61 62 newsstand magazines audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, 27 saw double-digit percentage drops in single copy sales during the first half of 2008, according to the latest Fas-Fax report, released by ABC this morning. Another 16 titles saw losses less than 10%, while just 18 magazines managed to grow newsstand sales versus the same period (January through June) in 2007.
Among the biggest decliners on the racks were Canadian Family (-75%), Canadian Home & Country (-56%), Wish (-53%), Canadian Business (-38.8%), Flare (-28.5%), LouLou (English) (-23.3%), Chatelaine (-21.2%), and The Hockey News (-15.9%). (See this explanation of ABC methodology changes for context.)
Magazines that managed to sell more newsstand copies than the previous year included Western Sportsman (49.2%), Canadian Home Workshop (44.2%), Outdoor Canada (37.1%), Canadian Gardening (27.7%) and The Beaver (24.4%).
Things are better on the sub front—but only if you take the view that relatively small losses and gains are a positive thing. Most magazines saw subscribers up or down by less than 5%.
Profit (which has a mix of paid and controlled circulation) saw its base decline by more than half (-66.5%), while three St. Joseph Media titles—Wish (-26.6%), Canadian Family (-24.1%) and Gardening Life (-16%)—also suffered. Other double-digit decliners included Filles Clin D’Oeil (-17.8%), 7 Jours (-14.4%) and Flare (-11%).
Some smaller and medium-sized magazines did manage to attract more subscribers, such as Tout Simplement Clodine (76.1%), Western Sportsman (18.1%) and The Beaver (12.8%). Of magazines with circulations over 50,000, only Canadian Home & Country (11.2%) and Elle Quebec (6.8%) saw signficant increases. (More, which dropped 54% on newsstand but gained 89.1% in subscribers, is listed in the report with an asterisk, which “indicates omission of figures due to group's frequencies, price structures and/or change of participants.”)
“Flat is the new up”
All of this amounts to one of the worst showings for Canadian magazine circulation in recent memory. (Things are even worse down south.) Only six magazines (Echos Vedettes, Derniere Heure, The Beaver, Western Sportsman, More and Moi & Cie) had gains in total paid and verified circulation exceeding 5%. For many titles, flat is indeed the new up—Toronto Life, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Living, Today’s Parent, Canadian House & Home, Decormag, Maclean’s, Style at Home and Elle Canada all managed to hold their paid and verified circ steady, despite the turbulence elsewhere.
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