The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) recently released their bi-annual audit on consumer magazine circulations and despite some ups and downs in individual sectors, overall the results for consumer magazines have been quite good.
The market is only down 1.5% period-on-period (PoP) and 4.1% year-on-year (YoY). That said, yet again it’s the once buoyant women’s sector that has been hit hardest. Much of this can be put down to changing consumer habits, namely celebrity and fashion, which are proven to be better served online. For this reason, many publishers are looking to drive their digital offerings and the phasing in of Audience Measurement for Publishers (AMP), the replacement to the National Readership Survey (NRS) in the spring, will make the picture much clearer moving forwards.
The other big news from these results is the change in reporting for ABC, with new style certificates. These changes highlight key census metrics, incorporate graphs and charts for easy comparison and simplify reporting processes.
As with previous results, there is a clear distinction between the monthly and weekly titles, with monthlies doing significantly better. While the PoP declines are similar, roughly 3% down for both, the weeklies have dropped 11% YoY compared to 4% for the monthlies. This is likely due to the slightly older profile of the monthly reader as well as the reliance on weeklies for celebrity news, which has been under fire for years by the more immediate access the internet can provide.
Unlike the women’s market, men’s lifestyle has remained fairly stable, with PoP only down 3% YoY. However, the size of titles is a lot smaller with the average circulation being 100,000 while for female monthlies is around 315,000, so this stability needs to be taken into context. That said, women have always been stronger purchases of the printed product, outside of newspapers.
Traditional Women’s Weeklies
As we’ve seen over several years the weekly women’s market is finding it increasingly tough to maintain circulations. However, despite the top line percentage changes, it’s worth remembering that for this sector alone, that’s almost 2.2m magazines being bought each week which equates to a net readership of 2.9m, or 10%, of all women buying these titles. Especially interesting considering you can access that for a cost per thousand (CPT) of around £13.
Home and Gardening
A bit of a mixed bag here, with some titles up and others down, although generally not by any great degree, which gives this category a performance that was only down 2.6% PoP and flat YoY. In what has been a tough market this is a great result.
The TV market posted a mixture of results in the second half of 2017, and year-on-year the market is generally in decline. However, circulation figures remain strong with TV Choice remaining the single largest circulating magazine in the UK, selling over 1.2 million copies every week.
All Response Media Viewpoint
The magazine market is in decline, however with volumes still largely robust, magazines still represent an opportunity for customer acquisition. As an agency we rely on the ABC to provide an independent audit of the sales figures for titles, however circulation figures only go so far and it’s through our in-house analysis tool ARMalytics® that we can pull the relevant levers to drive maximum ROI – whether that’s creative and format optimisation, rate negotiation, scheduling, seasonality or all the above.