ABCs: Celebrity titles continue to struggle as weekly magazine sales slide 12.8% on last year


Zavecz: “It’s a tough market for everybody.”

Circulations of celebrity titles have continued to be hammered according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, with Pacific Magazines CEO Peter Zavecz admits its a”a tough market”.

Overall, the number of print weekly magazines sold fell from 1.367m per week in the January to March period of 2015 to 1.192m in the same period this year – a drop of 175,626 or 12.8%.

Speaking to Mumbrella Zavecz said: “It’s a tough market for everybody. People only look at the advertising result, it’s not the only source of revenue. That’s the unique position of magazines.

“One single product, without including advertising or the digital extensions, delivering $50m dollars is a phenomenal result.”

Zavecz said overall Pacific Magazines is very happy with the results.

“It means we’ve got two of the top three weekly mags in our portfolio now. That’s really important to us. It’s about consolidating our position as a leader in the market,” he said.

Bauer Media’s Woman’s Day continues to lead the market, despite a year-on-year decline of 11.60% which saw its circulation drop from 307,126 in the January to March period of 2015 to 271,517 in the same period this year. The magazine’s digital subscriptions slid by 8.2% from 2,019 to 1,854.

ni1616_cover_allbarnt_nobc_1bglrlj-1bglrlpPacific Magazines’ New Idea posted a decline of 14%, its sales slipping from 267,588 to 230,062 to remain the second highest-selling weekly magazine. It also posted a 35.4% digital subscription decline from 1,745 to 1,128.

Zavecz admitted the result was “disappointing”.

“We certainly think it is a base result for us going forward. We can generally maintain a weekly figure around that going forward,” he said.

Pacific Magazines’ real life magazine That’s Life claimed the third spot after posting a year-on-year circulation of 10.6%, selling 165,190 copies per week compared to the 184,848 it sold in the same period in 2015.

However, in a positive for the magazine, its circulation was modestly up on the previous quarter, the October to December period of 2015 when it sold 165,119 copies a week.

“It’s the polar opposite of celebrities – it’s real people. The whole proposition there is fact is stranger than fiction,” Zavecz said.

“It has a very strong reader involvement element. We’re really happy with that position, it’s a bright light for us in the market.”

That’s Life rival Take 5, owned by Bauer Media, saw its circulation drop below the 150,000 mark per week, posting a year-on-year decline of 10.10%, with sales sitting at 148,014 copies a week for the January to March period.

Bauer Media’s glossy celebrity title OK! Was the hardest hit across the weekly titles in the three month period ending March 2016, with the magazine seeing its circulation drop 27.9% from 70,757 copies sold a week in the three months ending March 2015 to an average of 51,012 a week in the first quarter of this year.

Who magazineRival glossy title Who, owned by Pacific Magazines, fared a little better, posting a year-on-year decline of 10.8%.

The magazine was shifting on average 101,077 copies a week in the January to March period of last year, while this year it’s only managed to sell on average 90,117 copies a week.

Who’s paid digital subscriptions also struggled, declining year-on-year by 33.1% from 1,460 to 977.

Zavecz said: “Who magazine, that result is pretty good. We have a good circulation base and a strong competitive position against those others.”

Comparing Who’s results with NW and OK!, Zavecz said: “They’re hovering around the 50,000 mark which is a dangerous mark to go under as evidenced by Famous.

“It’s a competitive market, we’ve got a strong brand in Who. Famous was disappointing for us but it was a realisation for us that the younger millennial market was moving online,” said Zavecz.

“Who has an older audience and it has a male audience. It’s a celebrity news magazine first and foremost and it’s linked with People magazine in the US. It’s the credible side of that market.”

Pacific Magazines relaunched Who’s website earlier this year, with Zavecz saying they are “delighted” with the traffic so far.

“That rounds out our total brand footprint that we continue to reinforce in the market. It’s about being there when they want it and how they want it. We’re really happy with the way they’ve launched,” he said.

NWBauer Media’s NW posted the second greatest decline, with its sales dropping by 24.6% year-on-year.

The celebrity magazine now sells an average of 52,786 copies a week compared to the 69,995 copies it was selling in the first quarter of 2015.

Its digital subscriptions dropped 18% from 771 to 632.

TV Week, also owned by Bauer Media, posted a circulation decline of 10%, down from 139,434 to 125,512.

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 6.4% and now sells 58,057 copies per week compared with 62,027 copies per week in the same period in 2015.


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