ABCs: Has magazine decline bottomed out?

ABCs: Has magazine decline bottomed out?
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The decline in magazine sales appears to have “bottomed out”, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

Analysis from Fusion Strategy shows weekly circulation declined 8.41% when adjusted for magazines closed since the March quarter, and just a 1.5% drop in the same metric for monthlies and less-frequent formats.

This has led the firm to suggest whilst the “audit is once again not kind to magazines” the market may finally have “bottomed out” in terms of the rate of audience decline.  

Monthlies strong in lifestyle and food, but not in fashion

Weeklies still falling, Zoo looking questionable

Overall magazine circulations dropped 3% in the six months to June, as 12.1m are sold every month, with Magazine Publisher’s Association executive director Robin Parkes saying it shows the effect of the flat advertising market and low consumer sentiment.

But Pacific Magazines CEO Nick Chan told B&T whilst “publishers would love it to be 3% growth” the figure is “probably not that bad”  considering the tough retail economy, with many magazines still purchased in-store.

Chan also claimed Pac Mags now has a 34% share of total circulation across its portfolio, up 3% on the same time last year, whilst NewsLifeMedia is boasting 39.3% of total digital sales with its stable of titles, led by Donna Hay.

Bauer Media is still by far the largest player in the Australian market with the two biggest selling monthly (Australian Women’s Weekly) and weekly (Woman’s Day) titles, and a 49.6% share of all audited Aussie titles.

CEO Matt Stanton (pictured) added: “Australians spent $386.4 million dollars on a total of 72.8 million officially-audited magazines in the past six months, which means almost five copies were bought every second.

“Bauer titles sold 36.1 million copies in the six months to June, 2013, generating $190.8 million. That consumers continue to invest their time and discretionary spend on that level is proof of magazines’ enduring appeal and is a credit to the teams behind these diverse, engaging titles.”

NewsLifeMedia CEO Nicole Sheffield said whilst the latest figures were good for the publisher, “figures now only tell part of our story”, citing Monday’s launch of new readership metric EMMA as painting a more accurate picture for the industry.

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