ABCs: Non-weekly mags sell 7.4% fewer copies as Frankie sees another circulation decline


Non-weekly magazines shifted nearly 200,000 fewer copies in the first six months of this year compared to the same period the year before, despite the launch of two new magazines in the intervening period.

If the circulations of Homes+ and Family Circle are taken out of the equation that number jumps to 293,023, a 7.45 per cent drop year-on-year, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures.

Frankie Magazine was one of the many titles to see its circulation drop, after posting its first decline in the magazine’s history in the circulation period ended in December last year, although special interest titles fared better boosting their sales.

From January to June Frankie saw its circulation drop by 10.8 per cent, shifting on average 60,447 copies a month compared to the 67,782 copies a month it sold in the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile Bauer Media’s Dolly stemmed its circulation bleed to 19.1 per cent after dropping by 40 per cent in the previous audit period.

The teen girl title sells on average 40,546 copies a month, down from the 50,125 copies it sold in the first six months of last year.

While Dolly slowed down its decline, Bauer Media’s other young women’s title Cleo posted a circulation decline of 20.7 per cent, with a circulation of 42,212 down from the 53,221 titles a month the publisher sold in the same period in 2014.

Rival Pacific Magazines title Girlfriend saw its circulation slide below the 40k mark after it posted a decline of 25 per cent, the second worst decline across the non-weekly audited titles.

The magazine shifts on average 37,541 titles a month compared to the 50,045 titles it sold a month in the same period last year.

In a statement Pacific Magazines CEO Peter Zavecs did not acknowledge the slide the publisher’s print titles experienced in the last six months, instead focusing on the publisher’s investment in the magazines’ “brand” and digital.

“The past 12 months has not only been a period of significant growth, it has also been a period of incredible transformation across our business. We’re leveraging the power and influence of Pacific’s brands into new spaces – creating apps, e-commerce and m-commerce platforms, and leading the charge on digital video, social and mobile,” he said in a statement.

“We have invested heavily in digital, and put together the best digital team in Australian media who are working hand-in-hand with the country’s best brands, editorial and marketing teams. It’s a perfect partnership and further reflects our corporate strategy around total customer engagement across many platforms to ensure we are successfully growing our audience in the right channels.

“It’s exciting that in less than a year we have transformed our business, communication and content delivery platforms to maximise the changes that are going on in our industry. This enables us to provide our clients and partners with new solutions to the challenges they face reaching their audiences.”

Game Informer was the title to post the biggest decline, with its circulation plunging from 40,376 copies a month to 28, 743, a drop of 28.8 per cent.

australian women's weeklyBauer Media’s Australian Women’s Weekly on average shifts 416,117 copies a month, a drop of 5.9 per cent from the same period last year when on average it sold 442,149 copies a month.

The title still has the highest circulation amongst the non-weekly titles.

David Goodchild, Bauer Media CEO, said in a statement: “The results can’t be underestimated in demonstrating the strength of magazines in such a fragmented media landscape, generating more than 600 million copy sales in the past 12 months.

“Bauer Media is home to the highest selling monthly magazine (The Australian Women’s Weekly), Australia’s best-selling weekly (Woman’s Day), along with top selling titles in Women’s Lifestyle (Cosmopolitan), Youth (Dolly), Homemaker (Australian House & Garden), and Business/Financial (Money).”

Similarly to Zavecs, Goodchild focused on Bauer’s success in the digital space and its multichannel approach to content heralding the increase in digital sales across a number of titles.

“Over the past six months our business has gained momentum as we take a multichannel approach to content. We successfully launched three new mobile first digital brands to market including Food To Love, Travel In and WhichCar, all based on the trusted and quality content at the core of Bauer Media,” he said.

“We have also diversified our brand footprint further with a range of new live experience initiatives like Elle’s Morning of Little Life-Changing Idea’s, Bazaar at Work, and The School of Real Living Masterclass – offering the reader a valued, unique brand experience.

“Whether it’s in magazine, across our digital women’s network or through live events, our commitment to provide the most effective marketing channels that enable advertisers to create more meaningful connections with consumers has never been stronger.”

In response to a question on publishers focus on the wider brand success of a magazine as opposed to the print product’s success, media analyst Steve Allen, principal of Fusion Strategy, said it is clear the industry will see “the importance of the hard copy” diminish, as indicated by what has happened with newspapers.

