The Audit Bureau of Circulations today released its long-awaited FAS-FAX report for the first half of 2009. Not surprisingly, preliminary numbers showed that, of the more than 500 magazines reporting, overall paid subscriptions were flat, up about half a percentage point.
Single copy sales, meanwhile, were down 12 percent overall compared to the same six-month period last year. Notably, our beloved newsstand behemothsâ€”celebrity and fashion titlesâ€”saw some of the biggest single copy declines.
Celebrity magazines didnâ€™t fare much better on the newsstand. OK! magazineâ€”which announced today that it is reducing its rate base to 800,000 from 900,000â€”saw newsstand sales fall 20.4 percent to 398,360 copies. Time Inc.â€™s Entertainment Weekly posted the only newsstand growth with single copy sales climbing a modest 0.9 percent. Overall circ., however, dropped 1.9 percent to 1,779,537.
Although they donâ€™t rely heavily on newsstand sales, the newsweekly and business/finance categories also saw their share of single copy losses. Money magazine, which actually sells a significant number of copies on the newsstand, saw single copy sales drop 33.9 percent to 67,275 (down from 101,770). Among the decliners in both categories, only BusinessWeek, The Economist and Inc. didnâ€™t post double-digit declines.
Among the gainers, The Week saw single copies skyrocket 131.3 percent, but up only to 4,209 copies from 1,820. U.S. News & World Report (although no longer technically a newsweekly) saw a 27.4 percent spike in newsstand sales while its overall circulation dropped 25.3 percent to 1,365,652 copies.
Here's a look at single copy sales, category-by-category, through the first six months (per ABC):
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