Circulation News Not Good for Big Magazine Publishers

Magazines continue to face a tough newsstand climate, according to a sampling of second-half 2010 figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Vogue and Vanity Fair publisher Condé Nast fared relatively well, considering. Its circulation increased one percent across the board, with 12 out of 18 titles flat or up in the period. Single-copy sales declined 10.3 percent, however, with 15 of 18 titles flat or down. Big decliners included two titles that recently appointed new editorial leadership, Bon Appétit (down 27.7 percent) and Lucky (off 22.4 percent).
Sales of digital copies aided single copy sales at two titles, Wired and GQ.
Hearst Magazines will report an overall circulation decline of six percent, versus an industry average decline of 10 percent.
Nine of Hearst’s 14 titles had newsstand declines, including Cosmopolitan (down 10.7 percent); O, The Oprah Magazine (down 8.2 percent); and Good Housekeeping (off 3.3 percent).
Mid-sized publisher Rodale will report single-copy declines at six out of seven of its titles, including Men’s Health (down nine percent) and Prevention (down 14 percent). Overall circ, though, was up or down slightly across its portfolio.
Publishers often deemphasize the importance of single-copy sales, noting it’s usually a small percentage of their total circulation, but ad buyers still consider newsstand a significant indicator of consumer wantedness.
The ABC is set to release its magazine Fas-Fax report covering the second half of 2010 on February 7, but some companies released their figures to the press early.
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