Canadian Magazine Industry News
3 February 2009,     NATIONAL
Circulation steady for top CCAB-audited consumer titles

Magazine ad sales may be falling like a four-year-old on skates for the first time, but overall circulation for the leading consumer titles audited by the Canadian Circulations Audit Board (CCAB) was steady as an all-star peewee puckstopper over the last two years. A report provided to MastheadOnline by CCAB shows that overall total paid circulation for the top 40 consumer magazines remained flat for the extended period of March 2007 through September 2008. The full report, which also contains a ranking of the Top 45 b-to-b publications based on total paid circulation, can be downloaded here (Excel spreadsheet).

Some important background: Unlike the biannual Fas-Fax report released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which measures magazines in two set intervals (January through June and July through December), this special CCAB report carries numbers from a range of measurement periods, dating back as far as March 2007 and as recently as September 2008. Though there are notable exceptions, ABC generally audits the country’s highest-grossing magazines—most of which have a strong newsstand presence—while CCAB mainly audits medium-sized titles, many of which rely heavily on sponsored or member subscriptions to boost total paid circulation.

Some quick notes and observations:

  • In the September 2008 vs. September 2007 period, Owl and Chickadee, children’s magazines published by Bayard Presse Canada, were most successful in growing their circulations, having respectively added 8,967 and 6,957 copies.
  • Of the 28 magazines working the single copy sales business, 16 saw declines during their respective measurement periods. Homemakers, published by Transcontinental Media Inc., took the biggest hit in actual copies sold, with average sales down by more than 10,000, or 19%, per issue.  Le Magazine Enfants Quebec, meanwhile, saw the biggest gains, with average per issue copies up by almost 5,000, or 248%. (On the counter side, total paid circulation was down by 20.6%, the biggest decline of any title on the list.)
  • Aventures chasse et Peche grew its total paid circulation by 20.6% in the March 2008 vs. March 2007 period, the largest gain for any magazine on the list not relying on sponsored or member subs. The magazine, which covers hunting and fishing, added 8,621 subscribers and improved average single copy sales by 1,904.

Special thanks to Christobelle Figurado at CCAB for compiling the report.

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Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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