ABCs: Zoo Weekly loses 35 per cent of circulation as market continues to decline

zoo weeklyThe weekly magazines market continues to decline with titles such as Zoo Weekly, BRW, Famous, and OK! all recording year-on-year double digit drops.

The biggest fall in the latest round of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations was Bauer Media Group’s men’s title Zoo Weekly with a 34.47 per cent decline representing what may be its most dramatic to date. The title boasts a 46,000 circulation on the publication’s website and dropped from more than 60,000 in the same period last year to 40,000 this year. This follows a 25 per cent decline recorded in the previous audit period.

Just five years ago, Zoo’s circulation was three times the size it is now.

Fairfax Media’s business title Business Review Weekly (BRW) saw a 27.85 per cent fall in circulation for what is likely to be its final appearance in the circulation numbers. Fairfax will drop the weekly print edition of the title from December.

For Pacific Magazines the biggest circulation fall was for title Famous, down by more than 17 per cent, from 90,000 to 74,220. Nick Chan, Pacific Magazines CEO, told Encore that while the figures are disappointing, the publisher’s redesign and relaunch of the title with a reduced cover price – brought down from $4.20 to $3.25 – is already showing “encouraging signs”.

Pacific Magazines’ That’s Life still holds one of the highest circulations in weekly mags with more than 202,400 readers despite a fall in circulation of more than 11 per cent.

Chan said that while the year-on-year figures are “disappointing” the period-to-period figures released on a quarterly basis are less so as they show That’s Life! is down by just 0.4 per cent comparing September to June.

“These are still big numbers by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “They are still paid circulation numbers, and they’re weekly circulation numbers, and people forget, you’re still talking about almost 1.5m magazines selling every week at cover prices of around $4. So that combined with the fact that we’re looking at new revenue streams and different channels of magazines continue to be strong positives for the industry.”

Chan also named the period of the election as a quiet time for retail, a point also raised by Matthew Stanton, CEO of Bauer Media. In a statement, Stanton said: “Weekly magazine circulation has been relatively stable in the latest reporting period, despite political uncertainty leading up to the federal election and continued cautious consumer spending.”

Bauer Media’s Woman’s Day recorded the strongest circulation year-on-year from September, and circulation for the title fell by less than five per cent. Meanwhile, Bauer’s title OK! fell by more than 17 per cent from 90,000 to 75,135. TV Week, another Bauer title, had the smallest decline in weekly mags.

Stanton said: “Bauer titles alone sell 879,561 copies each week, with people spending $47.8 million in the three months to September. Although print remains the preferred medium for most people, consumers are increasingly interacting with our brands on other platforms. These changing habits, however, are not yet fully reflected in the ABC figures.”

 Weekly magazines, greatest fall to least fall:

ABC magazines Nov 2013

 Megan Reynolds


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