Digital competition: Firms will be forced to 
innovate to keep up with changing technology

IBISWorld Industry Report J5412

Magazine and Directory 
Publishing in Australia

July 2013 Alen Allday

2 About this Industry

2 Industry Definition

2 Main Activities

2 Similar Industries

2 Additional Resources

3 Industry at a Glance

4 Industry Performance

4 Executive Summary

4 Key External Drivers

5 Current Performance

7 Industry Outlook

9 Industry Life Cycle

11 Products & Markets

11 Supply Chain

11 Products & Services

12 Demand Determinants

13 Major Markets

15 International Trade

16 Business Locations

18 Competitive Landscape

18 Market Share Concentration

18 Key Success Factors

18 Cost Structure Benchmarks

20 Basis of Competition

20 Barriers to Entry

21 Industry Globalisation

22 Major Companies

22 Telstra Corporation Limited

23 Bauer Media Limited

24 Seven West Media Limited

25 Fairfax Media Limited

26 News Australia Holdings Pty Limited

28 Operating Conditions

28 Capital Intensity

29 Technology & Systems

29 Revenue Volatility

30 Regulation & Policy

30 Industry Assistance

31 Key Statistics

31 Industry Data

31 Annual Change

31 Key Ratios

32 Jargon & Glossary

www.ibisworld.com.au | (03) 9655 3881 | info@ibisworld.com



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 2

About this Industry

Industry Definition

This industry includes companies engaged 
in publishing directories and mailing lists, 
or magazines or periodicals issued less 
frequently than weekly. Magazine and 
periodical companies are included if their 
main source of income is the sale of 
advertising space in their own 
publications. The industry excludes 
magazines and other publications that only 
have an online presence, but includes 
online revenue from companies that print 
actual magazines and publish on-line.

The primary activities of this industry are

Periodical publishing (except internet-only companies and publications)

Magazine publishing (except internet-only companies and publications)

Directories (except internet-only companies and publications)

Telephone directories (except internet-only companies and publications)

Mailing list directories (except internet-only companies and publications)

Main Activities 

The major products and services in this industry are

Mailing lists

Other directories

Other magazines and periodicals

Telephone directories

Women’s magazines

Similar Industries

C1611 Printing in Australia

Companies in this industry print a range of materials except for newspapers.

J5411 Newspaper Publishing in Australia

Firms in this industry are primarily focused on printing and publishing newspapers.

J5413 Book Publishing in Australia

Businesses in this industry publish books, prints, maps, sheet music and telephone directories.

J5700 Internet Publishing and Broadcasting in Australia

Publishing magazines, other periodicals and directories exclusively on the internet are included in 
this industry.

Additional Resources

For additional information on this industry

www.abs.gov.au
Australian Bureau of Statistics

www.magazines.org.au
Magazine Publishers of Australia

www.pneb.com.au
Publishers National Environment Bureau

www.publishersbureau.com.au
Publishers’ Advertising Advisory Bureau



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 3

Industry at a Glance

Magazine and Directory Publishing in 2013-14

Annual Growth 09-14

-6.5%

Annual Growth 14-19

-1.6%

Revenue

$3.1bn

Key Statistics 
Snapshot

Businesses

1,201

Profit

$492.6m

Exports

$50.8m

Index13080901001101201905070911131517YearConsumer sentiment indexSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU% change8-16-12-8-4042006081012141618YearRevenueEmploymentRevenue vs. employment growth
Market Share

Telstra 
Corporation 
Limited 29.4%

Bauer Media 
Limited 22.2%

News Australia 
Holdings Pty 
Limited 2.8%

p. 22

Establishments41.9%NSW1.3%
ACT25.2%
VIC0.6%
TAS0.5%
NT20.3%
QLD5.9%
WA4.3%
SASOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU
Key External Drivers

Consumer 
sentiment index

Internet connections

Real household 
disposable income

Demand from newspaper 
and book retailing

Total time available for 
leisure and recreation

Demand from book and 
magazine wholesaling

p. 4

SOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU

Industry Structure

Life Cycle Stage Decline

Revenue Volatility Medium

Capital Intensity Low

Industry Assistance Low

Concentration Level Medium

Regulation Level Medium

Technology Change Medium

Barriers to Entry High

Industry Globalisation Medium

Competition Level High

FOR ADDITIONAL STATISTICS AND TIME SERIES SEE THE APPENDIX ON PAGE 31



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 4

Industry Performance

Executive Summary | Key External Drivers | Current Performance
Industry Outlook | Life Cycle Stage

Executive
Summary

Magazines entertain and inform 
consumers on particular areas of interest, 
periodicals inform and educate readers 
about specific topics and provide details 
about related developments, and 
directories and mailing lists help people 
to find other people, organisations and 
places. Magazines can also provide a 
medium for readers’ aspirations, which 
can also make them an attractive medium 
for advertisers. Most directories tend to 
rely on advertising for income, while 
mailing lists are mainly sold to 
businesses for their own advertising 
campaigns. Therefore, the main final 
markets for publishers are households 
and businesses.

The Magazine and Directory Publishing 
industry is expected to generate revenue 
of $3.1 billion in 2013-14, down 4.7% for 
the year. Industry revenue is expected to 
decrease by an annualised 6.5% in the five 
years through 2013-14 due to increased 
competition from internet sources and 
lower revenue streams from online 
publications. Industry revenue is expected 
to contract due to a weaker advertising 
market and a drift away by readers and 
advertisers from printed media to online 
media, which the industry is having 
difficulties taking advantage of.

Industry profit margins have come 
under pressure due to the slump in 
revenue over the past five years. The 
industry has responded by introducing 
online content that complements existing 
printed publications and by deepening 
their involvement in specific markets. 
However, this has added another layer of 
costs. Online profit margins tend to be 
lower compared with print margins. 
While this trend is expected to continue 
in future years, publishers are unlikely to 
develop robust strategies to take 
advantage of increased online activity.

Industry revenue is forecast to 
decrease by an annualised 1.6% in the 
five years through 2018-19 to $2.8 
billion, including a 2.3% decline in 
2014-15. Slight improvements in 
economic conditions and advertising 
markets in Australia over much of the 
next five years will benefit the industry. 
Industry performance will continue to 
be hampered by intense competition 
from digital and competing media. 
Nevertheless, the internet and digital 
devices offer publishers opportunities 
to retain and grow their combined 
print and online readership, provide 
value added content through 
complementary content, podcasts, 
blogs and analysis tools, and further 
stratify their markets, all of which 
could improve selling propositions to 
both readers and advertisers.

Key External Drivers

Consumer sentiment index

Consumer sentiment influences retail 
sales and, in turn, spending by retailers 
and other businesses on advertising. In 
addition, consumer sentiment is a factor 
determining the amount spent by 
consumers on magazines, which affects 
demand for advertising in magazines. 
Consumer sentiment is expected to 
improve in 2013-14, which will provide 
an opportunity for the industry to limit 
expected revenue declines.

Internet connections

The internet is offering products that 
compete with printed magazines and 
directories, but also provides 
opportunities for publishers to build an 
on-line presence. However, growth in the 
popularity of the internet and the range of 
products and services sold on the internet 
is negatively impacting the industry 
overall, and is a threat to revenue levels 
for publishers. IBISWorld forecasts that 
the number of internet connections in 
Australia will increase in 2013-14.

Real household disposable income

The level and rate of growth in household 
incomes influence the amount spent on 
magazines and magazine circulation, in 
turn affecting demand for advertising in 



Industry Performance

magazines. With expected growth in 
household income in 2013-14, this may 
help to limit expected industry revenue 
falls for the year.

Demand from newspaper 
and book retailing

The availability of cost-effective 
distribution channels, such as newsagents 
and supermarkets, can increase exposure 
of, and demand for, printed magazines 
and directories. Printed magazines are 
particularly reliant on copy sales through 
retailers. However, demand from 
newspaper and book retailers is expected 
to decline in 2013-14.

Total time available for 
leisure and recreation

Leisure and creation is highly correlated 
to the amount of reading that the general 
population engages in. The more time 
that people have to devote to leisure and 
recreation, the more time that people can 
devote to reading magazines and browse 
through a range of directories. Leisure 
time in Australia is expected to only 
increase slightly in 2013-14, benefitting 
the industry.

Demand from book and 
magazine wholesaling

The availability of cost-effective 
distribution channels, including 
wholesalers, newsagents, supermarkets 
and bookstores, can increase magazine 
exposure and demand, as well as increase 
the level of sales for magazine and 
directory publishers through ease of 
purchase. However, demand from 
magazine wholesalers is expected to 
decline in 2013-14 due to a weaker market.

Key External Drivers

continued

% change100246820081012141618YearReal household disposable incomeSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AUIndex13080901001101201905070911131517YearConsumer sentiment index
Current 
Performance

The Magazine and Directory Publishing 
industry is on a downward trend, with 
revenue estimated to decrease by an 
annualised 6.5% in the five years through 
2013-14 to $3.1 billion. Revenue has 
declined in every year over the five-year 
period and is expected to drop by 4.7% in 
2013-14. Migration of customers to 
substitute products and services offered 
via the internet will be the biggest factor 
driving down industry revenue. Industry 
profitability has declined over the past 
five years, from 19.8% of industry 
revenue in 2008-09 to an estimated 
16.1% in 2013-14, largely due to a drop in 
revenue and competitive pressures on 
selling prices. Because of these 
conditions, the number of firms 
operating in the industry has declined, 
while employee numbers have also fallen.



