Maybe print isn’t for the new generation as results from the latest Audit Bureau Circulations (ABC) shows print youth mags are plummeting.
However, even with the decrease which saw the likes of Bauer Media’s Dolly and Pacific Magazines’ Girlfriend drop 22.3% and 23.3% respectively, Pacific Magazine’s director of magazines Peter Zavecz says they are “quite encouraged” by the results.
“To be honest we’re quite encouraged by the figures really when you consider the amount of time that aged group is spending online and mobile,” he told B&T.
“Certainly that market is a challenge for magazines, particularly with the digital options out there, but that’s something that we’ve been aware of for some time, and our digital offering, we are certainly ramping it up.”
While many of magazines in Australia saw somewhat of a decline in circulation, according to the ABC, the overall magazine market is showing strength, as data from EMMA (enhanced media metrics Australia) shows Aussies spent $357 million on magazines in the past six months.
“The figures for both readership and circulation still show the power of magazines’ reach and the high levels of consumer interest,” Robin Parkes, executive director of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA), said.
“Readers are still showing an appetite for buying printed editions of magazines because they offer such a great reading experience. Australian consumers still love their magazines with 93% of adults reading magazines and 11.6 million magazines sold in Australia every month.”
While the ABC results displayed a drop in circulation for most women’s lifestyle and fashion magazines, the three month readership data from EMMA displays some form of stability with Bauer Media’s Australian Women’s Weekly seeing a monthly readership of 2.4 million.
Over in the health and fitness category, Bauer Media’s Women’s Fitness showed a massive 21.4% leap in circulation, where other health and fitness titles displayed modest increases or the beginnings of a decline.
Aussies also seem to be more into the decorating and homes and gardens with at least four titles across the category seeing some form of increase.
“There has been and continues to be a big emphasis on people investing in their own homes, and looking for inspiration as they invest in their own homes, so we’ve seen a boom across that home renovation industry and certainly the magazines are getting a big run off of that,” Tony Kendall, director of sales at Bauer Media, told B&T.
Youth mags appeared to show the steepest decline according to the ABC results, with Next Media’s Girl Power showing the sharpest decline at 24.8%.
Pacific Magazines’ Total Girl and Girlfriend fell 16.1% and 23.3% and Bauer’s Dolly, which recently refreshed its look and feel, saw a 22.3% fall to 70,083 readers per month.
“We’re looking at the brands like Dolly and Cleo for us as now 360 brand if you like,” Kendall said.
“The circulation is soft but then the social media audience and the mobile audiences are growing exponentially, so the brand as a whole probably even has a bigger footprint than before, but certainly the circulation of the magazine themselves have been soft.”
Moving on to women’s magazines in general, the category as a whole saw a bit of a slump in circulation figures.
Most Pacific Magazines’ titles saw a modest drop in figures with InStyle dropping only 0.7%, New Idea falling 4%, Marie Claire reducing by 1.7%, and Famous plummeting 18.3%.
Similarly, Bauer Media’s Cosmopolitan and Cleo fell by 14% and 17.4% respectively, Australian Women’s Weekly descended 4.1%, however Harper’s Bazaar managed an incremental increase of 0.4%.
In terms of the average total paid mastheads in Australia, Australian Women’s Weekly showed the second highest number at 460,835, a 3.5% drop year on year.
Regarding its readership, Kendall likens Australian Women’s Weekly to that of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules.
“I was looking at my media iScreen the other day and seeing the whole of Australia is celebrating the fact that My Kitchen Rules is doing 1.9 million and Australian Women’s Weekly does over 2.4 million readers every month, so the headline I think should be ‘Australian Women’s Weekly smashes MKR’,” he said.
“And when you consider that 90% of Women’s Weekly’s readership is women and probably only about 55% of MKR’s reach is women, it’s even stronger as well.”
NewsLifeMedia’s Vogue Australia, while dipping 2.3%, saw a total masthead audit of 51,677 sales per month.
“While there are some ups and downs in the audit our numbers overall are stable,” Nicole Sheffield, CEO, said.
“We have some of the most powerful and trusted brands in this country and through continuous evolution we are able to deliver market leading products and platforms.”
Frankie Magazine, published by independent media company Morrison Media, was one of the few magazines to show a healthy increase, its circulation leaping 4.6% year on year to 63,645.
Out the back in the home and garden section the grass is looking greener with many magazines in the category seeing a leap of some sort.
Bauer Media’s Real Living increased 8.1% year on year, bringing its average net paid print sales to 81,103, but it wasn’t enough to beat out Pacific Magazines’ Australian Home Beautiful which saw an 8.3% leap to 86,210.
Across the rest of the home and garden, Grand Designs Australia by Universal Magazines rose by 6.2%, Bauer’s Australian House and Garden stepped up 0.6% and Pacific Magazines’ Better Homes and Gardens only fell by 0.9%.
The food and health categories each saw their own pits of despair and joy however Bauer’s new title Women’s Fitness claimed top prize with a massive leap of 21.4%.
Pacific Magazines’ Women’s Health and Men’s Health fell by 7% and 8.1% respectively, and Bauer’s other health title Good Health had a 0.9% growth.
Pacific Magazines saw a healthy leap in the food section with its Feast and Diabetic Living titles increasing 4.1% and 7.6%.
Superfoods Ideas by NewsLifeMedia nabbed a 4.2% boom, however its other magazine Delicious saw a 12% drop.
Even though magazines have seen their fair share of ups and downs over the years, the MPA maintains magazines still have a place on the shelves.
“As an industry, we continue to demonstrate to advertisers the true power of magazines, both in size of audience and depth of engagement across platforms,” Parkes said.