Prior to joining Cumulus, Mary Berner helped refresh the magazine industry by creating a data driven offer: a money back guarantee.

The initiative, called the Print Magazine Sales Guarantee, was developed while Berner ran the medium’s chief trade group, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.

According to the Wall Street Journal, along with the money back guarantee, the trade group also launched a monthly audience measurement tool that counts how many readers are consuming magazine content in print and online (including video), and via their smartphones, computers (desktop and laptops) and tablets.

Closer to home for radio, the money back guarantee is backstopped by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, which measures retail sales data.

According to the WSJ article, the agreement is being offered by “16 major media companies representing 72% of the total magazine audience in the U.S.” including Time Inc,  Meredith Corp, Hearst Magazines, and Condé Nast.

No Race to the Bottom

Most notably, this is not a race to the bottom by magazine publishers. Quite the contrary. In order to qualify, advertisers have to increase their annual spending.

It’s a bold and confident move by an industry that according to AdAge, hasn’t seen an increase in total ad pages since 2005.

Thanks to their own guarantee, Time Inc, now touts, “on average every dollar invested in a print ad returns an uptick of $17 in sales.”

Other key qualifications of the program include, “a print campaign needs to reach approximately 125 million adults 18 years old and over an average of three times during a 12-month period, be it through ads in a single title or across a company’s entire portfolio of magazines. This assures that enough people see the print advertising to drive sales.”

Those poor bastards in print media, might just be on to something. Starting with the revolutionary concept of getting paid more this year than last and campaigns being large enough to predictably move the needle.

Just this month, a report out of Seattle highlighted how good business is at the city’s most prominent news stand, First & Pike News.

According to owner Lee Lauckhart, “radio was going to kill newspapers. TV was going to kill radio. The Internet was going to kill it all.” Before continuing, “There are more magazines now than ever.”

At DMR/Interactive, we’re excited about the year ahead for radio as we help clients visualize their audience and get to know their Super-Fans and Amplifiers by name.

To learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals in 2016, send us an email to schedule a confidential and complimentary market analysis.

– Andrew Curran, President and COO


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