Industry Performance

Revenue generated by the magazine and 
periodical segment is expected to 
decrease by 4.5% per annum in the five 
years through 2013-14. Segment profit 
margins are expected to come under 
pressure due to a slump in advertising 
revenue and a decrease in circulations. 
This will be partly offset by the influence 
of efficiency and productivity gains. The 
magazine publishing segment has 
consolidated. Major players in Australia 
have acquired businesses and formed 
magazine joint ventures to shore up their 
positions in niche markets.

Magazines and other periodicals have 
an influence over their audience and can 
inspire changes in society, technology, 
systems and the economy. Consumer 
magazines can influence societal and 
political trends and consumer buying 
behaviour. Professional and academic 
periodicals can facilitate lifelong 
learning and promote innovation in 
particular sectors of the economy. They 
also help people and organisations to 
keep up with changes occurring in 
technology and regulation, and with 
social, government and business trends 
and conditions. However, many 
professional and academic periodicals 
have migrated from print to the 
internet. The ability of magazines and 
other periodicals to inform readers 
about niche areas of interest on a 
regular basis, through both print and 
online formats, has helped the industry 
to grow. However, printed magazines 
and periodicals face mounting 
competition for both readers and 
advertisers from other media streams, 
such as TV, online content, competing 
websites and blogs.

Advertising accounts for about 40% of 
magazine and periodical revenue, although 
the contribution made by advertising to 
revenue varies by magazine and periodical 
title. For some consumer magazines, 
advertising accounts for up to 100% of 
revenue. Advertising in all media including 
magazines has been negatively affected by 
weak levels of household discretionary 
spending in Australia because of inflation 
in some major expenditure items, such as 
utilities, and an increase in household 
savings. In addition, bricks-and-mortar 
retailers, which form a major part of the 
Australian advertising market, are also 
suffering due to growth in online retail 
sales. As a result, some retailers have cut 
back on advertising.

Magazines and 
periodicals

 Weak household 
discretionary spending 
has negatively affected 
advertising

Directories and 
mailing lists

Revenue generated by the directories and 
mailing lists segment will decrease by 
9.6% per annum in the five years through 
2013-14. Sluggish retail spending 
conditions have had adverse effects on 
the demand for advertising in general, 
including in directories. Directories 
generate a significant percentage of their 
advertising revenue from small 
businesses, and many small businesses 
have struggled over the five years through 
2013-14. Directory users and advertisers 
have migrated away from printed 
directory products to solely online 
products, which has been particularly 
evident since 2010-11. While this trend 
has promoted digital directory revenue, it 
has adversely affected demand for higher 
yielding printed directories, leading to 
lower revenue and profit.

While the online advertising market is 
growing strongly, directories are rapidly 
losing market share to company websites, 
online search engines such as Bing, 
Google and Yahoo and online social and 
business networking platforms such as 
Facebook and LinkedIn. It is free to list a 
business on Google and it is free for 
individuals to list on Facebook and 
LinkedIn. According to data published by 
the Interactive Publishing Bureau of 
Australia in August 2012, expenditure on 



Industry Performance

search and directories in 2011-12, which 
accounted for 52.3% of total online 
advertising expenditure, increased by 
30% year on year. At the same time, 
Sensis directory revenue declined by 
15.5%, with a large drop in print revenue 
partially offset by an increase in online 
directory revenue.

Weak levels of advertising spending 
have hampered demand for mailing 
lists. Some large companies have 
reduced direct marketing and increased 
online advertising, such as keyword 
searches and banner advertising. In 
addition, the Privacy Act, the Do Not 
Call Register Act 2006 and the Spam 
Act 2003 have hampered growth in 
direct marketing.

Directories and 
mailing lists

continued

Industry 
Outlook

Revenue within the Magazine and 
Directory Publishing industry is forecast 
to decrease an annualised 1.6% in the five 
years through 2018-19 to $2.8 billion, 
including a forecast 2.3% decrease in 
2014-15. Customers will drift from print 
to lower margin digital products, which 
will also negatively affect industry 
profitability. In addition, the industry will 
face increasing competition from digitally 
focused operators. The resulting drop in 
industry activity will lead to decreases in 
the number of industry enterprises and 
employees. Operators in the industry 
tend to be highly reliant on conditions in 
the advertising market. The level of 
economy-wide advertising expenditure in 
Australia is sensitive to economic activity. 
Growth in the Australian economy for the 
next five years is expected to be slightly 
higher than the five years through 
2013-14, although economic conditions 
are expected to be weak in 2017-18, 
which will negatively affect the industry.

Online advertising is accounting for a 
rising share of media advertising budgets. 
More advertisers are finding and reaching 
target audiences and niche markets 
through digital devices such as tablet 
computers and smartphones, enabled by 
online social and business networks, such 
as Facebook and LinkedIn, video-sharing 
websites and internet-based marketplaces. 
Nevertheless, digital devices and online 
solutions offer publishers the opportunity 
to retain and grow their print and online 
readership, provide value added content, 
such as complementary content, and 
further stratify their markets, all of which 
could improve selling propositions to both 
readers and advertisers. The internet also 
offers publishers a low-cost distribution 
platform and the opportunity to provide 
additional value to readers and users. 
Business models should seek to ensure that 
growth in profit from internet offerings is 
not overwhelmed by any reduction in profit 
earned by the print franchise.

% change8-16-12-8-4042006081012141618YearIndustry revenueSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU
Magazine and 
periodical publishing

The magazine publishing segment aims 
to entertain, inspire and inform its 
readers, and attempts to gain a loyal 
following to develop long-term sales 
trends. The extent to which the industry 
fulfils these aims greatly influences the 
readership and advertising activity for 
magazines and periodicals, and ability of 
publishers to retain readers. Large 
companies are often better able to fund 
diversification within markets and across 
distribution platforms, which can provide 



Industry Performance

stronger selling propositions. 
Consolidation within media industries 
may make it difficult for some small 
niche publishers to compete for retail 
shelf space and advertising dollars.

Segment revenue is forecast to decrease 
in the five years through 2018-19. In an 
environment of weak revenue growth, 
industry players are likely to concentrate 
on expanding their markets, closely 
examining the performance of titles and 
reducing their costs. Non-performing titles 
will be either revamped or quickly closed. 
Players will seek to minimise risks 
associated with the launch of new titles by 
licensing successful foreign titles or 
pursuing joint ventures with other players. 
IBISWorld expects clearly focused 
magazine operators serving specific and 
complementary market segments to gain 
an increasing share of advertising revenue. 
Up-market and aspirational magazines will 
do comparatively well. However, new titles 
will need to be specific and attractive to a 
niche audience to compete effectively with 
established titles.

Magazine and 
periodical publishing

continued

Directories

Printed directories will continue to face 
strong competition from online 
substitutes over the next five years. 
Advertisers will migrate from higher 
yielding printed directories to lower 
yielding online directories and online 
search products. The demand for 
printed street directories has been 
negatively affected by free online 
products and by the availability of 
satellite navigation products. Until 
recently, small businesses have been 
slow to respond to the uptake of digital 
technology by their customers, but this 
is changing as businesses realise the 
increasing marketing benefits of an 
online presence and strategy. Sensis, the 
largest operator in the printed directory 
market, aims to grow customer numbers 
in the long term by selling a wider range 
of products in the online space.

Sensis is facing increasing competition 
from online search operators such as 
Google and Yahoo, and companies that 
operate solely online. In the short to 
medium term, Sensis customer numbers 
are expected to fall as some businesses 
drop their print advertising without 
taking up Sensis online products. Sensis 
revenue has fallen significantly in recent 
years, with further falls expected as the 
migration to digital intensifies.

Despite challenges across the segment, 
some directory businesses are building 
their online offerings, which can be 
offered to advertisers at a lower cost. As a 
result, print yields will fall while digital 
yields will increase over time. Online 
directory publishers are also improving 
the currency of information, such as 
through real-time updating, and 
providing additional value added 
services, such as offering navigation 
services, consumer targeting, social 
media feeds, smartphone feeds and 
performance reporting.



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 9

Industry Performance

Many periodical, magazine and directory 
markets are at saturation level

Industry revenue and value 
added continue to decline

The industry is facing considerable competition 
from external online substitutes

There is some consolidation occurring 
among industry players

Life Cycle Stage



Industry Performance

Industry Life Cycle

The industry is considered to be in the 
decline phase of its life cycle due to large 
revenue, value added and profit falls in 
recent years. Industry value added (IVA) is 
expected to decrease by 4.7% per annum in 
the 10 years through 2018-19, while the 
Australian economy (GDP) is expected to 
grow at an annualised 2.5%. This means 
that the industry’s contribution to the 
Australian economy continues to decrease. 
The numbers of firms and employees in 
the industry are falling. There have been 
several mergers and acquisitions in the 
industry over recent years, and this trend 
is expected to continue in the five years 
through 2018-19.

