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Magazines’ newsstand sales in US fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. newsstands sold fewer magazines in the first half of 2006 compared with a year ago, data showed on Monday, as some markets were saturated with too many offerings while others had to compete with the Web.

Newsstand, or “single-copy,” sales of magazines fell more than 4 percent to about 48.7 million copies in the first half of 2006, according to preliminary figures provided by U.S. magazine publishers to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Among U.S. news weeklies, Time magazine reported the biggest fall in newsstand sales of 24 percent. The magazine, owned by Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc., plans to move its publication day to Friday from Monday to attract more readers on the weekend and boost sales.

Magazine sales have fallen because many readers are spending more time on the Internet, and because of a thicket of similarly-themed titles, said Samir Husni, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi.

“In a country where you have 22 magazines telling you about shoes, you know that all 22 magazines can’t have a circulation of a million,” Husni said.

John Harrington, a newsstand sales analyst and publisher of The New Single Copy newsletter, said a softer retail market contributed to the downturn.

“There are fewer trips to the store, and magazines rely on impulse sales at retail,” Harrington said.

Overall magazine circulation was 378.9 million copies for the six months ended June 30, 2006, up 2 percent from the year-earlier period, according to the audit bureau data.

The gain was helped by new magazines that are distributed for free, such as magazines that are distributed in bulk or that are inserted in other publications.

Some hot-selling celebrity weeklies also saw more readers. US Weekly’s circulation jumped 7.2 percent to about 1.8 million copies, while Time Inc.’s People magazine saw circulation rise about 1.2 percent to 3.8 million copies.

Paid subscriptions fell nearly 4 percent compared with the same period last year, after the Audit Bureau required publishers to start counting copies sent to doctors’ waiting rooms and other public places in a different category.

Total subscriptions were about flat compared with the same period last year.

Among U.S. news weeklies, Time magazine reported a 1.2 percent rise in circulation to more than 4 million copies. Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., reported a 1.8 percent drop to about 3 million while U.S. News & World Report rose 0.6 percent to about 2 million.

The Economist, which has been trying to hook more readers in the United States, reported a 14.8 percent rise in U.S. circulation to a little more than 600,000 copies.

Martha Stewart Living saw circulation rise 3.9 percent to 2 million.

Hearst Corp.’s O, The Oprah Magazine, saw circulation fall 10.9 percent to 2.3 million, and newsstand sales fall 19.5 percent. The magazine has raised prices and considers last year’s newsstand sales a fluke because of promotion to celebrate its fifth anniversary, Hearst spokeswoman Jessica Kleiman said.

Date posted: August 21, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 316