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Newsstand sales of US magazines drop 11%; celebrity and women's mags take a hit

Newsstand and retail sales of US magazines fell 11 per cent in the second half of 2008, with celebrity and women's titles taking a hit as supermarket and drugstore shoppers cut back on their spending.

"Single-copy" sales of magazines in figures released by the US Audit Bureau of Circulations on Monday performed worse than paid subscriptions, which were up less than 1 per cent. Total paid and verified U.S. magazine circulation fell a bit less than 1 percent, the Audit Bureau said.

Some details from an Associated Press (AP) report: [Link]

In releasing twice-annual circulation figures for magazines, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said combined single-copy sales averaged 43,367,098, down 11 per cent from the second half of 2007. The totals are based on all 535 magazines that reported circulation in both 2007 and 2008. Overall circulation was 345,176,148 during the 2008 period, a 0.9 percent drop. Subscriptions increased slightly, by 0.5 per cent.

Although overall circulation was stable, the drop in single-copy sales translates to less revenue because publishers typically make more from newsstand sales than from subscriptions, which are sold at a discount but help publishers boost circulation totals to lure advertisers.

Single-copy sales are particularly vulnerable in an economic downturn because they rely on impulse buys at newsstands, supermarket checkout lines and other retail outlets. "At this point, it is purely a reflection of the economy," Harrington said. "Everything in the store is selling less." The recession also has weighed down advertising prospects, already weak from the flight of readers to the Internet.

Several magazines have trimmed staff, and many have ceased publication. US News and World Report, which is privately owned, switched from weekly to biweekly and then to monthly within the past year.

Cosmopolitan remained the top-selling magazine at newsstands, with 1.8 million single-copy sales, a 6 per cent drop. People was second at 1.5 million, a 3 per cent increase, making it the only major celebrity weekly to show gains. No.3 Woman's World dropped 7 per cent to 1.2 million.

Date posted: February 10, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 765