The magazine circulation report due out next week will show celebrity weeklies are continuing to take a beating on the newsstand, according to early indications.
Newsstand giant People, usually a reliably strong seller, tumbled 12.4 percent on newsstands to an average of 1.1 million for the second half of 2011 versus the year-earlier period, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Rapid Report. This follows a first half in which the Time Inc. title’s newsstand sales fell 10.5 percent  year over year.
The industry bellwether still managed to keep its total circ essentially even at 3.6 million by selling 4.3 percent more subscriptions, though. All told, it also delivered a 3.5 percent bonus over its circulation promise, which should keep advertisers happy.
People's results don't augur well for the rest of the category, though. Indeed, Bauer Publishing's In Touch and Life & Style fell about 8.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, on the newsstand.
"The economy wasn't as good as people hoped, and the economy is the biggest factor in magazine sales," said Ian Scott, president of ad sales for Bauer.
American Media Inc.’s Star missed rate base on 12 of the 22 second-half issues reported so far while Wenner Media’s Us Weekly missed its circulation guarantee on five of 13 issues. Numbers are from the Rapid Report.
David Leckey, evp of American Media, said AMI's newsstand would be down about 16 percent across its titles and predicted an industrywide newsstand decline of about 9 percent. "Fitness, celebrity—I think it was one of the hardest six months that I can remember."
Other newsstand giants also struggled against a backdrop of a sluggish economy and reader migration online. No. 1 seller Hearst's Cosmopolitan was off 6.4 percent to 1.5 million. Time Inc.'s In Style fell 14 percent to 561,630.
Condé Nast’s single copy sales fell 10.5 percent across its 18-title portfolio. The shortfall was caused by declines at its biggest newsstand sellers, Glamour, which was down 10 percent; Vogue, off 5.6 percent; and Vanity Fair, down 20.1 percent.
The glam magazine publisher sold 2 percent more subscriptions, though, keeping overall circ flat with the year-ago period. Numbers were supplied by the company.