There is also extensive market 
saturation in key product segments. 
Australia has a large number of consumer 
magazine titles and has the highest per 
capita magazine readership in the world. 
Furthermore, Australia is well served by 
printed and online directories. The per 
capita circulation of major older 
consumer magazine titles have declined 
over the long term, particularly in the 
women’s segment, such as Australian 
Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day.

Revenue of digital magazines and 
periodicals is increasing, but often at the 
expense of higher-margin print 
periodicals. In addition, competing 
online advertising sites, information sites 
such as Wikipedia and social sites such as 
Facebook and Twitter, will adversely 
affect growth in some printed periodical 
markets. The printed directory market is 
coming under attack from online 
directories and search engines, which are 
negatively affecting the industry.

 This industry 
is Declining 



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 11

Products & Markets

Supply Chain | Products & Services | Demand Determinants
Major Markets | International Trade | Business Locations

KEY BUYING INDUSTRIES

G4111 Supermarkets and Grocery Stores in Australia
Supermarkets and grocery stores are major distribution channels for consumer magazines.

G4112 Convenience Stores in Australia
Convenience stores, including those located at petrol station outlets, represent a major 
distribution channel for consumer magazines.

G4244 Newspaper and Book Retailing in Australia
Newspaper, book and stationery retailers represent a major distribution channel for consumer 
magazines and some directories.

M6942 Media Buying Agencies in Australia
Media buying agencies are a major purchaser of advertising space in magazines 
and directories.

KEY SELLING INDUSTRIES

C1510 Pulp, Paper and Paperboard Manufacturing in Australia
Paper is a major input in the production of printed magazines and periodicals and directories.

C1916 Paint and Coatings Manufacturing in Australia
Paint and coatings manufacturers sell raw materials to this industry.

F3735 Book and Magazine Wholesaling in Australia
Magazine and periodical wholesalers represent a distribution platform for publishers.

F3736 Paper Product Wholesaling in Australia
Paper is a major input in the production of printed magazines and periodicals and directories.

Supply Chain

Products & Services

The main products supplied by the 
industry are telephone directories, 
women’s magazines, other magazines 
and periodicals, mailing lists, and 
other directories.

Telephone directories

Telephone directories are estimated to 
account for 34.0% of industry revenue in 
2013-14, down from 40.0% in 2008-09, 
and with further falls expected in the five 
years through 2018-19. Internet search 
engines are negatively affecting demand 
for printed directories, and associated 
advertising in these publications. In 
addition, websites, email and social and 
business networking sites offer alternative 
ways to locate and connect with people 
and businesses. Sensis dominates this 
product segment, and will continue to 
account for a high proportion of revenue 
in future years despite anticipated large 
falls in company revenue.

Women’s magazines

Women’s magazines are the main 
product segment for magazines and 
periodicals, accounting for an estimated 
34.0% of industry revenue in 2013-14. 
These publications aim to entertain and 
inform, and they can be segmented by 
content type and their method of 
dissemination, such as print or online. 
In terms of circulation, the major 
product categories are women’s 
weeklies, fashion, food and special 
interest magazines. Despite its size, the 
women’s magazine category has suffered 
a long-term decline in circulation. There 
has been an evolving change in women’s 
interests away from family-type issues 
towards coverage of celebrities and 
personal growth topics, such as 
professional, finance and health issues. 
In addition, weakness in discretionary 
spending has affected sales of women’s 
magazines over the past few years.

Other magazines and periodicals

Within the other magazine and 
periodicals segment, these are estimated 
to be divided evenly between men’s 
magazines and other magazines, such as 
science, professional, finance, 



Products & Markets

architecture, business, children’s and 
general interest, with large changes in 
popular topics from year to year. This 
segment is estimated to account for 
29.0% of industry revenue in 2013-14.

Mailing lists

Mailing lists, which are estimated to 
account for 3.0% of industry revenue in 
2013-14, are mainly produced to assist 
businesses with their direct marketing 
campaigns. The segment has been 
negatively affected by the growing use of 
the internet and online networking 
platforms to connect with people and 
businesses, as well as by the growing 
availability of data obtained via the 
internet. Privacy legislation has restricted 
the gathering and use of information.

Other directories

Other directories include business 
directories, street directories and event 
directories. This segment is estimated to 
account for just 3.0% of industry revenue 
in 2013-14, with the majority of this 
received from circulation sales, rather 
than advertising.

Products & Services

continued

Products and services segmentation (2013-14)
Total $3.1bn34%Telephone directories31%
Women's magazines29%
Other magazines and periodicals3%
Mailing lists3%
Other directoriesSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU
Various factors influence demand for 
magazines, periodicals and directories.

Magazines and periodicals

The factors that determine demand for 
magazines and periodicals vary by 
revenue source, such as copy sales, 
subscriptions and advertising sales, and 
by product segment. Broadly, periodical 
subscriber and sales numbers are 
affected by the perceived value and cost 
of entertainment and the information 
offered by periodicals, relative to that 
offered by other media. Advertisers 
compare various media, which includes 
periodicals, to determine the best way to 
reach and affect their targeted audiences 
at an acceptable cost.

An ability to reach and target niche 
markets is one of the strengths of 
magazines and periodicals, compared 
with mass media products, such as daily 
newspapers. Nevertheless, the internet, 
direct mail, TV and smartphones can also 
reach specific target markets. The 
internet, for example, can reduce both 
printed periodical circulation volumes 
and advertising revenue. Periodical 
publishers are responding by deepening 
their involvement in specific markets, 
such as food and fashion, and by 
releasing digital versions of publications 
and complimentary websites.

Economic conditions can affect both 
sales of magazines and periodicals and 
advertising space in periodicals. 

Demand

Determinants



Products & Markets

Household expenditure on magazines is 
greater among higher income earners. 
Advertising spending in Australia, 
whether in magazines and periodicals or 
in other media, is very sensitive to 
economic conditions. Government or 
political information dissemination 
programs can also affect economy-wide 
advertising spending.

Economic, demographic and societal 
changes can affect demand for media 
products, including periodicals. For 
example, shifts in the Australian 
economy away from manufacturing, and 
changes in the level of participation in 
post-school education, can affect demand 
for specific types of technical and 
professional periodicals. Younger people 
are relatively heavy users of the internet. 
Advertisers often focus on age groups 
that are higher spenders, and will be 
attracted by media that best reaches 
these markets. Household activities and 
interests can change over time, resulting 
in a change in the type of entertainment 
and information sought. For example, 
households have recently shown a greater 
interest in home cooking as a result of an 
interest in a wider range of foods, higher 
costs of eating out, health and 
environmental concerns about packaged 
foods, and the release of food-related 
television series, such as MasterChef and 
My Kitchen Rules.

The availability of cost-effective 
distribution channels, such as 
newsagents and supermarkets, can 
increase exposure and magazine demand. 
Magazine supplements are also now 
regularly included in newspapers. Links 
with other complimentary media, 
including TV, the internet and 
smartphones, can also promote demand. 
For example, magazines have been 
spun-off from popular TV programs.

Directories

Economic conditions affect economy-
wide advertising and demand for 
telephone directory advertising. 
Directories have a heavy reliance on 
advertising by the small and medium 
business sector, and this sector’s spending 
on advertising can fluctuate with changes 
in economic and business conditions.

The demand for advertising in 
telephone directories is also sensitive to 
price, particularly in view of the reliance 
on advertising by small business. Printed 
directory advertising is facing increasing 
competition from online substitutes. 
Sensis, the major player in the telephone 
directory market, plans to grow its 
electronic directory businesses, and this is 
expected to at least partially offset slower 
growth in printed directory revenue.

Demand

Determinants

continued

Major Markets

The major markets in the industry are 
media buyers and other companies that 
advertise their products and services; 
wholesalers that resell magazines and 
other industry products to retailers; and 
other sectors.

Media buyers and advertising businesses

Media buyers purchase advertising in 
magazines, periodicals and directories on 
behalf of other businesses. These 
companies are used, as they are generally 
able to purchase advertising space at a 
more competitive rate. Other companies 
also advertise in magazines and 
directories to promote products and 
services, and to notify consumers and 
businesses of other information in an 
attempt to maintain or increase sales. 
Also included in this market segment are 
companies listing themselves in 
directories, such as the Yellow Pages. 
Directories generate almost all of their 
revenue from advertising. Practically all 
industries advertise in directories. Major 
market segments for directories include 
business services and construction 
trades. Sensis, which dominates the 
Australian telephone directory market, 
provides advertising, commercial search, 
information management, mapping and 
IT solutions to about 600,000 
businesses, with about 150,000 of these 
businesses also being online customers. 



Products & Markets

IBISWorld estimates this segment to 
account for 60.0% of industry revenue in 
2013-14, down from 70.0% in 2008-09 
due to lower directory listing revenue.

