Private Frazer was away last week, knocking over wee bairns on the slopes around the pretty Austrian village of Schadenfreude, so missed the publication of the latest ABC figures.
It seems that as I sipped the gluhwein, the UK publishing industry has been experiencing black runs of its own, with descents so precipitous they would make Franz Klammer blanch.
There are stand out performances across the board, and it seems almost unfair to single out individual companies. Almost.
- At Conde Nast, even a love of free copies, bulk sales, newsstand discounts and hugely cheap subscription offers couldn’t stop Glamour shedding over 30,000 copies and Easy Living losing over 12% of its circulation.
- Bauer and Haymarket produced a wonderfully consistent set of falls, with only two titles from 43 at Bauer showing any increase, and only FourFourTwo spoiling the record for Haymarket.
- Hearst recorded double digit percentage falls for eight of their list, with Psychologies and Company now looking particularly vulnerable among the new merged business.
- At IPC special mentions must be made for Now and Nuts, both of whom lost a fifth of their circulation, and for Woman’s Own which shed over 50,000 copies.
- Stars at Dennis include the newly acquired Women’s Fitness, which lost over 40% (and this before Hearst’s Women’s Health has even appeared), and strong work in the car market with Evo down 12% and Auto Express continuing to lose sales each week. MacUser now reportsjust 8,500 copies, so probably now qualifies as a fanzine rather than a magazine.
- Future‘s path to break up is still in play with only three of their titles reporting increases. Of 42 titles reporting, 18 now have ABCs of under 20,000 (I’m sure they can make this more than half their list by the next period) and only 7 report in excess of 40,000.
Away from the major companies we need to nod to the Dandy, which lost half its circulation (“Desperate Dandy” – you can have that one for free); Northern + Shell which lost over 50,000 copies on each of Now, Ok! and New!, and Loaded, which is doing just as well under its new owners as with its last with a drop of over 30%.
But fear not, because according to the PPA these represent “stable demand for the medium in print, with the Total Average Issue Net Circulation only marginally lower than the same period the previous year (-1.4%)“.
Up to a point Bazza, that point being the inclusion of new titles and exclusion of titles that are no longer printing (e.g. the millions lost from the Sky freebies). Total circulation reported this period is considerably further down on the total circulation reported last year. What should be obvious to even the dimmest is that the decline in paid for magazines is, if anything, accelerating. Roll on July!