It’s that time of year again when the Print ABCs are released and we’ve picked out the important points. Largely print is still alive and kicking and while circulations used to be bigger, the combined print and digital editions are up +0.3% YoY.
Here are some of the highlights…
- Overall, Hearst magazines have the biggest smile of all. The hybrid distribution of Cosmopolitan continues to be a success with the circulation number now hitting 413,155. That’s a 60% increase YoY! Good Housekeeping and Esquire also grew their circulation numbers by 10% and 15% respectively. Sister titles Elle (up 4%) and Harpers Bazaar (up 5%) will use the same hybrid distribution of Cosmopolitan from September onwards, so the future looks bright for those titles too.
- The Spectator’s combined print and digital circulation is now 76,750, the highest ever posted by the title in its 188-year history. Print sales grew 2% YoY and web traffic to their paywalled publication hit an all-time high at 4 million monthly unique users.
- Last year’s successful launch of Forever Sports continues with them growing 12% YoY.
- More freesheets have been launched and included in these figures for the first time: Coach, Balance and NME.
- Print circulations are still much bigger than digital editions – the forecast from some that there would be a wholesale move towards tablet editions hasn’t really materialised.
- Brands are evolving through their digital apps and hosting reader events. Great examples are Empire magazine’s “Empire Live”, soon to be showcasing at the O2, and Stylist launching their annual “Stylist Live” last year.
- In some cases, such as OK! Magazine, circulation numbers have decreased but readership numbers have increased, illustrating the real strength of their brand.
The rest of 2016…
Looking ahead, the results push us to question - can magazine media owners find ways to monetise the loyal readers they have in print, online? Magazine revenues are down, so they need to find a solution.
Finally, there are two traditional ways print magazine publishers create revenue: cover price and ad revenue. The trend over the past decade has been a freesheet model relying solely on ad revenues, think ShortList Magazine, Sport Magazine, Time Out etc. However, over the latest period, if we look at Hearst’s success, it is a blend of the two, albeit with a lower cover price. With Cosmopolitan’s massive increase and Forever Sports’ continued success in a traditionally downward market, could it be something for Condé Nast, Time Inc. UK or Bauer Media to consider moving forward?