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Highs and Lows Make for a Difficult Newsstand Climate in Second Half of '06

By FOLIO: Staff

The top gainers and decliners in single copy sales of major magazines with verified and total paid circulations of over 400,000 spanned all genres from music to fashion and lad to business titles, according to the ABC FAS-FAX report for the second half of 2006. In all, it was a flat year for newsstand sales as well as paid and verified circulations totals.

Top newsstand gainers included the Mansueto publications Inc. and Fast Company, which saw their single copy sales increase 47.4 percent to 21,386 and 37.4 percent to 22,134, respectively. The two business publications were mostly flat in total paid and verified circulations with Fast Company increasing 1.9 percent to 750,178. Inc.'s total paid and verified circ was up just 0.4 percent to 695,559.

Child magazine suffered the highest declines in newsstand sales in the second half of 2006, falling 85.1 percent to just 1,218 copies. In another blow to lad magazine category, Stuff magazine had the second highest declines at 34.9 percent, moving 175,824 per issue. Maxim sales declined 12.2 percent to 450,575. Fellow lad mag, FHM said in December it planned to stop printing its magazine due to sagging ad sales.

Overall, many major publications were flat for the period that ran from July 1 to December 31 of last year, a good sign for an industry that often laments the demise of print, said Anne Finn, senior vice president of consumer marketing for Magazine Publishers of America. "You have some titles that are up and a few that are down, but many publications are in that flat range year over year," she said. "When you take into consideration the impact of people making fewer trips to the supermarket, and the impact of consumer confidence over the economy and the war, there are a lot things in this report pointing to the fact that magazines are still loved by consumers."

Despite an almost 6 percent decline in sales, Cosmopolitan closed out the second half of 2006 as the biggest newsstand seller moving just over 1.9 million copies issue, down from almost 2.1 million copies in the second half of 2005. A Cosmopolitan spokeswoman attributed the decline to a price hike the magazine enacted last year. "Cosmopolitan increased its cover price from $3.99 to $4.29 in May, a 7.5 percent hike," said spokeswoman Letena Lindsay. "In turn, while there was a slight newsstand decrease, Cosmo continues to be the biggest newsstand seller, but just as important, the revenue stream remains extremely strong."

Celebrity weekly People came in second with almost 1.6 million copies sold at the newsstand per issue, up 2.08 percent from a little over 1.5 million copies in the same period a year earlier. Women's World was the top seller in the women's magazine category with 1.4 million copies per issue, down 2.8 percent from almost 1.45 a year earlier. And Woman's Day saw an almost 20 percent decline in single copy sales - the largest of the period - selling 685,250 copies, down from 856,125 in the second half of 2005.

Women's Titles Have Mixed Half

The women's category was another mixed bag. Women's World was the top seller in the women's magazine category with 1.4 million copies per issue, down 2.8 percent from almost 1.45 a year earlier. And Woman's Day saw an almost 20 percent decline in single copy sales - the largest of the period - selling 685,250 copies, down from 856,125 in the second half of 2005. US Weekly was the sixth highest newsstand seller in the second half of 2006 with 978,285 copies, up from 954,892 in the second half of 2005.

Marie Claire suffered the biggest declines in the category, falling 26 percent during the period to 397,757. Jane suffered a similar fate with single copy sales falling 20.4 percent to 113,299. But newsstand sales of Harper's Bazaar increased 3.5 percent to 180,234. Sales of Allure at 292,028 were up just 0.1 percent, while Elle increased 4.2 percent to 357,333. Single copy sales of Instyle were down 7.9 percent to 765,937. Likewise, newsstand sales of Glamour fell 7.1 percent to 861,006. Vogue sales were down 6 percent to 437,512.

Some Business Titles Still Struggling

Although Mansueto's two business magazines fared well in newsstand sales, that wasn't true for every business publication. SmartMoney's single copy sales declined during the same period by 32.5 percent to 55,614 copies, and Fortune declined 16.5 percent to 36,661. Businessweek, on the other hand, was another gainer in the period increasing single copy sales 25.4 percent to 34,211 from 27,291 in the second half of 2005.

In the music category, both Blender and Spin saw large declines in newsstand sales with Blender declining 23 percent to 62,532, and Spin sales decreasing 21.5 percent to 40,680. Rolling Stone, however, saw a 5.3 increase in single copy sales to 135,344.

Newsweeklies See Losses

Declines at the newsstand also continued in the newsweekly category with single copy sales of Newsweek declining 16.8 percent to 188,838 and sales of Time falling 8.3 percent to 133,084. Sales of U.S. News & World Report declined 9.9 percent in the second half of 2006 to 36,666.

And on the tech side, both PC World and PC Magazine saw double digit declines. PC World's single copy sales were down 15.2 to 74,599, while PC Magazine's declined 15.1 to 29,716.

Top 10 Decliners:

Name, Percentage Decrease, Copies Sold in 2006, Copies Sold in 2005
Child -85.1, 1,218, 8,153
Stuff -34.9 percent, 175,824, 270,030
SmartMoney -32.5 percent, 55,614, 82,343
Marie Claire -26.9 percent, 397,757, 543,908
Premiere -25.6, 56,120, 75,300
Parenting -24.4 percent, 23,342, 30,883
Blender -23 percent, 62,532, 81,670
Spin -21.5 percent, 40,680, 51,799
Jane -20.4 percent, 113,299, 142,337
Entertainment Weekly -17.3 percent, 51,554, 62,333

Top 10 Gainers:

Name, Percentage Increase, Copies Sold in 2006, Copies Sold in 2005
Inc. 47.4 percent, 21,386, 14,507
Fast Company 37.4 percent, 22,134, 16,108
More 29 percent, 184,000, 142,600
Businessweek 25.4 percent, 34,211, 27,291
Life & Style Weekly 25.3 percent, 744,453, 549,358
Playboy 23.7, 332,123, 268,429
Cottage Living 23.9 percent, 139,116, 112,305
Conde Nast Traveler 19.9 percent, 33,408, 27,857
Teen Vogue 16.4 percent, 283,130, 243,191
Weight Watchers 15.18 percent, 411,591, 357,358
Dwell 13.3 percent, 90,705, 80,049

By FOLIO: Staff

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