing our magazine range to offer subscribers more choice and the excitement of discovery – what Netflix and Spotify are so good at. The latest figures prove that all this activity is bearing real fruit and that Readly has become an important shop window for the magazine industry as well as a profitable sales channel in its own right.”