Glossy Talk: Teen and tween magazine sales nose-dive; DOLLY posts depressing loss
Despite aggressive cover-mounting tactics, DOLLY magazine weathered a 26.5% decline in sales last year, giving it the dubious honour of recording the biggest fall of any monthly title. The magazine sold an average of 103,131 copies, representing a loss of more than 37,000 monthly sales overall in 2010 and a 42% loss in sales since 2000.
DOLLY's rival Girlfriend (Pacific Magazines) also lost ground, trimming 10% of its 2010 circulation, which currently rests at 90,054 monthly copies. Just a year before, Girlfriend was teetering just above the 100,000 copy sales mark and DOLLY was selling over 140,000 copies.
Teen magazines started to nose dive significantly in 2000, when DOLLY was selling 177,000+ copies, with the uptake of online increasing amongst the demographic and the GST lifting cover prices, counteracted by publishers with the introduction of competitive cover-mounting strategies and complementary web strategies.
However, publishers also pointed to girls buying more sophisticated titles, such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan, at an earlier age (Cleo and Cosmopolitan are currently selling 110,081 and 150,346 copies respectively) and the diversification of teen media and entertainment interests.
In 2005, DOLLY was selling more than 170,000 copies with ACP's then group editor-in-chief Mia Freedman telling The Australian: "Nothing will ever replace the experience of the magazine. There's the blog, the web and the magazine, and they each have different roles in building each other up."
This strategy has continued at ACP despite a fragmented consumer market with DOLLY winning the AMA's inaugural Youth/Kids magazine award for its multimedia branding strategy, up-to-date editorial, interactive editorial and airbrush-free 'Heart Your Body' campaign in 2009.
At the younger end of the magazine spectrum, the story is bleak. Tween magazines also suffered circulation losses: Pacific Magazines titles Total Girl and K-Zone recorded respective falls of 11.4% (to 46,414) and 16.1% (to 44,221). Their category counterparts Girl Power (down 3% to 21,322), Little Angel (down 15% to 19,337), Mania (down 15.7% to 18,466) and DMag (down 20% to 19,693) struggled too in an environment of Playstations, Wiis and tween-friendly websites.
Further compounding the declining trend, British teen title Sugar magazine recently folded in the UK after a decade-long sales decline of 75%. Publisher Hachette Filipacchi pointed to youth's insatiable taste for free content, resolving to concentrate its efforts in reaching teens at Sugarscape.com.
Girl With a Satchel