Wholesalers to retailers

Most magazine publishers use distributors 
such as Gordon & Gotch (owned by PMP 
Ltd) and Network Services (owned by 
ACP) to maximise sales and reduce 
wastage. Magazines from Gordon & Gotch 
are supplied to retailers on a sale or return 
basis, unless otherwise stated. Gordon and 
Gotch sells copies to retailers at a 
commission off the recommended retail 
price, or cover price. Copies that are not 
sold by the retailer may be returned for 
credit to the retailer’s account in the 
month in which they are recalled. 
Magazine distributors have warehouses 
where publications are efficiently picked 
and packed for retailers in particular 
areas. Distributors assess industry trends, 
seeking to optimise allocations to retailers 
and providing market knowledge to 
publishing clients. In 2009, the Australian 
Competition and Consumer Commission 
authorised newsagents to engage in 
collective bargaining with the major 
publishers and distributors of magazines 
and newspapers.

Other

The other market segment for the 
industry’s products includes direct sales 
to retailers, educational institutions, 
subscriptions, government and other 
sectors. Some magazines are sold directly 
to retailers, such as newsagents, 
supermarkets, bookstores, convenience 
stores and other retailers. The education 
sector is a major market for academic and 
scientific periodicals. University libraries 
are estimated to spend about $220 
million per year on content, with about 
80% of this being spent on periodicals, of 
which a significant proportion are 
published overseas. Some universities are 
entering into joint purchase agreements 
with other universities.

Major Markets

continued

Major market segmentation (2013-14)
Total $3.1bn60%Media buyers and 
advertising businesses23%
Wholesalers to retailers10%
Other4%
Educational sector3%
Direct to retailersSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU

Products & Markets

International Trade

Overall, there is a low level of 
international trade in this industry. There 
is practically no foreign trade in printed 
directories. However, international trade 
is significant in some areas, including 
professional and scholarly journals; 
consumer magazines dealing with world 
issues and those of interest to ethnic 
communities in Australia; and the 
licensing of brands and content between 
local and overseas publishers.

The Australian consumer magazine 
market is competitive. Some foreign-
owned consumer magazine titles are 
published in Australia under licence or 
joint venture, and this has had a negative 
effect on imports. The value of magazine 
and periodical imports is forecast to 
amount to $190.5 million in 2013-14, 
representing 6.0% of domestic demand 
for magazines and periodicals for the 
year. However, the value of competing 
imports is forecast to decline an 
annualised 2.3% in the five years through 
2013-14 due to higher online foreign 
content being available. The major 
sources of imports are the United 
Kingdom (estimated at two-thirds of 
imports by value), the United States 
(20.0%) and Singapore (8.0%).

The value of industry exports is 
estimated to total $50.8 million in 
2013-14 and account for 1.7% of revenue 
from the sale of magazines and 
periodicals. In addition to exports of 
physical magazines, Australian 
publishers also licence their titles to 
overseas publishers. In 2010, Pacific 
Magazines sold a licence to APN News & 
Media Limited to publish three 
magazines in New Zealand. The value of 
exports is forecast to increase 0.2% per 
annum in the five years through 2013-14. 
Major export markets by value are New 
Zealand, estimated at three-quarters of 
exports, and Singapore (7.0%).

$ million200-400-300-200-10001002006081012141618YearExportsImportsBalanceIndustry trade balanceSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU
Level & Trend 
Exports in the 
industry are Low 
and Steady 

 Imports in the 
industry are 
Medium and 
Decreasing 



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 16

Products & Markets

Business Locations 2013-14



Products & Markets

Business Locations

Factors influencing the location of the 
industry’s activities include the 
distribution and concentration Australia’s 
population; economic activity; the 
entertainment, fashion and advertising 
industries; and the head offices of major 
companies in the consumer goods 
industries. This explains why New South 
Wales, particularly Sydney, accounts for a 
significant share of industry activity, with 
an estimated 41.9% of industry 
establishments in 2013-14 and 43.5% of 
industry revenue. The higher percentage 
of revenue is due to the extensive 
distribution network of the major 
magazine publishers across Australia.

Victoria and Queensland are also 
major regions for industry activity. 
Victoria is prominent due to the high 
proportion of magazine publishers in the 
state, and accounts for a high percentage 
of revenue due to the large market for 
magazines. While Queensland has a large 
number of publishers across a large 
region, revenue applicable to the state is 
estimated to be lower due to fewer 
magazine sales and the smaller-size 
publishing firms.

Percentage50010203040WAACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICRevenueEstablishmentsDistribution of revenue vs. establishmentsSOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AUPercentage50010203040WAACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICRevenuePopulationDistribution of revenue vs. population

WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 18

Competitive Landscape

Market Share Concentration | Key Success Factors | Cost Structure Benchmarks
Basis of Competition | Barriers to Entry | Industry Globalisation

Market Share 
Concentration

The four largest companies operating in 
the industry are estimated to account for 
64.5% of industry revenue in 2013-14, 
with the eight largest estimated to make 
up for 71.1% of industry revenue for the 
year. Industry concentration has 
decreased in the five years through 
2008-09 when the four largest firms 
accounted for 79.3% of industry revenue. 
This decline has been due to Sensis losing 
a significant proportion of market share 
in the directories segment, which has a 
higher concentration level compared to 
magazines, while the number of firms 
exiting or merging within the industry 
decreased at a slower rate than industry 
revenue fell.

Despite these recent concentration 
declines, slower industry revenue falls 
forecast in future years are expected to 
result in industry concentration increasing 
in future years, particularly in the 
magazine segment. This will be due to 
increased industry consolidation, with 
merger activity likely to increase as the 
larger firms in the industry look to 
increase market share. There are a large 
number of well-known and popular 
magazines that are owned by smaller 
firms in the industry, which are expected 
to be targeted by bigger rivals, providing 
considerable pay-offs for the selling firms.

Level 
Concentration in this 
industry is Medium 

Key Success Factors

Access to highly skilled workforce

Access to labour skilled in journalism, 
editorial and advertising is important 
for producing high-quality magazines 
and periodicals.

Establishment of brand names

Brand promotion can bolster readership 
and advertising rates.

Effective cost controls

It is important for magazine publishers to 
maintain control over input costs such as 
journalistic, printing, distribution and 
promotional expenses.

Control of distribution arrangements

Extensive distribution networks across 
newsagents and retailers can help drive 
circulation sales and readership levels 
for magazines.

Access to niche markets

It is important to have a strong 
understanding of the market being 
addressed, to position publications to 
promote an increase in readership and 
circulation, and to win advertisers.

Production of premium goods/services

The quality of product (for example of 
paper, print and pictorial matter to 
attract readers and advertisers) is 
essential to bolster average selling 
prices (such as cover prices and 
advertising rates).

 IBISWorld identifies 
250 Key Success 
Factors for a 
business. The most 
important for this 
industry are:

Cost Structure 
Benchmarks

The industry cost structure varies 
significantly between the main product 
segments of magazines and directories, 
and by firm size. Larger companies 
benefit from economies of scale and 
higher circulation levels, while smaller 
firms can benefit from tighter cost 
controls and volume flexibility.

Profit

Profit margins are relatively high in the 
industry, at an estimated 16.1% of 
industry revenue in 2013-14. However, 
margins have decreased over the past five 
years due to weak revenue and growing 
competition from online-only substitutes. 
Margins are higher in the directory 
business compared with the magazine 
and periodical business due to a high 
level of concentration in the directory 
market. Industry profit is down from 
19.8% in 2008-09 on lower circulation 
and revenue levels, and is expected to 
decrease to 15.7% in 2018-19 due to lower 



Competitive Landscape

advertising revenue, sales and higher 
wage levels.

Wages

IBISWorld estimates total industry wages 
to account for 26.6% of industry revenue 
in 2013-14, up from 25.7% in 2008-09. 
Wage costs have risen as a percentage of 
revenue in recent years due to an 
increase in general wage rates across the 
economy and a strong focus on content in 
magazines. Industry wages have declined 
at a slower rate than industry revenue 
over the five years through 2013-14, and 
are expected to increase in the next five 
years through 201819 to 26.9% of 
industry revenue.

Material costs

The composition of material costs varies 
considerably between publications, 
depending on a number of factors. 
However, printing expenses are the 
major material cost. In the magazine 
segment, higher quality printing papers 
incorporating fillers or coatings have 
increasingly been used. Magazine 
publishers have been tough in their 
negotiations with printers to reduce 
printing costs. In the past, ACP 
Magazines has stated that a proposed 
move to an in-house printing operation 
(which did not eventuate) would produce 
a significant lift in ACP’s earnings by 
improving efficiencies and reducing costs 
in areas such as freight. However, 
printing costs are dropping in the 
directory market as directories move 
online. Sensis has reduced the range, size 
and circulation of its printed directories. 
In August 2012, Sensis announced plans 
to extend an ‘opt-in’ system for the 
printed White Pages residential directory.

Other costs

Mailing and distribution costs, such as 
deliveries to subscribers, retailers and 
newsagents, are estimated to account for 
5.8% of industry revenue. Two main 
companies in Australia distribute 
magazines to newsagents and other 
retailers. Larger publishers are in a 
relatively good position to negotiate better 
rates with distributors. Directory mailing 

Cost Structure 
Benchmarks

continued



Competitive Landscape

and distribution costs are falling due 
largely to a shift towards online directory 
products. Costs for printed publications are 
usually higher than for online publications 
due to the presence of paper, printing and 
distribution costs. Cost structures for 
printed publications vary considerably and 
are influenced by circulation numbers and 
type of circulation, target market, revenue 
mix, journalistic and information 
production costs, the extent of outsourcing 
of content production, and print quality.

Cost Structure 
Benchmarks

continued

Basis of Competition

Magazine and periodical publishers 
compete for readers and advertisers 
among themselves as well as with other 
media. The extent of competition with 
other media depends on the content and 
target market of the publication. As an 
example, business magazines, such as 
BRW and Money compete with business 
newspapers, such as The Australian 
Financial Review, as well as with the 
business sections of general newspapers. 
Publishers generally compete to maximise 
circulation of their publications to 
generate income from sales and to attract 
advertisers and thereby generate 
advertising income. The basis upon which 
publishers compete to sell publications 
include pricing levels, the provision of 
informative, attractive and entertaining 
content to a well-defined market niche or 
demographic, and the promotion and 
marketing of the publication.

In addition to maximising circulation 
and targeting selected reader audiences, 
periodicals compete for advertising 
principally on the basis of circulation, 
readership, advertising rates, target 
markets, sales team effectiveness and 
flexibility. Larger operators, such as ACP 
Magazines and Pacific Magazines, are able 
to offer advertising packages across a large 
number of magazines that target varying 
market segments. Some media operators 
believe there are synergies in offering 
advertisers exposure across various types 
of media, either through directly owned 
vehicles or alliance partners.

Directories tend to compete on the 
basis of reach, convenience, effectiveness 
and price. Printed directories reliant on 
advertising revenue compete with other 
advertising mediums, such as online 
directories, search engines and 
newspapers. The ability to distribute 
directory products at an economic cost 
can also enhance sales and profitability.

Level & Trend 
Competition in 
this industry is 
High and the trend 
is Increasing 

Barriers to Entry

The consumer magazine market is highly 
saturated due to the large number of 
publications available across a wide range 
of topics. However, niche opportunities 
continue to be available across subject 
and topic areas for magazine, due to a 
process of fragmentation within the 
market where major titles have lost 
market share. Nevertheless, new 
launches are generally dominated by the 
major publishers. Sensis dominates the 
printed telephone directory market, but 
faces competition from internet operators 
including powerful search engine 
companies such as Google and Yahoo.

Large established companies benefit 
from economies of scale and scope. For 
example, large operators can negotiate 
lower paper and printing costs. In 
addition, they have wide distribution 
channels and more control over 
distribution channels and costs. They are 
also better able to invest in deepening their 
involvement in lucrative niche markets 

Level & Trend 
Barriers to Entry 
in this industry 
are High and 
Increasing 



Competitive Landscape

and to provide advertising packages over a 
wider range of magazines. Larger 
operators can defray the cost of 
introducing new products over a larger 
revenue base. In the magazine market, 
diversified media groups can leverage off 
other media, such as spinning magazines 
off TV programs, running complementary 
websites and selling advertising packages 
across various media platforms.

Barriers to Entry

continued

Industry 
Globalisation

The industry has a medium globalisation 
level, with a high globalisation level in 
the magazine and periodical segment 
offset by a low level of globalisation in the 
directories segment. Globalisation in the 
magazine and periodical segment 
increased significantly in October 2012 
following the acquisition of ACP 
Magazines Ltd by the Germany-based 
Bauer Media Group. ACP Magazines Ltd 
also has significant magazine interests 
outside Australia, including in New 
Zealand and Asia, which also increases 
industry globalisation.

Some foreign-owned magazine titles 
are published in Australia under licence or 
joint venture. For example, ACP has joint 
ventures with The Hearst Corporation (a 
US company), Northern & Shell Pacific 
Ltd (a UK company) and BBC Magazines 
(a UK business) to publish certain titles in 
Australia. ACP and Hearst jointly publish 
Grazia in Australia, under license from the 
Italian publisher Mondadori. Pacific 
Magazines and Rodale International (a US 
company) have agreements for Pacific 
Magazines to publish certain titles, while 
News Australia has agreements with 
Conde Nast (a US company) to publish 
certain titles.

Level & Trend 
Globalisation in 
this industry is 
Medium and the 
trend is Increasing 



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 22

 Major Companies

Telstra Corporation Limited | Bauer Media Limited | Seven West Media Limited

Fairfax Media Limited | News Australia Holdings Pty Limited | Other Companies

Major players

(Market share)

Fairfax Media Limited 4.8%

Bauer Media Limited 22.2%

32.7%

Other

Seven West Media Limited 8.1%

Telstra Corporation Limited 29.4%

News Australia Holdings Pty Limited 2.8%

SOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU

Player Performance

Sensis Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Telstra 
Corporation Ltd, is a local search and 
directories business that principally 
generates revenue from directory 
publishing and advertising. As at mid-
2013, Sensis had about 2,000 employees 
in Australia. It produces and delivers 
almost 20 million printed directories per 
year to households and businesses 
around Australia, outsourcing printing of 
the directories to PMP Ltd. The 
company’s White Pages directory 
provides the telephone number and 
address information of residences, 
businesses, non-profit organisations and 
governments, while the company’s Yellow 
Pages directory provides the telephone 
number, address and marketing 
information of businesses, non-profit 
organisations and governments. From 
2011, Sensis also published a new 
compact-size Yellow Pages directory.

The company has expanded through 
acquisition, particularly in classified 
advertising, in both Australia and China. 
In Australia, Sensis now focuses on 
expanding electronic delivery and 
emerging businesses, such as location 
and navigation, and online displays. In 
January 2013, Sensis announced the 
acquisition of Australian Local Search 
Pty Ltd, which was a subsidiary of News 
Ltd and trades as TrueLocal, subject to 
approval by the ACCC. TrueLocal 
operates an online directory of 
Australian businesses.

Financial performance

IBISWorld estimates that Sensis’ total 
directory revenue decreased at a nominal 
annualised 11.5% in the five years 
through 2012-13, which is a larger decline 
than the industry nominal average of 
4.7%, or 6.5% in real terms. Following 
large revenue declines in previous years, 
and according to company results for the 
half-year ending December 2012, 
industry-specific revenue for 2012-13 is 
estimated to decline to $940.0 million for 
the year. Revenue in 2011-12 was down 
significantly due largely to a decline in 
Yellow Pages print revenue mainly 
because of the migration of customers 
from print products to digital, resulting 
in lower advertising levels. Profitability in 

Telstra Corporation 
Limited 
Market share: 29.4% 
Industry Brand Names 
Sensis Pty Ltd 
White Pages
Yellow Pages



Major Companies

2011-12 was adversely affected by up-
front costs of implementing the three-
year digital strategy.

Over the past five years, Yellow Pages 
revenue is estimated to have decreased 
by over 10.0% annually, while White 
Pages revenue is estimated to have 
declined at a much lower rate. Published 
Yellow Pages revenue, which is estimated 
at more than half of company revenue in 
2012-13, has been adversely affected by 
higher advertising cancellations and 
migration of advertising customers from 
print to lower yielding online products. 
There has also been a shift among White 
Pages customers towards online 
products, but with more consistent 
revenue flows.

Player Performance

continued

In October 2012, Bauer Media 
Group acquired ACP Magazines Limited 
from Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings 
Pty Limited. The Bauer Media Group is 
a family-run magazine publishing 
group, which generated revenue of 
about $2.8 billion (€2.2 billion) in 2012, 
with over 11,000 employees in 16 
countries across Europe, the United 
States and Asia-Pacific.

Bauer publishes 80 magazines in 
Australia, with sales of nearly 85 
million copies in 2012-13 from a 
leading share of consumer publications. 
Of these 80 magazines, half are also 
published online. With 1.9 million 
readers each month as at March 2013, 
the company’s Australian Women’s 
Weekly title reaches more people than 
any other magazine in the country. 
Bauer Media also claims that it holds 
two-thirds of gross readership for 
women’s lifestyle titles. It also has 
strong shares in special interest 
categories and holds a dominant share 
in the motoring magazine market. 
Bauer Media’s Trader Group publishes 
16 niche classified magazines for 
boating, motoring, caravans, machinery 
and leisure content. Bauer Media 
contracts out the printing function of 
all its Australian magazines, with joint 
ventures to publish a number of 
magazines in Australia and overseas. 
Bauer Magazines also acts as a 
distributor of magazines, using 
specialised software to records its 
magazine title sales at newsagents.

Financial performance

In the five years through 2012-13, Bauer 
Media and the former ACP Magazines’ 
combined revenue is expected to decline 
an annualised 4.0% to $700.0 million, 
which is smaller than the nominal 
industry average of 4.7% per annum (or 
6.5% in real terms). These declines have 
been due to a fall in circulation levels and 
weak advertising markets. Prior to the 
sale of ACP Magazines Ltd, the previous 
owner made significant writedowns to 
the company’s assets. For 2010-11, Nine 
Entertainment Co. (renamed from PBL 
Media) reported an impairment loss on 
ACP’s goodwill of about $600 million. 
For 2009-10, PBL Media reported an 
impairment loss on ACP’s mastheads and 
licences of $503 million, which followed 
an impairment loss of $455 million on 
magazine mastheads

Player Performance

Bauer Media 
Limited 
Market share: 22.2% 
Industry Brand Names 
The Australian Women’s 
Weekly
Woman’s Day
Cosmopolitan
Shop Til You Drop
Dolly
Empire
House & Garden
Money
Top Gear
NW



Major Companies

Player Performance

Pacific Magazines is owned by Seven 
West Media Limited. In early 2011, West 
Australian Newspapers Ltd acquired 
Seven Media Group for about $4.1 billion 
from Seven Group Holdings Ltd and 
funds associated with Kohlberg Kravis 
Roberts & Co. West Australian 
Newspapers was later renamed Seven 
West Media Limited. In 2006, Seven 
Network Ltd formed a joint venture with 
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (a private 
equity company), called Seven Media 
Group, to own and manage Seven’s TV 
channel, Pacific Magazines and Yahoo!7 
online partnership. Seven Network Ltd 
kept its other investments, a stake in 
West Australian Newspapers, property 
holdings and pay-TV rights to the AFL. In 
2009-10, Seven Group Holdings Ltd was 
created following the merger of Seven 
Network Ltd and WesTrac.

Pacific Magazines is the second-largest 
magazine publisher in Australia. Its 
portfolio includes more than 25 
magazines that together account for 
about 28% of gross readership of the 
Australian consumer magazine market 
and 27% of total magazine advertising 
revenue. Annual sales are about 57 
million copies. The business publishes 
titles in the women’s, entertainment, 
youth, lifestyle and special interest 
markets in Australia, New Zealand and 
Europe. It has strong circulation market 
shares in several niche markets including 
health, men’s lifestyle, youth, women’s 
weeklies, home and garden, and fashion. 
The business has partnerships with 
several overseas magazine publishers 
including Meredith, Rodale, Time Inc. 
and Groupe Marie Claire. Pacific 
Magazines also has a custom magazine 
publishing operation and is estimated to 
be a market leader based on the number 
of titles published (producing more than 
45 magazine titles). Magazines vary from 
weekly and monthly titles to one-off 
publications for corporate clients.

The company has built up its magazine 
interests through several acquisitions and 
magazine launches. In March 2011, Pacific 
Magazines teamed up with public 
broadcaster SBS to produce a new monthly 
food magazine, Feast. In September 2009, 
the company launched a new healthy 
lifestyle title, Prevention. This was the first 
Australian magazine dedicated to women 
aged over 40 years. In June 2007, Pacific 
Magazines paid about $100 million to 
acquire four Australian magazines from 
Time Inc., while in July 2004, Seven 
Network acquired Murdoch Magazines 
for $77 million.

Financial performance

In the five years through 2012-13, 
company revenue is expected to decline 
an annualised 4.1% to $260.0 million due 
to falls in circulation levels, weak 
advertising markets and lower demand 
for custom publications. Pacific 
Magazines faced tough market conditions 
in 2011-12 because of weak retail and 
consumer spending. Pacific Magazine’s 
circulation revenue declined by 1.2%, 
while advertising revenue was down 

Seven West Media 
Limited 
Market share: 8.1% 
Industry Brand Names 
Pacific Magazines
Better Homes and 
Gardens
In Style
Marie Claire
New Idea
Men’s Health
Who
Girlfriend
Home Beautiful
Family Circle



Major Companies

11.0%. However, the company managed 
to reduce costs, which helped to prop up 
profit margins. Pacific Magazines posted 
lower revenue in 2010-11 due to weak 
market conditions and despite gains in 
advertising and circulation market 
shares. However, profit margins 
increased due to cost reduction 
initiatives. In 2009-10, Pacific Magazines 
reported that circulation revenue 
accounted for 61.1% of total revenue, 
while advertising accounted for 34.5% 
and other revenue 4.4%. The company 
also reported that its share of gross 
copies of magazines sold in Australia 
increased to 29.8%.

Player Performance

continued

Player Performance

Fairfax Media Limited is an Australian 
publicly listed company that publishes 
newspapers and magazines in Australia 
and New Zealand, and has online 
businesses. The company also has a 
44.7% ownership interest in news agency 
AAP Information Services Pty Ltd. The 
Financial Review Group publishes several 
business magazines, such as BRW and 
CIO Asia. Fairfax Media has grown 
significantly and diversified its portfolio 
of businesses, mainly through acquiring 
newspaper and internet businesses and 
broadcasting.

In Australia, Fairfax Media’s magazine 
assets are classified as general magazines 
(about eight titles including newspaper 
inserts), Fairfax Business Media (about 
18 titles) and agricultural magazines. In 
August 2006, it was announced that 
Fairfax Business Media had concluded an 
extensive IT publishing relationship in 
the Asia-Pacific region with International 
Data Group (IDG). The relationship 
involved Fairfax licensing IDG’s global IT 
content and mastheads for the Singapore, 
Malaysia and New Zealand markets and 
acquiring IDG’s publishing assets in 
those markets.

Financial performance

In 2011-12, Fairfax Media generated 
revenue of $2.75 billion, including $1.13 
billion from the metropolitan media 
segment, which includes newspaper and 
magazine publishing. In the five years 
through 2012-13, the company’s 
magazine revenue is estimated to 
decrease by a nominal annualised 8.2% 
to $150.0 million, which is higher than 
the nominal industry average of 4.7% (or 
6.5% in real terms). A drop in newspaper 
circulation has negatively affected 
advertising revenue from newspaper-
inserted magazines. A weak retail-
advertising environment has also 
negatively affected magazine revenue 
over this period.

Fairfax Media 
Limited 
Market share: 4.8% 
Industry Brand Names 
Good Weekend
Sunday Life
the(melbourne)magazine
the(sydney)magazine
BRW
The Australian Financial 
Review Magazine
Financial Review BOSS
CIO Asia



Major Companies

Player Performance

News Ltd is a subsidiary of News Australia 
Holdings Pty Limited, which is owned by 
US-based News Corporation and controlled 
by the Murdoch family. The group has 
global interests in newspapers, magazines 
and inserts, book publishing, TV 
broadcasting, cable and satellite TV, 
internet media and film production. It 
began as a one-newspaper company and 
has grown to become one of the world’s 
leading publishers of newspapers and a 
major global media group. In Australia, 
News Corporation’s major interests include 
newspaper publishing (including magazine 
inserts), pay TV, magazine publishing, 
e-commerce and sports ownership. In 
2007, News Ltd completed the acquisition 
of the newspaper, magazine and online 
assets of Federal Publishing Company 
(FPC). FPC’s Magazine Group comprised 
25 magazines and associated websites. It 
was reported that News Ltd paid $180 
million to acquire FPC’s Magazine Group.

News Ltd’s magazine business, 
NewsLifeMedia, has a print and digital 
portfolio spanning across the following 
categories: food, fashion, home, health, 
parenting and weekend newspaper 
inserts. The business publishes more 
than a dozen magazines, which are also 
available in digital versions, six 
newspaper-insert magazines, six websites 
and two newspaper lift-outs. The 
business has stated that it accounts for 
almost 80% of major titles in the food 
category and is the country’s largest food 
publisher. In February 2012, News Ltd 
acquired the Best Recipes website, which 
is expected to provide opportunities to 
grow the company’s food magazine titles. 
News Magazines also publishes 
homemaker and lifestyle titles. In the 
fashion category, News Magazines 
publishes the Australian edition of 
Vogue. Female fashion readers are also 
catered to through the Sunday Magazine. 
The company’s market share of average 
consumer magazine circulation is about 
6.4%, while it accounts for about 12.9% of 
total readership.

Financial performance

In the five years through 2012-13, the 
company’s Australian magazine revenue 
is estimated to decrease by a nominal 
annualised 3.9% to $90.0 million, which 
is slightly better than the average 
industry decline in nominal terms of 
4.7% (or 6.5% in real terms). Advertising 
revenue from newspaper-inserted 
magazines has been negatively affected 
by weak newspaper sales. Magazine 
revenue over this period has also been 
negatively affected by a weak retail 
advertising environment.

News Australia 
Holdings Pty 
Limited 
Market share: 2.8% 
Industry Brand Names 
Sunday Style
Vogue Australia
Vogue Living
GQ Australia
Big League
Australian Golf Digest
delicious.
donna hay
Inside Out
Country Style

Other Companies

Although there are concerns about the 
future of publishing and printing in 
Australia, most activity in the industry is 
accounted for by a handful of large-scale 
publishers that benefit from economies of 
scale and distribution. Both globally and on 
a domestic level, the industry is dominated 
by companies actively seeking to increase 
their operations through takeovers.

Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd
Estimated market share: 2.3%

Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd is 
owned by Reader’s Digest Association 
Inc., a US company that has suffered 
financial difficulties since 2009 when it 
entered bankruptcy protection, emerging 
in 2013. Its major publication is Reader’s 
Digest, which publishes 75 editions in 21 



Major Companies

languages and is sold in 78 countries. The 
company also publishes special interest 
magazines and books. Reader’s Digest is 
widely known for its direct marketing 
activities and continues to expand into 
other distribution channels, such as 
direct-response TV, display marketing, 
catalogues, retail and the internet. In 
Australia in 2012, about 2.5 million 
copies of Reader’s Digest were purchased 
by consumers, unchanged from 2009 
when it had the fourth-largest circulation 
of magazines published in Australia with 
a 2.0% share of circulation in the 
consumer magazine market. In 2009-10, 
Reader’s Digest posted revenue of $126.3 
million, which is estimated to decline to 
$100.0 million in 2012-13, with three-
quarters of this estimated to be 
applicable to the industry.

