ABCs: Cleo and Dolly continue to struggle as several monthly mags increase

Bauer Media's Dolly magazineBauer Media’s Cleo and Dolly have continued to experience steep circulation declines, while high fashion magazines have continued to stabilise with Harper’s Bazaar posting a modest increase.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation figures for the six months ended June 2014 saw Cleo record a 30.10 per cent circulation decline, its numbers dropping from 76,163 to 53,221.

Dolly struggled more with its circulation dropping from 80,315 to 50,125, a decline of 37.60 per cent.

Media analyst Steve Allen told Mumbrella: “They’re categories that the kind of content they’re offering is available instantly everyday online. They just don’t have enough difference in what they’re presenting editorially and pictorially to sustain the circulation.”

Bauer Media combined the two magazines’ teams into one at the end of last year, working under editor-in-chief Lucy Cousins.

It was a similar story at Pacific Magazines’ Girlfriend, which saw its sales drop from just above 70,000 to just above 50,000.

Cosmopolitan, another publication from Bauer, aimed at women 18-34, put the brakes on its declines, slowing down to a drop of 7.9 per cent. In the previous audit period the title’s sales dropped by 14 per cent. While Pacific Magazine’s Marie Claire saw its circulation drop by 6.10 per cent, sliding from 90,092 copies sold to 84,612.

“The remarkable thing about this whole audit on the magazine side is all the big magazines nearly without exception had modest declines. They’ve all significantly slowed their decline rates,” said Allen.

Bauer Media’s glossy fashion title Harper’s Bazaar actually posted slight growth of 0.5 per cent, boosting its circulation from 52,642 to 52,884.

Pacific Magazines’ glossy fashion title InStyle also fared well, remaining stable by losing only 24 copies from its circulation figure which now stands at 53,126.

Peter Zavecz, Pacific’s director of magazines said in a statement: “Despite a challenging market, our readers are accessing their favourite magazines in many different ways, but print continues to be a key touch point for our leading brands.

“We deliver quality content that our readers engage with, whether it’s in print, on a tablet or on a mobile. Our brand footprint across our portfolio continues to grow with our consumer touch points across offline and online properties now at over 15 million contacts each month”.

NewsLifeMedia’s Vogue Australia saw its circulation drop by just 1.9 per cent to 50,325 compared to the previous audit’s decline of 2.3 per cent.

And Bauer’s women’s title Australian Women’s Weekly also slowed its decline, posting a loss of 3.7 per cent from 459,175 to 442,149 titles sold. The last audit period saw the title decline by 4.1 per cent.

Helen McCabe, editor-in-chief of the Australian Women’s Weekly, told Mumbrella last month that “flat is the new up”.

“Magazine circulation is decreasing, but the challenge for me is to make my title decline less than other titles. I have been ambitious about turning that around but in truth, I think flat is the new up, as we laugh here. If you get flat circulation it’s as good as being up. Our circulation is pretty good. But like every print product we are incredibly heartened by what’s going on online and in the digital format,” she said.

Morrison Media’s Frankie posted a positive growth of 4.4 per cent boosting its circulation from 64,931 to 67,782. The last audit period saw the bi-monthly title’s circulation grow by 4.6 per cent.

Fusion Media’s Allen described Frankie as “unique”, with the key to its success its alternative content. “You won’t find content like that which is found on Frankie easily online. It’s just different and it’s a fresh and a different alternative,” he said.

Fairfax Media’s AFR Smart Investor suffered the heaviest loss, with its circulation declining by 41.4 per cent from 44,850 to 26,280 while Bauer’s Women’s Fitness was the stand-out, growing its circulation figures by 10.9 per cent, increasing from 55,137 to 61,152.

Pacific Magazine’s Women’s Health saw its circulation drop by 16.30 per cent, however it still beats Women’s Fitness with a circ of 75,523.

Men’s Health, also owned by Pacific Magazines, struggled, with its circulation falling by 17.6 per cent from 70,080 to 57,725.

Home and garden titles did well for both Bauer and Pacific Magazines, with Australian Home Beautiful, owned by Pacific Magazines, seeing its circulation grow by 8.4 per cent in the six months to June 2014.

Bauer’s Australian Home & Garden had a very modest increase, boosting its circulation by 0.4 per cent from 113,569 to 114,045 while its interior design and decoration title Belle increased its circulation by 1.6 per cent from 44,534 to 45,230.

Matthew Stanton CEO of Bauer Media, said in a statement: “We are proud to see continued circulation growth across all Bauer homemaker brands, reinforcing the titles recent readership surge, while boding well for the launch of homes+.”

Tony Kendall, Bauer Media’s director of sales, added: “Based on our recent research surrounding the launch of homes+ magazine, three out of five Australians plan to decorate or renovate their home in the next 12 months and 80 per cent of people will turn to magazines to aid their purchase and design decisions.

“It’s great to see that the latest circulation and readership results reinforce these findings while highlighting the power of magazine brands in this space.”

The exception in the category was Pacific Magazine’s monthly Better Homes and Garden which saw its circulation drop by 5.4 per cent from 362,150 to 342,745.

“Australia’s leading multimedia brand, Better Homes and Gardens, is selling in excess of 340k copies every issue across its print and digital platforms,” said Pacific Magazines’ Zavecz.

It was also a good six months for bi-monthly title Australian Traveller which grew its circulation by 14.50 per cent from 10,850 copies sold to 12,423.

Just Auto Group had a rough six months, with three of its four titles experiencing double digit declines.

Just 4X4’s circulation fell by 24.10 per cent from 10,165 to 7,714, Just Bikes dropped by 18.7 per cent from 22,648 to 18,421 and Just Trucks & Heavy Equipment declined by 20.5 per cent from 11,351 to 9,028.

Just Cars’ circulation saw a small increase, growing from 50,160 to 50,256.

Responding to the figures, CEO of the Just Auto Group Ash Hunter said in a statement: “Niche marketplaces like Just Cars are key. The highest engagement you can achieve is where passionate people can share their common interest. Just Auto specialises in bringing buyers, sellers and dreamers together.”

Bauer Media’s Top Gear saw its circulation drop by 18.70 per cent from 54,107 to 44,007.

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