“My perception is that, for instance The Age or Sydney Morning Herald, their mastheads haven’t diminished in stature or influence in the marketplace and we know their cross-platform audiences are larger now than the historic print product.

“We haven’t seen this kind of model universally work in magazines because magazines haven’t rushed into the space and given copy away universally as newspapers did,” he said.

“We certainly say bravo to the magazine publishers as once you’ve given your copy away there’s not much motivation for people to go and buy your print product, so once you’ve done that you’re in trouble. The magazine business as a whole has resisted giving their content away or giving the same and as much content away even though most of them have websites.”

The winner of the audit results was Pacific Magazines’ health and fitness title Prevention, which posted an increased circulation of 30.7 per cent, up to 58,845 from the 45,006 copies it sold a month in the first half of last year.

NewsLifeMedia had success with Vogue Australia, which saw its circulation climb by 2.6 per cent, Donna Hay which was up by 2.5 per cent and homes title Inside Out boosted its circulation by 4.5 per cent to 47,377.

Nicole Sheffield

Nicole Sheffield

Nicole Sheffield, NewsLifeMedia CEO, said in a statement: “I am delighted that NewsLifeMedia continues to lead in the three core lifestyle genres that we operate in. We have some of the most powerful and trusted brands in this country and through continuous evolution and innovation we are delivering market leading products and platforms.

“We are very pleased with our circulation results as Inside Out achieved the largest rate of growth year-on-year in the homes category and Vogue Australia the largest increase in the fashion category.

“All of our titles enjoyed year-on-year growth besides Super Food Ideas, however it remains the number one food magazine and we have just successfully relaunched the title with its circulation stabilising over recent issues.”

Another success story was The Reader’s Digest-owned Australian Handyman which saw its circulation climb by 3.17 per cent to 52,045.

Allen said the success of these types of titles was due to the specific content they cover.

“The ones that managed to swim against the tide are very specific areas of interest, that’s the common thing. Whether it’s building stuff with Handyman or food preparation, they are specialist topics,” he said.

Looking at the fashion titles, Bauer Media’s Harper’s Bazaar saw its circulation slip by 1.2 per cent – just under 600 copies – to 52,293 from 52,884.

Marie ClairePacific Magazine’s glossy women’s fashion and beauty title Marie Claire, which this week celebrated its 20th birthday, posted a very modest circ slide of 5 per cent, holding onto a monthly circulation of 80,422. In the first six months of last year the title could shift 84,612 copies a month.

Jackie Frank, former Marie Claire editor and Pacific Magazines group publisher for health and fashion titles, told Mumbrella the importance is on “brand health rather than just the numbers”.

Frank was speaking to Mumbrella around the title’s 20th birthday and when asked on the importance of circulation figures given how much publications are extending their footprint elsewhere Frank said: “It’s about the touchpoint and the footprint of the print and brand health rather than just the numbers.

“Magazines are up and down but it’s about the total audience and the touch points of those audiences and the engagement level of that audience,” she said.

“What’s quite incredible about brands is it’s about the authority, the engagement and the trust people have, the connection that they have.”

Fellow Pac Mags fashion title InStyle saw its circulation drop by 11.2 per cent, down from 53,126 to 47,201.

Real LivingIn the house and gardens category, Bauer Media’s Real Living saw its circulation slide from 81,217 to 76,009, a drop of 6.40 per cent.

Pacific Mag’s Australian Home Beautiful also posted a decline with its circulation dropping from 91,157 to 88,736, a decline of 2.7 per cent.

Australian House & Garden saw its numbers drop by 9.6 per cent, down from 114,045 copies a month to 103,041.

Bauer’s Belle posted a circulation drop of 7 per cent, it now shifts on average 42,063 copies a month compared to the 45,230 it sold a month in the same period last year.

The health and wellbeing sector also saw losses with Bauer’s Weight Watchers title shedding 19.7 per cent of its circulation and Pacific Magazines’ Men’s Health losing 13.40 per cent.

Car titles also performed poorly with Wheels losing 9.1 per cent and Just Auto’s Just 4x4s losing 19.80 per cent and its Just Trucks and Heavy Equipment losing 6.7 per cent.

Miranda Ward

Full breakdown of non-weekly title sales (click to enlarge):

ABCs non-weeklies part 1ABCs non-weeklies part 2


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.