43 Distressing Time Magazine Demographics

One of the leading magazines for news, profile stories, and current events over the last several decades has been Time. By understanding which demographics are attracted to this type of magazine, we can apply this data to our own personal marketing ideas and plans.

Time has a total circulation which averages over 3.2 million annually and a readership which is estimated to be 25 million. 80% of Time readers come from the United States.

Founded in 1923 by Henry Luce, who helped to build the magazine into a name-brand throughout the world, Time is now published with several editions, including Europe, the Middle East, the South Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. It has grown to become the world’s largest new-related weekly magazine, although it does not publish 52 issues any more as a cost-savings measure, but since 1997 circulation numbers of steadily decreased. The following demographics might show us why.

Time Demographics in the United States

  • American men [52%] are more likely to read this magazine compared to American women [48%].
  • The median age of someone who reads Time in the US: 50.
  • $77,926. That’s the median HHI for readers of this magazine when looking at American households.
  • About 75% of people in the US who read Time has either attended college or graduated with a degree.
  • 1 in 4 readers of this magazine hold a professional or managerial position.
  • 3 out of 8 households which say they read Time on a regular basis have a household income of $100,000 or more.

Time is one of those magazines which always seems to be at the doctor’s office and in other waiting rooms, so the brand saturation for it is good. That awareness seems to translate over to personal subscriptions or newsstand sales when HHI is relatively high. The US audience for this magazine are people who want or need to stay up-to-date with current events, have career experiences that have led them to promotions in the past, and are generally well-educated. By understanding this and that most readers fit within this demographic, advertisers and the publisher can then better target their value propositions on a weekly basis.

Time Demographics in EMEA

  • About 1.7 million people read Time in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa [EMEA].
  • The total circulation in the EMEA region for Time averages about 450,000 annually.
  • 62% of the readership in this region are men and the average age of each reader is 45.
  • The average personal income of someone in EMEA who reads Time: €67,241.
  • 44% of the audience in this region list their occupation as being “Senior Management.”
  • 61%. That’s the percentage of the Time audience in EMEA that has been university educated.
  • 1 in 4 readers are frequent fliers, making 11 or more air trips for business or pleasure over their lifetime.
  • About 90% of the EMEA readership lives in Europe.
  • The circulation in South Africa: 35,978.

As the data shows, Time is a magazine which is primarily read in nations that would be considered “developed” today. Because the magazine focuses on current events and the people who are leading the changes the world is seeing today, many of these readers are seeing an issue of this magazine as an investment in their future. By understanding what is happening in the world, they are able to make better choices at work where they may be in charge of several direct reports. They travel frequently, have disposable income, but are generally younger than US readers in a direct comparison, which means Time has more long-term subscription possibilities with the EMEA region.

Time Demographics in Asia

  • The circulation of Time in Asia is estimated to be above 200,000 on an annual basis.
  • 4 out of 5 readers of this magazine in Asia are men.
  • 47% of the audience in Asia for Time is under the age of 45.
  • 87% say that they are decision-makers within their business or career.
  • Just 43% of readers say that they have access to their own private bank account.
  • 59% have participated in some level of executive training, post-graduate education, or a professional development course within the past 12 months.
  • 51% list their professional as being an “owner” or “partner” in their business.
  • The percentage of Asian readers who own a tablet, smartphone, or similar device: 86%.
  • 82% of the audience states that having an international perspective about business and current events is important to them.
  • 21% say that they are technology decision makers for their employer.
  • 3 out of 4 say that make an effort to purchase the latest releases available from tech products.
  • 69%. That’s the percentage of Time readers in Asia who describe themselves as an “opinion leader.”
  • Hong Kong [47,000] has the highest circulation numbers in Asia. This is followed by Singapore [38,000], Japan [28,000], and India [25,000].

Although the actual circulation numbers in Asia for Time are relatively low, they are actually rather encouraging. Asia is just beginning to join the global community in terms of internet saturation and exposure to US and Europe publications, which means there is a lot of growth potential here. The heavy male-to-female ratios is likely due to cultural differences more than anything else and as women gain more influence and climb the corporate ladder in this region, that may also change. The one interesting thing to note in this data is that while almost 9 out of 10 in this audience make business decisions, only 1 in 5 describe themselves as technology decision makers.


Time Demographics in the South Pacific

  • The audited circulation for Time in the South Pacific is about 69,000 annually.
  • The circulation numbers for Australia: 56,000.
  • The circulation numbers for New Zealand: 12,000.

Data from the South Pacific for Time is rather limited. If trends are similar here as they are in other regions, then expect the magazine to target well-educated individuals who are career-experienced and have a higher than average HHI. The one interesting takeaway from this limited data is that Time serves Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands with this particular demographic, yet no available circulation numbers come from the Pacific Islands whatsoever.

The Advertising Slump for Time

  • The industry which provided the largest drop of advertising pages for Time and similar magazines is the automotive industry, which reduced advertising by more than 21%.
  • Food products, financial/real estate, and public transportation all dropped advertising pages by 12% each.
  • Even the retail sector cost Time a 3.8% drop in advertising pages ordered for their industry.
  • Only two sections have seen gains in the number of advertising pages ordered: toiletries/cosmetics [3.9%] and apparel [0.1%].
  • Despite these losses, the publisher of Time has reported consistent increases in revenue growth, topping $3 billion for the first time in 2011.

When the global recession hit in 2007-2009, the magazine industry suffered a major blow. People in all demographics were cutting back expenses wherever they could and magazines were one of the first things to be targeted. There has been a good recovery, especially in terms of revenues, for top magazines like Time, but even with these increases, audience numbers aren’t back to pre-recession numbers as of yet. This may be because as audience numbers are gaining ground, advertiser numbers are losing ground.

Has Targeting These Demographics Been Successful for Time?

  • Time’s overall print circulation has dropped 21% over the span of 10 years from 4.1 million copies per week on average in 2003 to about 3.3 million in 2013.
  • From 2002 through 2012, Time’s ad pages declined 49%. In the first half of 2013, Time lost 17% of its ad pages compared to 2012 data.
  • Time added about 42,000 digital replica subscriptions and nearly 2,500 digital replica single copies, bringing its total circulation [print and digital] up 0.7% from the year before.
  • The HHI for Time readers has seen annual drops of 1-2% since 2011.
  • Nearly 30% of the covers which are featured on Time involve national or international affairs. Only 2.5% of the covers involve environmental news.
  • In Presidential election cycles in the US, the number of covers dedicated to national affairs typically doubles for the American audience.

From 2008-2011, the magazine industry really struggled, seeing major declines in audience numbers across the board. Paid subscriptions in 2010 dipped significantly, but a recovery has been taking place since 2013. Newsstand sales are continuing to struggle, sometimes dropping as much as 8% in year-to-year data. Yet because Time has focused more on the wants of their audience, they have seen a minimal impact from this trend. From 2011-2012, for example, Time saw just a 0.5% decrease in its level of circulation. In comparison, magazines like People saw declines of 6% or more. This is why knowing your audience is so important.

Digital Publishing

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