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ABCs: Weekly magazines struggle with Zoo leading declines

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The weekly magazine market failed to stabilise during the October to December period last year, with titles such as Zoo Weekly, OK! all experiencing double-digit drops again after posting similar declines in the previous audit period.

The biggest fall in the latest round of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations which take in the last three months of 2013 was Bauer Media Group’s men’s title Zoo Weekly with a 34.90 per cent decline.

Media analyst from Fusion Strategy Steve Allen told Mumbrella: “The big story in magazines is not one single weekly magazine managed to stabilise circulation. Most of them had quite minor losses, threes and fours, and that’s good, but none of them have managed to stabilise or turn it around.”

The title boasts a nearly 47,000 circulation on its website however for the October to December period last year, it struggled to break the 40,000 mark with a circulation of 37,882 down from 58,165 for the same period the year before and just on 40,000 for the third quarter of 2013, where it posted a 34.47 per cent decline.

“We don’t know what their breaking point is but they must be getting fairly close to it,” Allen said.

The audit also shows the first quarterly figures for Bauer’s Shop Til You drop, which upped its frequency from monthly to fortnightly in October. It recorded a circulation figure of 40,155, compared to 65,198 for the first six months of 2013, the last time it was audited.

New Idea, owned by Pacific Magazines, had the smallest decline amongst the weekly titles, with its circulation dropping by 4 per cent to just over 281,000.

Pacific’s director of magazines Peter Zavecs said in a statement: “Despite the challenging economic backdrop, Pacific Magazines has strengthened its competitive position in key markets and we have the lion’s share in the largest and most profitable categories.

“Our portfolio has the brand differentiation, innovative ideas and strategic commitment to build on our momentum through 2014.”

For Pacific Magazines the biggest circulation fall was for title Famous, down by 18.30 per cent. The celebrity gossip title, with a circulation of 80,000 for its digital product, saw its circulation drop to 70,304 for the October-December period.

Bauer’s OK! had a similar decline, experience nearly a 19 per cent drop. OK!, which boasts an 83,000 digital circulation number, saw its circulation figures drop to just over 73,000 in the October to December period, down from just over 90,000 in the same period the year before.

Bauer’s other celebrity glossy magazine NW saw its circulation drop from 100,494 to just over 86,000, a 14.30 per cent decline. The title has hired Pacific Magazines’ New Idea deputy editor Mark Brandon, he will start in May.

Pacific Magazines’ celebrity magazine Who also saw an 8.60 per cent drop down to 115,263 from a circulation of 126,124 in October-December 2012.

Woman’s Day, owned by Bauer Media, saw its circulation decline by 4.40 per cent from 350,495 to 335,112.

Bauer Media CEO Matthew Stanton said in a statement: “Woman’s Day has the greatest reach of any weekly title by far and on a net platform basis engages nearly 4 million consumers each month.

“Bauer Media masthead websites are strong performers, with many No.1 in their genres. Woman’s Day is Australia’s most visited weekly magazine website, with a monthly unique audience of 952,899, while Zoo Weekly is the most popular Weekly men’s magazine website with 117,581.”

That’s Life, also owned by Pacific Magazine, saw its circulation drop 9.60 per cent from 218,161 in the October-December period in 2012 to 197,236 in the same period last year.

It’s direct competitor Bauer’s Take 5, which was embroiled in controversy last year for publishing overseas stories altered to appear Australian, fared better experiencing a 6.90 per cent decline in circulation dropping to 167,718 during the end of last year.

TV Week, another Bauer title, experienced a 4.60 decline in numbers, dropping to a circulation of 148,551. During the previous audit period, the title had the smallest decline in weekly mags with a decline of 1.86 per cent.

Weekly magazines, greatest fall to smallest fall:
Title Oct – Dec ’13 Oct – Dec ’12 Change YOY
ZOO WEEKLY 37,882 58,165 -34.90%
OK! 73,048 90,096 -18.90%
FAMOUS 70,304 86,056 -18.30%
NW 86,077 100,494 -14.30%
THAT’S LIFE 197,236 218,161 -9.60%
WHO 115,263 126,124 -8.60%
TAKE 5 167,718 180,110 -6.90%
TV WEEK 148,551 155,664 -4.60%
WOMAN’S DAY 335,112 350,495 -4.40%
NEW IDEA 281,189 293,031 -4.00%
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