ABCs: Cleo and Cosmo struggle but will not merge

cleo coverMore than half of the 100 non-weekly magazine titles audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations experienced a drop in sales according to figures released today.

Women’s magazines in particular struggled during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year, with all but three of the audited titles experiencing a dip in circulation.

Bauer Media’s Cosmopolitan and Cleo both saw a fall in circulation despite Cleo’s new editor Shari Markson overseeing a redesign of the title.

Cleo’s circulation decreased by 17.4 per cent from 92,206 to 76,163 while Cosmopolitan sales dropped by 17.5 per cent from 119,108 to 98,294. Bauer spokeswoman Deborah Thomas said there is “absolutely” no chance of the two publications combining. Matthew Stanton, CEO of Bauer Media, added in a statement: “We have invested heavily in Cleo and Cosmopolitan to better reflect the interests of their target demographic. With changes introduced in May (Cleo) and June (Cosmo) issues, we expect to see the impact in coming audits.”

Bauer’s Shop Till You Drop reported a decline in sales of 9.6 per cent from 72,150 to 65,198. The magazine will increase frequency to bi-weekly from October.

Pacific Magazine produced Marie Claire and InStyle also saw a fall in circulation – Marie Claire sales decreased by 7.8 per cent from 97,702 to 90,092 while InStyle sales dropped by 7.1 per cent from 57,212 to 53,150.

Nick Chan, CEO of Pacific Magazines said: “The way we look at it, the total magazine market is down around 3 per cent, but it is important to note magazines are in that highly discretionary side of consumer spending.”

“The consumer is still feeling a fair amount of pain and I know that sounds like an excuse but I think it is a very different situation from other parts of the market,” he added.

But this round of figures was not all doom and gloom with Morrison Media’s Frankie continuing to shine brightly, increasing circulation by 10.7 per cent. NewsLifeMedia’s Vogue Australia had a circulation boost of 0.4 per cent and Bauer’s Harper’s Bazaar increased sales by by 0.2 per cent.

“Harper’s Bazaar’s really on the mark at the moment,” the Bauer’s Thomas told Encore. “It’s a fabulous magazine that’s just hitting its straps.”

It was a mixed bag for the lifestyle titles audited with half reporting a decrease in circulation numbers. NewsLifeMedia produced Woolworths Good Taste saw a significant drop in circulation, down 19 per cent from 101,175 to 82,002. The title’s closure was announced in May with the final edition released in July. Bauer saw a decline in sales of around eight to 10 per cent for its titles Weight Watchers (10.6 per cent), Recipes (8.9 per cent), Australian Gourmet Traveller (8.6 per cent) and Australian Geographic (8.3 per cent), as well as a dip for flagship title The Australian Women’s Weekly which experienced a drop in sales of 1.4 per cent. In a release from the publisher, Stanton pointed out an increase in digital sales for several of these titles. He said: “Though still a relatively small percentage of their overall circulations, The Australian Women’s Weekly and Australian Gourmet Traveller have seen their audited paid digital sales rise by 54 per cent and 41 per cent respectively since June 2012, with Gourmet Traveller apps now 6.4 per cent of overall sales.

The biggest winner in the lifestyle category was Bauer’s Real Living with Belle also reporting positive sales.

“Real Living and Belle are some of the country’s fastest growing magazines adding 14.5 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively to their circulations over the past year,” Stanton said in a statement.

NewsLifeMedia’s Country Style saw a boost in sales of 1.5 per cent from 94,692 to 94,861 while Donna Hay increased circulation by 0.2 per cent.

Nicole Sheffield, CEO of NewsLifeMedia, said in a statement: “Another standout performer is Country Style experiencing its ninth consecutive increase and highest sales result to-date.”

After a period of growth, mens health titles struggled with Odysseus Publishing’s Australian Men’s Fitness and Pacific Magazine’s Men’s Health experiencing a drop in sales of 13 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

The automotive sector fared similarly, with only three of the audited titles reporting a circulation increase. Australian Auto Action increased sales by 1.4 per cent, Club Marine by 2 per cent and Australian 4WD Action topped the list with an increase of 3.3 per cent. Top Gear Australia, produced by Bauer Media, experienced a decrease of 16.9 per cent while Just Magazine’s Just 4X4’s sales dropped by 25.6 per cent.





Miranda Ward

Encore issue 27For more news from today’s ABCs, download Encore and read the fully interactive feature. Encore is free for tablet devices. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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