Gruen: Wil Anderson blasts Bauer as 'divorced from reality'

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 24 May 2018

Last night’s episode of Gruen put gossip magazines under the panelists' scopes, as they discussed the reason behind the decline in readership.

Former Leo Burnett boss Todd Sampson said while social media has been "the best gift" to gossip magazines, as it can start a conversation that can be fleshed out in print, technology has had a negative impact on the category.

"On the flipside I think technology, particularly self-serve in supermarkets, has really hurt magazines because it used to be an impulse purchase when you're standing around, waiting and looking. Then the cover, which is basically an ad, catches you and you buy it," Sampson said.

"Now, with self-serve, you just go straight through, so distribution is another challenge for them."

Sampson was joined by host Wil Anderson regular panellist PwC chief creative officer Russel Howcroft, BMF Australia executive planning director Christina Aventi and Leo Burnett Sydney head of content strategy Emily Taylor.

The conversation then turned to the "deceitful" content that often runs in gossip magazines.

Anderson pointed out that while Bauer Media's recent case with Australian actress Rebel Wilson, in which the company was fined for running false stories, should have slowed the level of misleading headlines. But the company is still printing stories that that “ring phoney”.

Anderson slammed Bauer and its Woman's Day title as “divorced from reality".

Aventi defended magazines and said they remain popular because society is "hardwired for drama" and they are simply catering to that need.

"It makes us feel better when we can see other people are struggling with divorce and that celebrities have cellulite too. What you have is a thing that grows and grows and becomes this truth resistant metavirus that we have all had a hand in creating," she said.

"Some of this stuff, if it's not bullying, it's one degree away from bullying. But we can't just abdicate responsibility here, we have to put our money where our ideals are to make sure we get the kind of quality that we want out there."

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