Print Readership Holds Steady

Despite ongoing paid circulation challenges, readership of newspapers and magazines held steady this fall versus a year ago, according to GfK MRI’s twice-annual audience survey. Figures refer to print readership only.
With interest in health and cooking on the rise, food and health magazines were big growth areas. Those included Fitness, up 23 percent; Everyday Food, up 15 percent; and Self, up 14 percent.
Those gains were offset partly by declines at others, including magazines that have cut their paid circulation. Those include Reader’s Digest, which was down 17 percent; and TV Guide, off 16 percent.
The leading business magazines have undergone major editorial changes in the past year, and their readership numbers have been mixed.
Readership was down 11 percent at Forbes, which brought on Lewis D’Vorkin in June to spearhead a new editorial direction. At Bloomberg Businessweek, which had an ownership change, new editor and relaunch in the past year, readership declined nearly 6 percent. Fortune, which redesigned in March, was up 6 percent.
At Newsweek, which has battled staff cuts, the loss of editor Jon Meacham and uncertainty surrounding its sale process this summer, readership fell 16 percent.
Among newspapers, big-city metros fared the worst, continuing an ongoing pattern. Overall, daily readership of the top 100 newspapers declined 2 percent, but for the top 10, the decline was 5 percent.
At the national papers, USA Today, which has suffered from softened business travel, had a 15 percent falloff in print readership, to 3.2 million. The Wall Street Journal declined 5 percent to 3.3 million, making it the biggest of the three in terms of readership. The New York Times’ daily readership declined 8 percent to 2.4 million while Sunday readership rose 4 percent to 4 million.