ABCs: Zoo Weekly withdrawn from audit as women’s weeklies take brunt of declines

Zoo Weekly ran into trouble recently over its Anzac Day edition

Zoo Weekly ran into trouble recently over its Anzac Day edition

Zoo Weekly has been withdrawn from the circulation auditing figures by publisher Bauer Media following several quarters of massive declines for the magazine.

The lad’s mag, which is currently the subject of a petition to have it banned from sale in supermarkets, has seen thousands of readers desert the title in recent years with the October to December quarter showing a huge 36 per cent decline to 24,122 copies sold.

In the absence of Zoo, Bauer’s NW posted the sharpest decline in the latest audit bureau of circulation figures, with its weekly sales between January and March falling 12,000, or nearly 15 per cent, to 69,011. The decline follows a 15 per cent drop in the December quarter.

Women’s Day, also owned by Bauer, dropped 23,000 copies with weekly sales of 307,126 in the March quarter, still comfortably ahead of Pacific Magazines’ New Idea, which saw its circulation fall a little more than five per cent – 14,618 copies – to 69,995.

A Bauer spokesman rejected suggestions Zoo had been pulled from the audit to avoid ongoing scrutiny over its crumbling circulation or that the publisher was on the verge of axing the struggling magazine.

He said it was withdrawn simply because it was the only publication of its type in the audit and therefore could not benchmark itself against any other comparative title.

“It was felt it was no longer relevant for Zoo to be part of the audit,” he said, adding Bauer still had “plans” for the title. He declined to elaborate.

In the battle of the glossy celebrity titles Who, owned by Pacific Magazines, saw its weekly circulation fall 12,100 and is now hovering just above the 100,000 mark. Its Bauer rival, OK! posted a two per cent decline to 70,342.

Famous, which sits in the Pacific Magazine portfolio, lost a further 5,000 sales, taking circulation to 60,038, a fall of 7.7 per cent. But it was an improvement on the previous quarter which showed a 15 per cent decline on the same period in 2o13.

TV Week fell 7,313 (five per cent) to 139,434 while Take5 dipped just 780 (0.5 per cent) to 164,689.

Pacific Magazine’s That’s Life lost 13,006 copies to 184,838 copies sold, a decline of 6.6 per cent on the first three months of 2014.

In a rare circulation increase, Bauer fortnightly title Yours which targets woman over 50, sold 62,027 copies, an increase of 619 on the December quarter. Year on year comparisons are not available yet as it only launched during the first part of 2014.

Media analyst Steve Allen said the figures, while showing across-the-board declines, were reasonable, with most titles averting the double digit falls of recent audits.

“It was an improvement from recent audits and at least there was a stemming of the losses,” he said.

But the print magazine market remained tough, Allen said, with publications struggling to differentiate themselves in an environment where celebrity gossip is freely available on TV and online.

He added that latest readership figures showed Zoo Weekly down 32 per cent in the 12 months to March, suggesting another heavy fall in circulation over the last quarter.

Zoo is not the only unaudited men’s magazine. Bauer pulled its failing titles People and Picture out of the audit in 2012.

NewsLifeMedia’s bimonthly GQ is also unaudited. When News Corp’s internal accounts were leaked to Crikey last year, it emerged that loss-making GQ was selling just 8,000 newsstand copies and 4,000 subscription copies.

According to new numbers from publishing industry-funded metric Emma yesterday, GQ averages 129,000 print readers.

Pacific Magazines failed to directly address the ABC circulation figures, arguing in a statement that its strategy was now one of “total audience”.

Pacific Magazines chief executive Peter Zavecz claimed the publisher had recorded its seventh consecutive quarter of growth – based on Emma data in the 12 months to March – “in our overall consumer contacts”.

“The remit to the team is to create quality content that engages consumers in whatever environment it’s delivered in. Our teams, with their intimate understanding of consumers are uniquely placed to meet this challenge,” he said, adding that its digital and social teams are set to double in size under the leadership of new head of digital Darren Kerry.

Commercial director Gereurd Robert also failed to comment on the print circulation decline, focusing instead on what he described as the “360 approach” demanded by advertisers.

“For us now, a print-only brief is a rarity. All of our clients want a 360 approach and that’s exactly what we deliver,” he said. “We continue to produce insights-led strategic campaigns that deliver results. We’re not led by channel; we work on creating the best idea and then decide on the right channel to express it.

“Understanding the consumer journey across media, and capturing that consumer, has always been part of the advertiser outcome.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Steve Jones


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