2017 was Ink’s best year – so how will we keep surfing that positive wave in 2018?
They say that a rising tide raises all ships, but it feels like we are one of the few media companies in the world that is not sinking or at least adrift...? In fact, we are thriving – so what will 2018 hold?
For many publishers, 2017 was an annus horribilis. They are faced with chasing a plummeting audience who have become all too distracted and media promiscuous in their young lives… But this very weakness is our success.
Our business model is one of growth, both in terms of the number of magazines that we produce for our partners and those partners are delivering millions of new eyeballs at the rate of an extra 3–5% year: year-on-year! So, it’s a double win. But the key here is that our media and advertising is on essential travel documents – in the case of our TAD, and our magazines are infront of millions of people when they are least distracted and are relaxed. It’s clearly time to follow the clever money.
So, the facts speak for themselves – but it is both humbling and wonderful when you are recognised and celebrated for the work you do. Today, City AM in London (the name rather explains that it’s the daily business newspaper) has written a feature on us “In-flight magazines are taking off.”. And we couldn’t be happier.
With new business deals, we have INCREASED our potential audience by 80 million readers in one year alone and we can already see another uptick in 2018 coming. Already in the first 2 weeks of 2018, we have seen more people placing adverts in our publications, than we did in for the whole of January 2017.
And like the audience, the momentum is real. Advertisers are telling us that they are seeing the rising cost of digital – at the same time – people are paying money not to see their ads! The skip button and X to shut a window are what people are looking for when an untargeted and irrelevant advert comes online.
But all this got me to thinking, are we the only major print media company left the industry in the ascendancy?
While there are some trend-bucking-niche areas of publishing, we MUST take travel media into serious consideration as it’s a mass market medium that goes direct to consumers hands and it is enjoying year-on-year positive numbers growth. But the icing on the cake is that it is predicted that the market will be doubling in size by 2035 as more people get inspired to travel. We really are bringing brands and a growing numbers of real consumers closer together every minute of every day.
This positive-print-progress is happening even as we integrate new technologies into our daily lives. In the last year, we have brought four new magazines to market - bringing our grand total to 28 in our portfolio; and they are collectively in front of over 802 million passengers a year. Plus, we have launched a multitude of new digital and video content for our partners, further proving that they are engaged and we are engaged.
Ink now has an annual turnover of £57 million, up around 18% on the previous year, and once we have finished the accounts for the year, 2017 is set to be our busiest year to date in our 24-year history. (and we won 15 industry awards) This is real.
In 2018 we already know that we are poised to announce two new media partnerships, and we’ve re-signed existing print deals with: easyJet, Eurowings, Norwegian, American Airlines and Thomas Cook and digital deals with Brussels Airlines, KLM and Aer Lingus. Plus, we have expanded the creative product set by launching new digital assets and bespoke, branded video programming across multiple touchpoints including: social, branded video content, short-form films and hosted shows. As an example, we launched a new video channel for United Airlines on Jan 1st and we are already making videos for American Airlines, easyJet, Silk Air, Norwegian and Etihad. Is that the key? A full-service storytelling agency with a captive audience? It sure feels like it is.
Well it’s becoming very clear that not all print is equal and I for one know that as a company I am delighted that we have firmly set our eyes towards success, growth, new technologies and new distribution channels. Our challenge is to continue to keep ahead of the ever-moving public and the connections that brands desire but I urge for journalists to not lump all print magazines together into that “decline” model. As clearly we are far from that.