Celebrity weekly titles continue to see their circulation hammered as audiences turn away from the printed form for their celebrity gossip.
Pacific Magazines’ Famous was the hardest-hit title revealed in the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures released today which cover off the three months ending December 2015.
Famous saw its circulation drop by 25% from 60,122 copies sold in the three months ending December 2014 to just 45,096 in the last quarter of last year.
Peter Zavecz, CEO of Pacific Magazines, admitted online celebrity content is a challenge; however, suggested the circulation metric is not “meaningful” to advertisers.
“That millennial audience is tapping into a passion-point across a number of platforms and print is part of that but social and digital channels are increasingly delivering that content to them in a more timely manner and that is something we are aware of,” he said.
“As far as advertisers are concerned this is one metric and probably not a meaningful metric because they’re buying an audience. Talking to advertisers, they’re increasingly looking at our total platform audiences across social, digital and print products.
“It’s essentially a transformation process for us in the way we’re going to market.”
Zavecz was referring to the Magazines Publishers of Australia’s 360 Report which takes in a masthead’s total audience across digital, social and print circulation. However, Zavecz admitted the numbers are not de-duplicated, meaning one consumer can be counted multiple times across touch points.
“We can aggregate them up and the numbers look really big and we haven’t de-duped them but that will happen in time, we’re working on all that data. The impressive thing is every platform is growing and our total audience is growing,” he said.
According to the report the top five magazine brands are Pacific Magazine’s Better Homes & Gardens, Bauer Media’s Woman’s Day, Pacific Magazine’s New Idea, Bauer Media’s Australian Women’s Weekly and NewsLifeMedia’s Taste.com.au.
Looking at circulation figures Bauer Media’s glossy celebrity title OK! posted the second greatest decline, with copies shifted dropping by 20% from 70,342 to 56,250.
Rival glossy celebrity magazine Who, owned by Pacific Magazine, also saw its sales drop, sliding from 101,405 copies sold on average at the end of 2014 to 92,418 being sold at the end of last year – a decline of 8.9%.
Who’s digital subscriptions were also down year-on-year, slipping from 1,376 to 970, a decline of 29.5%.
Steve Allen, principal of Fusion Strategy, told Mumbrella: “People can get all this stuff fresher, maybe not as accurate, instantaneously on the internet. It makes it a very difficult proposition.
“The two that pride themselves on getting it right – OK and Who – had the lowest drop.”
Bauer’s NW saw its sales fall away by 18.6% with the celebrity magazine now selling only on average 59,544 copies. The magazine’s digital subscription were down by 21.6% from 866 to 679.
Overall, the number of print magazines sold fell from 1.341m per week in the same period last year to 1.275m this year – a drop of 65,532.
Fusion Strategy’s Allen rejected the notion there are too many weekly magazines.
“The ones that are in the marketplace are still making money and they are a vital part of the magazine industry. Without these weekly titles, the magazine industry doesn’t have as much to say and sell to advertisers because still more than half the circulations are in the weekly and fortnightly titles.”
Woman’s Day, owned by Bauer Media, accounted for the lions’ share of those lost print copies – dropping 40,886 year-on-year. However, it remains the market leader by some distance, dropping from 316,006 copies last year to 275,120 for the last quarter – a decline of 12.9%. Digital subscriptions for the magazine were also down by 17.5%, dropping from 2,404 to 1,984.
Pacific Magazines’ New Idea posted a decline of 11.1% for the last quarter, its sales slipping from 271,237 to 241,030. The magazine’s digital subscriptions were also down, dropping by 21.6 % from 866 to 679.
Real life magazine That’s Life, owned by Pacific Magazines, saw its circulation slide by 10.8%, selling 165,119 copies per week but still remained ahead of competitor, Take 5. The Bauer-owned title saw its circulation shed 6.1%, with sales sitting at 152,134 copies a week.
TV Week, also owned by Bauer Media, posted a circulation decline of 8.4%, down from 142,021 to 130,051.
Bauer Media’s bi-weekly mag, Yours, which launched in February 2014, had the smallest decline of the weekly magazines. The magazine, which is targeted at women in their 50s, saw its sales slide by 3.9% and now sells 59,169 copies per week compared with 61,588 copies per week in the same period in 2014.