Glossy Talk: CLEO posts biggest readership gain

Glossy Talk: CLEO posts biggest readership gain; Frankie makes impressive debut

Former CLEO editor Sarah Oakes, who resigned from ACP to take the reigns at Fairfax's Sunday Life, can smile a little today, as the magazine has posted the biggest readership gain across the glossy women's magazine spectrum for the period ending September 2010.

After experiencing consecutive falls in readership, the young women's magazine – now edited by Gemma Crisp, who debuted her first issue in mid-September –  has turned around its fortunes thanks to investment in cover mounting, promotional events including the Bachelor of the Year party, a social media strategy and an editorial direction differentiating the magazine from stablemate Cosmopolitan, which lost -8.9% of its readers, though still has 133,000 more readers than CLEO.

CLEO had posted a -8.2% readership loss in the June 2010 Roy Morgan audit, following a 11.5% loss in March 2010, and massive -26.8% loss in the September 2009 audit at the height of GFC fallout. The change of circumstances will be a relief to CLEO staffers as David Gyngell takes the reigns at ACP Magazines, despite his recent suggestion to AFR that no titles will be eliminated from the stable, though "some will need to be tweaked as consumers' magazine tastes change".

Which brings us to Notebook:, the recently folded News Magazines title, which gained 14,000 more readers in the September audit and published its final issue last month, perhaps prematurely. Other strong gainers* included Vogue Australia and The Australian Women's Weekly, while Marie Claire and Harper's BAZAAR and posted nominal increases. The Weekly, which is going from strength to strength under Helen McCabe's leadership, remains the most-read title in the marketplace.

InStyle lost the most readers (35,000) and SHOP Til You Drop dropped 13,000 shopping enthusiasts, likely a lagging indicator of guilt-ridden-GFC consumer sentiment, with new survey entrant Frankie registering a significant 199,000 readers.

With more gains than losses, it seems the glossy market is coming good just in time for the (happy) holidays. 

*Women's Health also gained 7.1%, taking it to 455,000 monthly readers, while Prevention has 158,000 readers, down from 172,000 in the June audit. These currently reside in the GWAS 'Healthies' category.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel