Characteristics of Magazine Readers
The magazine is a different medium from television. The latter is the largest advertising medium with an almost universal penetration of the population. By comparison, the magazine is a print medium and typically contains a fair amount of text to go with photos and illustrations. This requires some minimal level of literacy. As well, whereas television is free in theory (with the exception of the one-time cost of the purchase of the television set as well as optional subscription to television), the cover price of magazine can be relatively hefty. However, magazines can be circulated around and there are very often many readers per copy.
Due to these considerations, it is unlikely that magazine readership is universal among the population. Furthermore, we would expect magazine readers to differ in systematic ways from the non-readers. We will now cite some data from IBOPE Colombia's TGI Colombia study, which is based up 7,035 survey respondents between the ages of 12 to 64 years old interviewed in 1999.
According to this study, 37% of persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old are magazine readers. The definition of magazine readership is based upon 'recent reading' --- the respondent has read an issue of a magazine title within the publication period (e.g. having read a weekly magazine within the last 7 days, or a monthly magazine within the last 30 days). Here, the list of magazines is restricted to a list of more than 100 different magazine titles (weekly, biweekly, monthly, newspaper magazine supplements and airline in-flight magazines). As such, this estimate understates total magazine readership, although the list of measured titles are certainly the most popular ones that are considered by the advertising industry.
In the following table, we show the demographic breakdown of magazine readers. Magazine readership is shown to be highly correlated with socio-economic level, education and occupation.
|Demographic Characteristics / Classes||% Read Magazine|
|Age / Sex
Alto (6, 5, 4)
|Highest academic degree obtained
Director / Senior manager & administrator
Middle manager / administrator
(Source: TGI Colombia, IBOPE Colombia)
Due to these characteristics of magazine readers, they enjoy a relative advantage in certain types of advertising. In the following table, we show the situation for the personal computer field. Magazine readers are more likely to own personal computers at home and to have purchased personal computers recently.
|Among Persons 12-64||Among Magazine Readers|
|Have personal computer at home||9.1%||15.2%|
|Bought personal computer in last 12 months||1.6%||3.4%|
(Source: TGI Colombia, IBOPE Colombia)
The magazine readers in the above table refers to readers of any magazine. In practice, given any specific application area, it is possible to specialize in magazines that are related to the subject. For example, in this instance, if we keyed on the readers of computer-related magazines (namely, BYTE, PC Magazine en Español and PC World), the percent of persons who own home personal computers is 39.3% and the percent who bought within the last 12 months soars to 14.6%. Indeed, this is a tautology in the sense that a person would not be reading these titles unless they have some level of interest and experience in the computer field. For this reason, computer hardware and software manufacturers and resellers are often willing to place ads in computer magazine titles without hard research data, because the target audience is deemed to be self-selected for these titles. Of course, another reason is that computer magazine ads are especially effective as some of their readers are more interested in the magazine ads (which can be much more detailed in the technical specifications than television ads) than in the editorial content.
(posted by Roland Soong on 5/15/00)
(Return to Zona Latina's Home Page)