Bauer Media has become the biggest publisher of mass homes titles in Australia following the acquisition of Country Style, Inside Out and HomeLife.com.au.
Apart from this, the publisher has another reason to celebrate. One of its original brands in the homes category, Australian House & Garden, turned 70 earlier this year. Lisa Green has been its editor for 12 years.
“The magazine has changed quite significantly,” she told Mediaweek. “The pace of things has brought about the biggest change. We are now publishing content on multiple platforms.
“When I first started we sat down and mapped out our website.”
However, there are two things that remain unchanged, according to Green. The first is the role of the editor. “We have been mini business managers in a way for a long time. You always have to be across everything that is going on,” Green said.
The second thing that hasn’t changed is the interest and passion that people have about their homes in Australia.
“It hasn’t ever really waned. You do see some correlation in the long term with what is happening in the property market and magazine sales. If you look right back, you can see where the booms and dips have been. It feels more constant now,” Green said. “Even if the property market is a bit wobbly at the moment, it may just be an indication that people are renovating more.
“Either way, the homes magazine market has been stable – certainly for House & Garden.”
A part of the reason for this is the level of home ownership amongst the readers of the magazine. Green said it is very high. “Advertisers love talking to people who are absolutely committed to improving their houses at every chance.”
Australia has a healthy magazine market in the homes category with titles like Belle, Vogue Living, Real Living, Home Beautiful, Inside Out, Australian House & Garden and other mass and niche titles being produced locally.
“We are the biggest-selling aspiration title,” Green said. “We definitely have the weight of the numbers behind us.”
Green pointed to Australian House & Garden’s cross-platform readership of 666,000 as reported by Roy Morgan for 12 months to June 2018.
“We are nearly 200,000 readers ahead of our closest competitor,” Green said.
When asked about the competition on Pacific Magazines’ Better Homes and Gardens, which recorded a cross-platform readership of 1,909,000 in the same period, Green said: “It is categorised with Women’s Weekly and the like by Roy Morgan, so they don’t get measured in homes even though they are clearly playing in this space. But they have a very different market from us.”
Australian House & Garden is about “forever homes”, Green said.
Like other titles operated by Bauer Media, Australian House & Garden’s digital content is housed under the Homes To Love website.
Green said, “Users on Homes To Love are up 38.9% year-on-year and this was before the new brands came across from News Corp.
“The new brands have now started putting up content on Homes To Love too and we’ve got a lift already. This is amazing because they’ve only started to migrate their content across.”
Despite sharing a digital website with other Bauer brands, Australian House & Garden still operates its own social pages on Instagram and Facebook. This is important for Green, who said it allows for brands to directly connect with audience.
However, with a dedicated team running Homes To Love, Green said: “We have more resources on the content team than before.”