Digital-​Only Magazine Audience Continues to Grow

Magazine publishers continue to roll out both traditional and digital versions of their publications. While some consumers may be reading their favorite glossy in both formats, others are devoted solely to the online channel. Advertisers need to know the size of this audience and for the first time, GfK MRI is making that data available.

Analysts at GfK MRI calculate total gross magazine audience as being the number of consumer exposures to any magazine-​branded content, regardless of platform. Last year, the total audience reached 1.6 billion. Here’s how the audience breaks out by platform type:

  • Print Only Audience: 1.278 billion (81%)
  • Combined Print and Digital Audience: 135 million (8%)
  • Digital Only Audience: 166 million: (11%)

Researchers also discovered that the digital-​only audience possesses some unique demographic characteristics. For example, men comprise 63% of this group while women make up only 37%. Households with an average income exceeding $100,000 are about 36% of the digital-​only readers and this is defined as consuming the content on any device ranging from a desktop PC to a tablet to smart phone. In addition, consumers who access digital magazines are well educated with 42% of the group possessing at least a bachelor’s degree.


Not surprisingly, age appears to be correlated with a higher incidence of digital-​magazine reading as these numbers show:

  • Baby Boomers: 20%
  • Gen Xers: 24%
  • Millennials: 54%

Advertisers will likely study these numbers carefully as they determine their media mix with respect to traditional versus digital budget allocations for magazines.

[Source: Digital-​Only Magazine Reading is 11% of Total Gross Audience. Gfkmri​.com. 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.