Newsstand sales declines hit a new low in 2014, but those losses have slowed as the supply chain returned to normal following the Source Interlink Distribution shutdown in May.
Almost 17 percent fewer magazines sold on newsstands last year, according to industry research firm MagNet, though price hikes to many popular celebrity titles meant revenue was only down 11 percent. Both numbers are lows since 2010.
The Source Interlink shutdown makes year-over-year comparisons difficult however, with dollar sales tanking more than 19 percent in the wake of the collapse during the third quarter. All told, the service disruption accounted for a 4-percent loss in revenue for the full year, MagNet says. Newsstand sales would have declined just 7 percent overall had the company stayed in business—better performance than the industry has seen in three of the last four years. Stores that weren’t served by Source Interlink saw declines of just 2 percent in Q3, MagNet adds.
The newsstand rebounded, somewhat, in the fourth quarter, with sales down 9 percent year-over-year.
Of top publishers, Time Inc. (-3.4 percent), American Media Inc. (-2.8 percent), Bauer (-6.1 percent) and Harris Publications (-3.3 percent) managed to outperform the industry norm for the fourth quarter, while Hearst (-18.8 percent), Meredith (-10 percent), Wenner Media (-13.7 percent) and Condé Nast (-14.8 percent) each posted worse-than-average losses.
Supermarkets (36.2 percent) continued to dominate share of market for newsstand sales, while supercenters (13.6 percent) and drugstores (11.6 percent) followed distantly behind.