Continued drops in discretionary expenditure made last year’s fourth quarter one of the toughest yet for the weekly magazines, with every single audited weekly title losing circulation.
Late yesterday Bauer and publishing partner Mondadori confirmed the axing of Grazia following a circulation drop of 24% in the October to December quarter.
Bauer CEO Matt Stanton said the closure of Australia's only weekly fashion title was "difficult and disappointing".
"Unfortunately, despite everyone's best efforts and the ongoing committment of the team, market dynamics are not able to sustain Grazia's weekly format.
"Bauer and Mondadori have therefore reluctantly concluded that Grazia is not commercially sustainable in this market," he said.
Zoo Weekly wasn’t too far behind, dropping 18.1% – indicative of the increasing trend of young men seeking out titilating content online.
The biggest selling weekly, Bauer’s Woman’s Day, was hit less dramatically, sliding 5.8% but maintaining significant weekly sales of 350,495.
Pacific Magazines’ New Idea dropped a minor 4%. In October to December it sold 293,031 magazines per week.
Other best-selling gossip titles NW (Bauer), OK! (Bauer) and Who (Pacific Magazines) also declined, with NW shedding 6.9%, OK! down 11.4% and Who less 4.6%.
While celebrity gossip magazine Famous (Pacific Magazines) showed stand-out growth in the previous quarter gaining 2.5% year-on-year it also felt the heat this round, albeit much less severely than every other weekly.
Famous lost only 2.9% of its sales in the three months to December making it the most stable weekly magazine. Its average weekly sales sat at 86,056.
Real life home-maker titles, Take 5 (Bauer) and That’s Life (Pacific) were some of the hardest hit, the former enduring a 10.8% drop and the latter losing 11% of its sales.
Across the board the weeklies fell an average of 11.7%.
MediaCom’s head of planning and implementation, Nick Keenan, blamed the dives on wallet-conscious consumers in the fragile post-GFC world.
"I still think magazines are a very important channel and I don’t lump them in with newspapers. It’s just down to discretionary spending. I think people still love magazines.
"We are still in a post GFC world where people are conscious about how much they spend. The days of putting three or four magazines in your shopping trolley are over and consumers will buy one or two.
“We’ve seen the closure of Grazia and again you are going to see a bit of spring cleaning in terms of bolstering up the titles that are working and vice versa”.
MPA executive director Robin Parkes also pointed to the frigid economic climate but singled out the struggling men’s sector as having dragged the average down.
“The weekly men's mags (Picture, People, Zoo) are driving the overall decline in this category in circulation," she said.
“However we can't overlook the fact that the biggest weekly magazines still sell close to a million copies a week,” she said.