Why Print and Podcasts are a match made in media heaven

Magazine brands have swiftly adapted to changing audience preferences in recent years. Instead of being sidelined by digital-first properties that could have rendered them obsolete, the industry’s rich history gave it a sturdy foundation upon which print brands could build dynamic new content offerings in digital video, social media, and - perhaps most importantly - podcasts. With this impressive reach across platforms, magazine brands provide advertisers with a holistic option unavailable elsewhere: activating on both traditional and bleeding-edge content channels while achieving print’s tried & true ROAS from names audiences already know & love.

Print still delivers for advertisers

Magazines have traditionally produced strong ROI for advertisers: As noted in the table below, readers measurably note ads and take action as a result of noting the ads.  When readers indicated they also visit the magazine brand’s website 1+ times a week, those engagement scores increase appreciably – demonstrating the value of multi-platform presence. This engagement trend can be seen when we aggregate all magazines across age groups, ensuring that magazine advertisers will not only reach all segments of the population, but can expect high engagement by investing in a magazine’s multi-platform opportunities.

Magazine Type

Magazine Only

Magazine + Website visit 1+ times/week



Action Taken


Action Taken

Women’s Titles*





18-34 Top 5 Magazines**





Men’s Titles***





*Essence, First For Women, Good Housekeeping, People En Espanol, Real Simple, The Pioneer Woman, Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Women’s Health (MRI-Simmons Starch Advertising Research 1/1/22-8/15/22); **Top indexing magazines: Cosmopolitan, Game Informer, Outside, Rolling Stone, Vogue (MRI-Simmons Starch Advertising Research 1/1/22-8/1/22);***Cigar Aficionado, Esquire, GQ, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal (MRI-Simmons Starch Advertising Research 1/1/22-8/1/22)

Podcasts are a no-brainer for print brands

After exploding in popularity in the last decade, podcasts are a natural brand extension for magazines. In general, podcast audiences are younger (median age 39) compared to TV viewers (median age 60), adding new fans to the magazine brand that aren’t reached by their parent print or website. 

Based on the latest data from MRI-Simmons’ 2022 August Podcast Study, we know that that 68 million (27%) Americans listened to a podcast in the past 30 days. Of that group, 17 million (25%) listened to a podcast daily. Listeners are engaged with multiple programs each week, showing stickiness that was previously unattainable by weekly or monthly magazines.  27% of podcast listeners spend 3-6 hours of listening in a typical week!

There are no shortage of podcasts to choose from, but we find that publishers matter: listeners tell us that they pay attention to the publishers of podcasts they listen to (66%) and when selecting a podcast to listen to, the company that publishes it is important to them (61%).  Seeing a prestigious print brand next to a show’s name translates to significant listenership. These podcast listeners tell us they tuned in to podcasts from The New York Times (19%), Dotdash-Meredith (17%) The Economist (13%) and The Atlantic (9%) in the last 12 months.  The circle of media life continues. 

Print readers and podcast listeners are desirable for two key reasons

At first blush, magazines and podcasts might seem like opposites. But their fans bear two striking similarities:

  1. They like the ads on each platform.

In exclusive MRI-Simmons data compiled for the forthcoming 2022 Magazine Media Factbook, we see that Americans are far more likely to find that magazines have ads about things they care about, fit well with the content, are high-quality, and help make purchase decisions compared to ad-supported TV networks and websites.

When thinking about this media... Magazines Websites Ad-supported
 TV Networks
Pay attention to or notice ads 134 94 91
Products/services advertised are high-quality 139 92 89
Has ads about things I care about  133 97 85
Ads fit well with the content 134 92 87
Get valuable info from the ads 132 97 85
More likely to buy products in ads 128 97 84
Ads help make purchase decisions 128 97 84

Note: Data for each medium based on levels of agreement with above statements for a set of vehicles in each medium.
Index: Percentage of adults who used a set of vehicles in each medium vs. percentage of adults who used any of these magazine media, websites, and TV vehicles.

Source: MRI-Simmons Multi-Media Engagement Study, May 2022.
*Vehicles describe all of the magazines, websites, and ad-supported TV networks measured in the Multi-Media Engagement Study.

From the Podcast Study, we know that podcasts similarly enjoy high marks for the ads within. These consumers say that ads in podcasts make them more aware of new products and services (79%) and when they like a podcast, they find they listen to the ads no matter what the category (67%). 

  1. They have significant spending power

Another important factor is spending power. Looking at the total population, heavy magazine readers lead in spending power in many key advertising categories when compared to other mediums. Podcasts listeners have the highest spending power overall and keep pace with magazine readers in many of those categories. In the last 12 months, listeners of "The Economist Asks" spent an average of $908 on clothing and shoes and Dotdash-Meredith’s "Biscuits & Jam" listeners spent an average of $771.


The combination of print and podcasts is powerful. Print brands with rich histories have expertly married their identities to an emerging medium to tremendous effect, and given advertisers a golden opportunity to broaden engagement and generate returns.  

To learn more about the MRI-Simmons Podcast Study, click here. To learn more about MRI-Simmons USA and our best-in-class print measurement, click here.

Special thanks to Laura Vaccaro, Senior Analyst, Custom Analytics at MRI-Simmons, for her contributions to this blog post.


Catherine Saraniti
Catherine Saraniti
Catherine Saraniti is the Senior Vice President of Media Sales at MRI-Simmons. In her role, Cathy handles major publisher accounts and is a magazine “super fan”.