Security Trade Magazine Readership Statistics

By: John Honovich, Published on Jul 10, 2017

150 IPVM members reported how many and what security trade magazines they read, both in print and online.

Here are the key findings:

  • Most do not read any trade magazines, either in print or online.
  • However, the minority that do read trade magazines are far more likely to do so via print than online / websites.
  • Roughly 10% of respondents reads multiple magazines / websites
  • While no individual magazine had more than 20% selections from integrators, one magazine stood out.

Statistics

On the print side, just over half did not read any trade magazine in print:

However, online readership was significantly lower with less than a third regularly reading a security trade website:

Print vs Online

The survey did not cover why they read more in print than online. Certainly, having long-term print subscriptions that arrive at one's home or office certainly helps print readership, relatively speaking. However, the long-term impact of readership being lower on web vs print is not clear, given web's increasing dominance of reading / information gathering.

IPVM Factors

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We cannot determine whether IPVM members are:

  • Less likely to read trade magazines because they already read IPVM.
  • More likely to read trade magazines since they are more interested in keeping track of trends.

Since we have not surveyed non-IPVM members, we cannot determine which is greater.

That noted, from speaking with integrators at events and manufacturers in general, the results are consistent with our theory that the average integrator reads no industry publications, relying on an ad hoc mixture of manufacturer visits, hands on experience, etc.

Why None?

Here are some explanations of integrators who said they read none:

  • "I do not read regularly printed trade magazines because when the printed magazines' information is usually outdated"
  • "I get all of them, but don't hardly every read them. No time."
  • "They all go in the trash. I'm pretty sure I get at least 3 copies of everything in our office. I will usually flip through to look at the ad's but there's just not a lot of good information in there. They're usually not worth reading."
  • "None. If I'm looking for products usually I go to Manufacturers we currently use and maybe then do a general internet search if I don't find a solution for the current need"
  • "Print media is just not that interesting anymore."
  • "None - Who reads magazines?"
  • "None. I used to read Security Systems News, but even with my usual BS filters turned on, it has become pretty much unusable."
  • "Used all the time when I first got going in the industry back in 2008. Now it's just IPVM all the time. The magazines are getting thinner by the month. No point now."
  • "Occasionally these have some interesting info in them but I do get most of my product updates through manufacturers / partners we work with."
  • "None, I don't really care for trade magazines. Too much advertising or motives behind articles."
  • "Not read one for years!Advert adverts adverts."
  • 'None i've got better things to do with my time."
  • "None. I don't need another item further cluttering my desk."

Heavy Readers

A distinct minority (~10%) read lots of magazines:

  • "I read SDM, Security Insider and Security Today. These show up at the office and I browse through them throughout the month"
  • "Security Systems, Inc. Security Sales, Inc. Security Manager SDM The above cover my interests and, they are easy to read in paper."
  • "SD & I- Articles Security Management - ASIS Updates SDM- Industry Data"
  • "Security Sales and Integration, Security Management, SDM, and Security Dealer and Integrator"
  • "SDM, SS&I, Security Systems News, Security Management (ASIS), Security Magazine, Cabling installation & maintenance. Most of these are obviously primarily manufacturer/product driven, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - helps keep me aware on wider range of innovations being offered"

Mirroring the overall statistics, those integrators who read multiple magazines were far more likely to do so in print rather than online.

Top Choice - SDM

With ~20% of integrator respondents saying they read SDM in print and ~6% saying they read it online, SDM was the clear most common choice among trade magazines. There was not a lot of detailed explanation from integrators about why SDM, but they included:

  • "SDM. They actually have some useful info in there. Mostly I just look at the new product info to see if there's anything new and interesting."
  • "I will also read SDM mainly because I have been reading SDM since the early 80's."
  • "SDM Magazine Read for general knowledge/industry updates, ideas and solutions."
  • "SDM Magazine. Has lots of information for Integrators."
  • "SDM, because that is the only one that I know."

Important factors for SDM's selection, in our view, include that they primarily do their own long-form reporting (while many magazines republish 'thought pieces' / advertorials from manufacturers) and their strength in the alarm / intrusion side of the business.

Honorable Mention - Australia

Australian members heavily cited Security Electronics and Networks (SEN). Given Australia's far smaller population that North America or Europe, that was a notable result.

Online Comparative Stats

Below is a comparison of 4 trade magazine websites vs IPVM in terms of monthly page views:

And the same below in terms of monthly visitors / users:

Sources for this were SSN media kit, SSI media kit, SDM BPA report, SIW / Cygnus Media kit and IPVM's own states.

Note: IPVM's traffic statistics were moderately deflated and all other companies were inflated to be conservative and to compensate that our statistics are more recent that what the magazine websites report.

In IPVM's favor for traffic, IPVM publishes far more original reporting than security trade magazines. However, IPVM is surely weaker, as a percentage of traffic from search engines, since most of our pages are paywalled.

2 reports cite this report:

SDM To Stop Print Magazine on Apr 22, 2020
For nearly 50 years, SDM published a print trade magazine. Now, coronavirus...
SSN Publisher Quits, Starts New Print Trade Magazine on May 11, 2018
[link no longer available] After a decade as the publisher and face of...
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