Mags: state of the (mag)nation (June 2009 audit)

Looking at the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, it's plain to see why editorial heads have rolled at ACP Magazines: amongst the titles reporting losses are Woman's Day, NW, The Australian Women's Weekly and Harper's Bazaar, all which have new editors at their helm.

In all, 202 million audited magazines sold in Australia over the June 2008-June 2009 audit period representing a 4.7% decline. Clearly consumers are being picky about where they spend their discretionary dollars. Herewith a breakdown of sales results across key female-oriented categories...


With its $3.50 pricing strategy, catchy covers and cheeky content, Famous is breaking open the champagne to celebrate a 20% circulation gain, while OK! maintains its position and the other glossips experience sales setbacks. Trailing the pack with sales of 66,240 per week, and now sharing staff with Harper's Bazaar, Grazia is defiantly hanging in there with a small increase (no year-on-year data available yet). Is it the Lindsay Lohan of magazines?


Poor Cleo can't catch a break, reporting another circulation dip of -10%, while its ACP sister title Cosmopolitan makes a nominal sales gain. Jamie Huckbody has already suffered for Harper's Bazaar's sales losses, though the ACP fashion monthly is ahead of News Magazines' Vogue Australia by 715 average monthly copy sales. SHOP Til You Drop, as predicted, continues to impress on the fashion front, while Pacific Magazines' Marie Claire maintains its position. Not even Magda could stop The Weekly from dipping below sales of 500,000 year-on-year.


Dolly editor Gemma Crisp will be doing a happy dance, with the teen title extending its lead over Girlfriend (not to detract from editorial excellence but, clearly, the covermounts are working).


After relaunching in June, Good Health has posted a small but promising circulation gain; still, it's Pacific Magazines' Women's Health that continues to make impressive sales gains. Perhaps Weight Watchers readers are switching to Healthy Food Guide and Diabetic Living (that, or they didn't get the memo about it going monthly?).


Pacific Magazines claims a 60% share of the home and lifestyle magazine market, a category which is up 4.3% year-on-year, with the publisher's Better Homes and Gardens contributing an impressive 10.5% circulation gain.


Perhaps Aussies have been content to get their serving of food content via TV's MasterChef, which aired from late April to July 2009, as category sales are down almost across the board? This audit welcomes ACP's BBC affiliated title Australian Good Food to the fold with the possibility of some readers switching to the title in a wider market offering.

Readership snapshot: The women's lifestyle category is up 4.1%; fashion is up 0.9%; men's lifestyle is up 13.2%; teen is up 4%; though home and lifestyle fell 0.5% and 0.2% respectively, reports Mediaweek. The Australian Women's Weekly is still the number-one read title in the country, with 2.2 million monthly readers. mUmbrella reports the major readership swings in the women's market were felt by NW (down 31% to 363,000); Notebook (down 23% to 261,000); and Harper’s Bazaar (down 19% to 191,000).

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Anonymous said...

Grazia is up in circulation, not down. That should be a plus figure and a pat on the back.

I wonder how much money Famous lose putting out a magazine at $3.50/week that still only sells 80k.

mag nation said...

Hi Erica,

You mention that "in all, 202 million magazines sold in Australia over the June 2008-June 2009 audit period".

This is what we keep getting told, but isn't it more accurate to say that 202 million "Audited" magazines got sold. How many millions of magazines never make it onto the official stats?

There is a long distribution tail of magazine titles that never gets counted. The exploding niche and specialty category won't be included here. Also, what about all the international titles that sell in Australia? They are not counted either.

I have no problem with the circulation figures, but they are not representative of the total "magazine retail landscape" in Australia. These figures are useful for Australian advertisers, but are not the be all and end all.

These figures will be in Monday's newspapers, and the commentators will use them to infer into the future of magazines. What if some (and obviously it won't be all) of the decline is accounted for by a switch from audited to non audited titles.

There is a story in that trend too.

Sash said...

So interesting that foodie magazines have gone down so quickly after Masterchef. What a phenomenon. I guess now that we've all weathered the GFC, we're not staying in and cooking as much?

I'm not too much of a cook myself so I wouldn't know. :)

Anonymous said...

Glossy Girl - it's probably incorrect to assume the drop in foodie titles is straight after Masterchef as the circulation audit is an average of the 6 month period for Jan-Jun. Readership is also a 12 month database so this release is July 08 - June 09, measuring issues up until about April 09.

Anonymous said...

Weight Watchers went from bi monthly to monthly in that period, which explains the drop in their figure. So guessing they wouldn't be too concerned as copy sales for entire period would therefore be up.