Mags: State of the (mag)nation - June 2010 circulation

Frankie, FAMOUS, MasterChef, Good Food, Belle and Harper's BAZAAR... these are the Aussie titles with the X-factor for the June circulation audit period.

The overall Australian magazine market contracted just 3.81% in the year to June 2010, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, while the weekly mag market lost -9.1% of sales dragged down by ACP titles. Ouch. Clearly Brad and Ange aren't pulling their weight and nor are tales of celebrity weight loss. Lift your game, guys!

The biggest losses were felt in the business (-29.2%, thank you GFC fallout), men's interest (-27.6%), tween (-20%) and men's lifestyle (-11.6%) categories, while the food and entertaining category fared best with a 19.5% gain, followed by home and lifestyle glossies (+5.1%).


Pacific Magazines can afford to be smug: New Idea and stablemate FAMOUS were the only two women’s weekly magazines to post year-on-year growth. The publisher reminds us that this is the 7th consecutive circulation increase for FAMOUS, while ACP competitor NW saw its circulation fall 12.2% over the same period. Though Woman's Day and Who also hung in there, posting nominal falls, the weekly category fell 5% overall with Grazia dragging its heels alongside OK! and NW.


Neck-in-neck falls for the cheapie reality weeklies this audit as mums and grandmas continue to tighten purse strings (things must be really tight). Perhaps results will lift next period to reflect the pension increase (thank you, Mr Rudd)?


Clever cover-mounting tactics have given ACP's Harper's BAZAAR the glossy equivalent of a Wonderbra lift (9%), but the stand-out performer this audit is, again Morrison Media's Frankie, which is closing in on the likes of Harper's and Vogue with sales of 46,684 a month and eating into Cleo and Cosmo's results. How can this be? Frankie doesn't even do covermounting? The publicity surrounding the last circulation increase probably didn't hurt, but neither does a solid social media strategy (60,000+ Facebook friends; 15,961 Twitter followers), community involvement and sense of authentic reader/mag connection despite its bi-monthly status. Meanwhile, The Australian Women's Weekly, SHOP Til You Drop, InStyle and Madison have largely weathered tough times.


Unsurprisingly, Australia's love affair with food is commensurate with rises in the fancy foodie title sales (Delicious, Donna Hay, Gourmet Traveller), though ACP's Australian Good Food appears to have eaten into the circulation of the lower-end supermarket recipe magazines. MasterChef magazine debuted with a grand-spanking 150,000 copies, ranking it second in the food and entertaining category behind Super Food Ideas and garnering it the lustrous position of sixth place on Australia's list of biggest sellers. We are becoming a nation of food snobs. Fat ones.


Women's Health continues to lead the market on the health front (arguably, it's more a women's lifestyle title akin to Cosmopolitan), though the independently published Australian Healthy Food Guide has gained a healthy circulation increase.


Home magazines are where the buyer's heart is this audit with Gardening Australia and Your Garden the only two titles to post decreases (how will Pacific's new Jamie Durie launch, slated for spring, fare in this climate?). Belle, Australian House & Garden and Real Living are the stand-out performers, though Aussies clearly have a penchant for interiors inspiration. The home-focus reflects TV ratings for Packed to the Rafters and, of course, fellow Channel Seven stalwart Better Homes & Gardens.


The message from tween and teen mag publishers: Nintendo DS, Internet, movies, cheapskate parents... you can suck it. Despite aggressive covermount tactics, the tween market continues to free-fall. Can the highly bankable new Harry Potter movie turn conditions around next audit (some wizardry would come in handy)? On a more optimistic note, market leaders DOLLY and Total Girl posted the least-worst results.

GWAS Note: If you spot any discrepancies in the above data, please leave a friendly comment and I shall amend ASAP. Merci!

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel