When the representative from the MPA came and showed me their category system, I immediately asked “Are telling me that all the major companies are using this now and it’s coming thought XchangeIT now?“. When she said “Yes”! I can still remember the WOW I felt. Instantly I thought that this is what we need as it is a great way of organizing the magazines on the shelf. You can now just look up the magazine on the computer and you will know where to find it?
However as I looked though it I found it puzzling. So I asked “How is this classification system derived?” She replied “We did research.” I asked “Can I see this research?” I received an answer suggesting they would send it out, but got a hint that it came from the US. I found that answer both intriguing and puzzling. Most magazine sales in the US are by subscription, not retail. I have been assured that most US magazine sales revenue comes from advertising. It is amazing that in the US retailers get a higher margin than here, but fewer people there want to sell it. But if anyone would do such research on retail sales, it would be the Yanks and I would like to see what their professors and wise men come up with, although it would probably be something so complex no-one could understand it.
Meanwhile, we immediately did some changes to our software. I went to a few newsagents and asked them to try it out AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It was an instant success.
But I am yet to see this MPA research. But I have my suspicions. Magazines have two main sources of revenue, sales and advertising. One of the main roles of the MPA is selling advertising. I suspect looking though the MPA codes that they for different industries. What we are getting is the breakdown that a magazine salesperson uses to sell advertising space to clients. The reason magazine companies are determining these categories is because they use them to get advertising dollars.
Still no-one is complaining as in practise, it works great. What the MPA has done for magazines is a model for other industries like the greeting card companies. Something we are talking to John Sands now about. It is also something the newsagency industry as a group should push in all their major departments.