The magazine publishing industry got some mixed news on Wednesday, with the Alliance for Audited Media reporting that overall newsstand sales dropped 8.2 percent for the second half of 2012. Though publications sold at retail did not fare well, the industry’s digital business is on the rise, with more than 280 magazine reporting more than 7.9 million digital replica editions—double the amount when compared to the second half of 2011, but still is just 2.4 percent of total average circulation.
Of the top 25 U.S. consumer magazines by total paid and verified circulation, 11 saw circ declines, with the biggest loser being Hearst’s Woman’s Day with a drop of 13.2 percent, though the title did decrease its ratebase to 3.25 million, and cut its frequency from 15 to 12 times peryear. National Geographic followed with the second largest drop of 7.9 percent.
The largest gain of the top 25 was Family Circle, with a jump of 7.0 percent to 4.1 million, followed by Game Informer Magazine with a 4.7 percent bump to 2.8 million. Of the top 25 U.S. consumer magazines by total paid and verified circulation only eight titles saw gains of more than one percent.
At retail, only six of the top 25 U.S. consumer magazines by single-copy sales showed positive gains, with the remaining 19 dipping by at least two percent. Family Circle was also the biggest winner in this category, with single copies up 21.6 percent when comparing the first half of 2011. Woman’s Day, while losing traction overall, saw a bump of 14.4 percent at retail. All You suffered the biggest loss with a 34.7 percent drop, followed by celebrity weekly Star magazine with a drop of 21 percent.
Several titles are growing their digital circulation, with Game Informer Magazine now at more than 2.3 million. The second largest digital replica circulation of the top 25 U.S. consumer magazines comes from Maxim with more than 259,000 and Cosmopolitan with more than 254,000.
Mass Market Consumer Titles
Results from large consumer publishing houses are mixed—even among titles published by the same company. Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine saw a drop in total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation by 5 percent, with single copies down 12.8 percent. Meredith’s Eating Well had one of the largest gains, with paid subscriptions jumping by 90.3 percent and single copies increasing 31.6 percent—leading it to have a total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid increase of 71 percent.
Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit magazine is down about 0.6 percent overall, with newsstand figures down by 2.1 percent. The Condé Nast-owned Details magazine saw its single copies decline by 8.1 percent, though paid subscriptions did jump by 1.7 percent. Vogue saw its single copies slide by 4 percent, though paid subscriptions did edge up by 7.6 percent.
Hearst’s Cosmopolitan magazine slipped 18.5 percent on the newsstand and 64.5 percent in verified subscriptions, with total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation falling 0.5 percent. Meanwhile, Cosmo sister title Country Living saw a jump of 6.8 percent in paid subscriptions, though newsstand sales slipped 18.1 percent, bringing its total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation up by 5.4 percent.
Time Inc.’s People magazine, despite it’s “People Love People” campaign designed to drive up sales, saw a decline of 12.2 percent on newsstands, though paid subscriptions increased by 5.3 percent, brining a positive 1.9 percent gain to its total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation. Sister title InStyle also saw a decline on the newsstand by 5.9 percent, though paid subscriptions increased by 6.5 percent.
Though Time Inc.’s All You saw large drops at the newsstand, its total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation is up 5.1 percent. Paid subscriptions in the second half of 2012 are up 22 percent for the title, despite an 18 percent increase in the price of a subscription.
Bonnier Corporation’s Parenting magazine saw a drop of 52.9 percent at retail and saw its paid subscriptions increase by 0.3 percent. Popular Science also saw a drop at newsstands by 21.6 percent, though paid subscriptions increased 1.8 percent.
UPDATED: Click here to view the circulation and newsstand trends for Hispanic titles and city and regional publications.