NextMedia Pty Ltd
Estimated market share: less than 1.0%

NextMedia Pty Ltd, renamed from 
Wolseley Media Pty Ltd, was established 
in Sydney in 2008 and is now the 
fourth-largest magazine publishing firm 
in Australia. The company was 
established with the purpose of 
acquiring popular and special interest 
titles owned by Horwitz Publications 
Pty Ltd – a family company that had 
operated for 88 years. Chevron 
Publishing Group Pty Ltd and Bluewater 
Publishing Pty Ltd were also acquired. 
NextMedia is owned by Wolseley 
Private Equity, an Australian-owned 
fund manager, and two senior 
executives. NextMedia has over 50 
full-time employees plus a network of 
contributors and contractors providing 
freelance services to the company. The 
company currently has 35 magazine 
titles and sells DVDs, books and other 
products. NextMedia is continuing to 
pursue growth via further acquisitions 
and across purchasing and business 
practices. IBISWorld estimates 
company revenue totalled $30.0 million 
in 2012-13.

Other smaller players

Established in 1986, Universal Magazines 
is a privately owned company that claims 
to be Australia’s largest niche publisher, 
with over 60 consumer magazine titles 
including home, craft, bike and lifestyle 
categories. In August 2011, Universal 
announced the acquisition of the 
Westwick-Farrow Media business, which 
published industrial and technology-
focused print and digital trade publications.

Reed Elsevier Australia Pty Ltd is 
based in New South Wales. The company 
is part of the Reed Elsevier group, which 
is a world leading publisher and 
information provider with principal 
operations located in the United States 
and Europe. Reed Elsevier is a major 
supplier of periodicals and serials (both 
in print and online) to the legal, scientific, 
business-to-business and higher 
education sectors.

John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd is the 
Australian subsidiary of John Wiley & 
Sons Inc, which is headquartered in the 
United States and is a global publisher of 
print and electronic products. The 
company’s core businesses produce 
professional and consumer books, and 
subscription journal products. Textbooks 
and educational materials are also 
published by this company. Employing 
nearly 300 people nationally, Wiley 
Australia generated revenue of about $80 
million in 2011-12. Effective January 
2007, John Wiley & Sons Inc finalised 
the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing, a 
UK-based company that publishes 
journals and books for the academic, 
research and professional markets 
focusing mainly on science, technology, 
medicine and social sciences.

IDG Communications is part of 
International Data Group, which was 
established in the United States in 1964 
and specialises in technology media, 
events and research. In Australia, IDG 
Communications publishes seven 
magazines related to technology, 
computers and information systems.

Other Companies

continued



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 28

Operating Conditions

Capital Intensity | Technology & Systems | Revenue Volatility

Regulation & Policy | Industry Assistance

Capital Intensity

Overall, the industry has a low capital 
intensity level as functions such as 
journalism, editing, advertising sales and 
distribution are labour intensive. Capital 
investment to operate in the industry is 
at a low to moderate level. Using wages 
data from the industry cost structure as a 
proxy for labour and depreciation as a 
proxy for capital, IBISWorld estimates 
that for each $1.00 invested in plant, 
equipment, machinery, vehicles and 
buildings, $12.69 is required for labour 
inputs across the industry.

Capital intensity can vary between 
firms and is influenced by whether 
printing is done in-house or outsourced. 
Currently, printing is principally 
outsourced and magazine distribution is 
often outsourced. ACP has its own 
distribution business and has had plans 
to commence its own printing operation. 
While the directory segment is increasing 
its use of technology, labour input 
remains significant. Labour intensity is 
particularly evident in the areas of 
compiling, checking and updating 
directory and advertiser entries, and in 
selling of advertising space.

Capital intensity1.00.00.20.40.60.8SOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AUDotted line shows a high level of capital intensityCapital units per labour unitMagazine and 
Directory 
PublishingInformation 
Media and 
Telecommuni-
Economy
Level 
The level of capital 
intensity is Low 



Operating Conditions

The major technological developments in 
the industry include advances in 
communications that are helping to drive 
the proliferation of new media platforms 
that give customers greater choice as to 
how and when they receive their 
entertainment and information. 
Smartphones, computer tablets, digital 
TV, video mobile broadcasting, 
podcasting and interactive TV present 
both opportunities and threats to 
traditional media’s readership and 
advertising bases.

Search engine software technology 
allows people and organisations to search 
the web and databases for information on 
pre-determined search criteria. Revenue 
of online periodicals and directories are 
increasing at a rapid rate, but at the 
expense of higher-margin print 
publications. The internet and wireless 
devices provide an alternative low-cost 
means to deliver information, content 
and advertising to niche markets.

Increased automation in printing has 
reduced printing costs. For many years 
hot metal typeset formed the basis of the 
printing process. Computer-to-plate 
printing, or digital printing, allows 
publications to be printed quicker and 
cheaper. Computer software can assist in 
the monitoring of magazine and other 
periodical sales. Returns, or unsold 
copies, represent a significant cost to the 
industry, such as printing and 
distribution costs. Publishers utilise 
software that records sales at newsagents 
with the aim of reducing returns.

Technology & Systems

 Online revenue is growing 
at the expense of high-
margin print revenue

Level 
The level of 
Technology Change 
is Medium 

This industry has shown a moderate level 
of revenue volatility over the five years 
through 2013-14, with declines occurring 
at high and steady rate over these years. 
This has been due to declining circulation 
and advertising levels in the past five 
years. As advertising revenue accounts 
for about 60% of industry revenue, and a 
much greater percentage of directory 
revenue, conditions in advertising 
markets can have a significant effect on 
industry revenue. Advertising spending is 
sensitive to economic conditions, retail 
spending and consumer confidence. 

Advertising levels also vary by medium, 
and can also be seasonal. Directories have 
a heavy reliance on advertising by the 
small and medium business sector, which 
can be volatile. Advertising is drifting form 
traditional printed products to the 
internet, and this is having a negative 
impact on advertising volumes in 

Revenue Volatility

Level 
The level of 
Volatility is Medium 



Operating Conditions

magazines and printed directories. 
Magazine and periodical subscriptions 
and sales are relatively stable. However, 
consumer magazine sales can be affected 
by economy-wide household confidence, 
retail spending, and fads and trends in 
personal interests. In addition, sales of 
periodicals can be affected by the 
migration of readers to other media, such 
as to TV or the internet.

Revenue Volatility

continued

Regulation & Policy

The major areas where laws and 
regulations affect the industry include the 
following: intellectual property, such as 
trademarks and copyright; defamation 
and contempt; restrictions on publishing 
material that is obscene, blasphemous or 
an incitement to racial hatred; and, 
advertising, marketing and privacy laws. 
In addition, environmental pollution 
control laws affect printing of periodicals.

The Privacy Act impacts direct mail 
list operators. The Act covers direct 
marketing, such as telemarketing and 
advertising via email, SMS or post. A 
person that does not want to receive calls 
from telemarketers can put themself on 
the Commonwealth Government’s Do 
Not Call Register. However, some 
organisations operating in the public 
interest, such as charities, are exempt. 
The Spam Act makes it illegal in 
Australia to send unsolicited commercial 
electronic messages.

The Magazine Publishers of Australia is 
an industry association representing 
Australia’s leading publishers of consumer 
magazines. The Publishers National 
Environment Bureau is the association of 
Australia’s leading newspaper and 
magazine publishers working to promote 
the sustainable recovery of old 
newspapers and magazines.

Level & Trend 
The level of 
Regulation is 
Medium and the 
trend is Steady 

Industry Assistance

There is no significant government 
assistance to the industry, other than 
advertising and notices placed by 
governments in periodicals. There are also 
no tariffs placed on imported magazines.

