Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weeklies' Weakness Pushes Down 3rd Quarter Newsstand Sales

Although the latest statistics on North American newsstand sales look gloomy overall, they also show significant growth for many magazines.

Third-quarter newsstand sales in the U.S. and Canada totaled 874.2 million, down nearly 8% from a year ago, according to MagNet.

“Newsweeklies and especially celebrity titles continue to lead the decline,” the industry consortium reported. But for non-weeklies, MagNet sees signs of “high newsstand consumer demand [for] quality publications that are not providing huge subscription discounts.”

Among major monthly titles experiencing healthy growth were National Geographic (23.8%), Shape (9.5%), and Consumer Reports (7.0%). (Is it just a coincidence that National Geographic and Consumer Reports have also invested heavily in their web sites? Maybe digital and print are not enemies after all.)

Sales for the Top 50 publications, which include most of the celebrity weeklies, were down 8.3%. But the next 50 actually increased their sales 7.4%. Nearly one-third of the Top 100 enjoyed increases, according to MagNet.

Another favorable trend: Less waste. Publishers responded to weakening newsstand sales by distributing 64 million fewer copies than they did a year ago, including a 15.7% reduction for weeklies. But because unit sales did not decline as much as the reduction in draw, the proportion of newsstand copies that were sold increased by nearly 2 percentage points for the weeklies and nearly 1 percentage point for the non-weeklies.

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