Level & Trend 
The level of 
Industry Assistance 
is Low and the 
trend is Steady 



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 31

 Key Statistics

Revenue 

($m)

Industry 
Value Added 

($m)

Establishments

Enterprises

Employment

Exports 

($m)

Imports 

($m)

Wages 

($m)

Domestic 
Demand

($m)

2004-05

4,237.5

2,053.3

1,264

1,171

16,580

73.4

337.9

1,212.3

4,502.0

2005-06

4,423.1

2,110.0

1,305

1,213

16,150

64.5

277.7

1,174.2

4,636.3

2006-07

4,427.1

2,110.3

1,344

1,251

15,980

63.4

253.7

1,164.2

4,617.4

2007-08

4,444.6

2,076.7

1,437

1,342

15,600

54.7

233.1

1,155.9

4,623.0

2008-09

4,278.9

2,055.4

1,367

1,278

14,700

50.3

214.4

1,099.2

4,443.0

2009-10

4,156.0

2,115.1

1,352

1,266

13,970

49.8

211.2

1,049.8

4,317.4

2010-11

3,744.9

1,812.3

1,361

1,276

12,980

49.3

194.7

948.6

3,890.3

2011-12

3,330.9

1,569.9

1,312

1,232

11,410

49.3

181.8

867.2

3,463.4

2012-13

3,210.9

1,465.2

1,286

1,209

11,030

50.1

187.6

837.0

3,348.4

2013-14

3,059.7

1,372.7

1,275

1,201

10,580

50.8

190.5

815.3

3,199.4

2014-15

2,989.6

1,333.7

1,265

1,192

10,370

51.3

193.9

801.9

3,132.2

2015-16

2,926.8

1,304.2

1,255

1,185

10,200

51.7

197.2

789.6

3,072.3

2016-17

2,874.9

1,287.0

1,247

1,179

10,030

52.0

199.8

778.6

3,022.7

2017-18

2,845.0

1,277.1

1,242

1,175

9,870

52.5

202.5

770.2

2,995.0

2018-19

2,829.1

1,268.8

1,236

1,172

9,700

52.9

204.9

762.0

2,981.1

Sector Rank

8/21

7/21

7/21

3/21

6/21

3/3

3/3

5/21

1/3

Economy Rank

278/620

222/620

294/620

242/619

256/620

159/213

125/199

201/620

79/196





Industry Data

Revenue 

(%)

Industry 
Value Added 

(%)

Establishments 

(%)

Enterprises 

(%)

Employment 

(%)

Exports 

(%)

Imports 

(%)

Wages 

(%)

Domestic 
Demand 

(%)

2005-06

4.4

2.8

3.2

3.6

-2.6

-12.1

-17.8

-3.1

3.0

2006-07

0.1

0.0

3.0

3.1

-1.1

-1.7

-8.6

-0.9

-0.4

2007-08

0.4

-1.6

6.9

7.3

-2.4

-13.7

-8.1

-0.7

0.1

2008-09

-3.7

-1.0

-4.9

-4.8

-5.8

-8.0

-8.0

-4.9

-3.9

2009-10

-2.9

2.9

-1.1

-0.9

-5.0

-1.0

-1.5

-4.5

-2.8

2010-11

-9.9

-14.3

0.7

0.8

-7.1

-1.0

-7.8

-9.6

-9.9

2011-12

-11.1

-13.4

-3.6

-3.4

-12.1

0.0

-6.6

-8.6

-11.0

2012-13

-3.6

-6.7

-2.0

-1.9

-3.3

1.6

3.2

-3.5

-3.3

2013-14

-4.7

-6.3

-0.9

-0.7

-4.1

1.4

1.5

-2.6

-4.4

2014-15

-2.3

-2.8

-0.8

-0.7

-2.0

1.0

1.8

-1.6

-2.1

2015-16

-2.1

-2.2

-0.8

-0.6

-1.6

0.8

1.7

-1.5

-1.9

2016-17

-1.8

-1.3

-0.6

-0.5

-1.7

0.6

1.3

-1.4

-1.6

2017-18

-1.0

-0.8

-0.4

-0.3

-1.6

1.0

1.4

-1.1

-0.9

2018-19

-0.6

-0.6

-0.5

-0.3

-1.7

0.8

1.2

-1.1

-0.5

Sector Rank

19/21

18/21

12/21

14/21

19/21

1/3

2/3

18/21

3/3

Economy Rank

599/620

602/620

491/620

460/619

591/620

119/213

123/199

579/620

182/196





Annual Change

IVA/Revenue 

(%)

Imports/Demand 

(%)

Exports/Revenue 

(%)

Revenue per 
Employee 

($’000)

Wages/Revenue 

(%)

Employees 
per Est.

Average Wage 

($)

Share of the 
Economy 

(%)

2004-05

48.46

7.51

1.73

255.58

28.61

13.12

73,118.21

0.17

2005-06

47.70

5.99

1.46

273.88

26.55

12.38

72,705.88

0.17

2006-07

47.67

5.49

1.43

277.04

26.30

11.89

72,853.57

0.17

2007-08

46.72

5.04

1.23

284.91

26.01

10.86

74,096.15

0.16

2008-09

48.04

4.83

1.18

291.08

25.69

10.75

74,775.51

0.15

2009-10

50.89

4.89

1.20

297.49

25.26

10.33

75,146.74

0.15

2010-11

48.39

5.00

1.32

288.51

25.33

9.54

73,081.66

0.13

2011-12

47.13

5.25

1.48

291.93

26.04

8.70

76,003.51

0.11

2012-13

45.63

5.60

1.56

291.11

26.07

8.58

75,883.95

0.10

2013-14

44.86

5.95

1.66

289.20

26.65

8.30

77,060.49

0.09

2014-15

44.61

6.19

1.72

288.29

26.82

8.20

77,328.83

0.08

2015-16

44.56

6.42

1.77

286.94

26.98

8.13

77,411.76

0.08

2016-17

44.77

6.61

1.81

286.63

27.08

8.04

77,627.12

0.08

2017-18

44.89

6.76

1.85

288.25

27.07

7.95

78,034.45

0.08

2018-19

44.85

6.87

1.87

291.66

26.93

7.85

78,556.70

0.07

Sector Rank

7/21

3/3

3/3

12/21

8/21

13/21

8/21

7/21

Economy Rank

191/620

139/196

176/213

327/620

182/620

281/620

163/620

222/620





Key Ratios

Figures are inflation-adjusted 2014 dollars. Rank refers to 2014 data.

SOURCE: WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU



WWW.IBISWORLD.COM.AU Magazine and Directory Publishing in Australia July 2013 32

Jargon & Glossary

Industry Jargon

CIRCULATION Number of copies sold per issue, or 
distributed in the case of a free title.

CONSUMER MAGAZINES Titles aimed at the general 
public that cover a broad range of topics.

MAGAZINE A periodical that is published frequently.

READERSHIP The number of people reading a 
periodical, as opposed to the number of people buying 
it.

BARRIERS TO ENTRY High barriers to entry mean that 
new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low 
barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an 
industry.

CAPITAL INTENSITY Compares the amount of money 
spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with 
that spent on labour. IBISWorld uses the ratio of 
depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. 
High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to 
$1 of labour; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to 
$1 of labour; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every 
$1 of labour.

CONSTANT PRICES The dollar figures in the Key 
Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for 
inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as 
the base year. This removes the impact of changes in 
the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the 
‘real’ growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation 
adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the 
Australian Bureau of Statistics’ implicit GDP price 
deflator.

DOMESTIC DEMAND Spending on industry goods and 
services within Australia, regardless of their country of 
origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry 
revenue, and then subtracting exports.

EMPLOYMENT The number of permanent, part-time, 
temporary and casual employees, working proprietors, 
partners, managers and executives within the industry.

ENTERPRISE A division that is separately managed and 
keeps management accounts. Each enterprise consists 
of one or more establishments that are under common 
ownership or control.

ESTABLISHMENT The smallest type of accounting unit 
within an enterprise, an establishment is a single 
physical location where business is conducted or where 
services or industrial operations are performed. Multiple 
establishments under common control make up an 
enterprise.

EXPORTS Total value of industry goods and services sold 
by Australian companies to customers abroad.

IMPORTS Total value of industry goods and services 
brought in from foreign countries to be sold in Australia.

INDUSTRY CONCENTRATION An indicator of the 
dominance of the top four players in an industry. 
Concentration is considered high if the top players 
account for more than 70% of industry revenue. 
Medium is 40% to 70% of industry revenue. Low is less 
than 40%.

INDUSTRY REVENUE The total sales of industry goods 
and services (exclusive of excise and sales tax); subsidies 
on production; all other operating income from outside 
the firm (such as commission income, repair and service 
income, and rent, leasing and hiring income); and 
capital work done by rental or lease. Receipts from 
interest royalties, dividends and the sale of fixed 
tangible assets are excluded.

INDUSTRY VALUE ADDED (IVA) The market value of 
goods and services produced by the industry minus the 
cost of goods and services used in production. IVA is 
also described as the industry’s contribution to GDP, or 
profit plus wages and depreciation.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The level of international 
trade is determined by ratios of exports to revenue and 
imports to domestic demand. For exports/revenue: low is 
less than 5%; medium is 5% to 20%; and high is more 
than 20%. Imports/domestic demand: low is less than 
5%; medium is 5% to 35%; and high is more than 
35%.

LIFE CYCLE All industries go through periods of growth, 
maturity and decline. IBISWorld determines an 
industry’s life cycle by considering its growth rate 
(measured by IVA) compared with GDP; the growth rate 
of the number of establishments; the amount of change 
the industry’s products are undergoing; the rate of 
technological change; and the level of customer 
acceptance of industry products and services.

NONEMPLOYING ESTABLISHMENT Businesses with 
no paid employment or payroll, also known as 
nonemployers. These are mostly set up by self-employed 
individuals.

PROFIT IBISWorld uses earnings before interest and tax 
(EBIT) as an indicator of a company’s profitability. It is 
calculated as revenue minus expenses, excluding 
interest and tax.

VOLATILITY The level of volatility is determined by 
averaging the absolute change in revenue in each of the 
past five years. Volatility levels: very high is more than 
±20%; high volatility is ±10% to ±20%; moderate 
volatility is ±3% to ±10%; and low volatility is less than 
±3%.

WAGES The gross total wages and salaries of all 
employees in the industry. Benefits and on-costs are 
included in this figure.

IBISWorld Glossary



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