Media: Which magazines are Aussies reading?

Media: Which magazines are Aussies reading?
Just as less Aussies bought up newspapers over the past year (with the exception of The Age and Sunday Age in Victoria), they were also reluctant to snaffle up gossip titles on the shop floor, with women's weekly magazine sales falling 4.2% across the board in the year to September.

While Pacific Magazines' Who and ACP's Grazia made nominal gains, shoppers were right off NW, which lost 15.4% of its circulation (now 105,000 per week), according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation's September report.

Despite the royal wedding, sales for New Idea (down 3.5%; 305,037), Woman's Day (down 3.1%; 380,000) and OK! (down 2.6%; 97,689) dropped off as consumers minded their pennies (and/or their sensibility). TV Week also lost market share, casting of 11.5% of its circulation (now 172,156).

But results for the women's category have nothing on its male counterpart which suffered carnage on par with the Australian Cricket Team in Cape Town. Sales of men's interest titles (FHM, People, Picture, Zoo) plummeted 19.8% across the board. It would be nice to think that this was because Australian men had a collective moral awakening; more likely the internet lured them in if not the men's fitness magazines; or are they choosing brains over porn?

With newspaper circulation declining (The Sydney Morning Herald's weekday edition shaved 7.2% off; The Daily Telegraph's weekday edition lost 4.3%), and mastheads propping up their digital offerings on the iPad and such, newspaper inserted magazines hung in there instead of thriving, with the exception of The Deal (up 2.7%), Sunday Life (Victoria; up 0.9%), The Age (Melbourne) Magazine (up 1.7%) and the AMA award-winning Wish (2.8%).

Roy Morgan's September 2011 readership survey tells us what Aussies have been picking up, lending out and talking about over the past year: home and lifestyle, fitness, computing, business and current affairs, motoring and sport.

Impressive readership gainers include PlayStation (up 58.8%) and Game Informer (up 57.9% to 162,000), Men's Fitness (52.7%; 197,000), 4WD Action (up 33.5%; 239,000), The Monthly (up 31.2%; 122,000), Australian Traveller (up 28.3%; 77,000), The Week (up 20.4%; 65,000), Women's Health & Fitness (up 19.7%; 158,000), Country Style (up 17.7%; 253,000), Rolling Stone (up 17.3%; 278,000), InStyle (up 14.2%; 233,000), Australian Geographic (up 13.6%; 460,000) and SHOP Til You Drop (up 13.7%; 183,000).

News Magazines reports that Vogue Living (182,000), Inside Out (135,000) and Country Style (253,000) are the most read prestige home titles, claiming an impressive 83.6% of gross readership. "Notching up eight consecutive period-on-period increases is a huge achievement, and is testament to Country Style’s ability to engage readers with practical and inspiring content," said Mark Kelly, group publisher, lifestyle at News Magazines.

Meanwhile, Pacific Magazines is celebrating teen title Girlfriend's readership gain. While competitor Dolly lost 22.4% of its readers (dropping from 407,000 to 316,000), Girlfriend surpassed its rival and now boasts 333,000 readers. Pacific's Marie Claire lost 18.4% of its readership, falling to 417,000.

Other solid performers included Health Smart (up 14.4% to 119,000), Home Beautiful (up 13.3%; 358,000), Practical Parenting (up 11.5%; 155,000), Frankie (up 9.5%; 218,000), Madison (up 7.9%; 231,000 ), Time (up 7.1%; 332,000), House & Garden (6.4%; 702,000) and The Australian Women's Weekly (up 5.9%; 2,339,000), which is still the most-read magazine in the country.

MasterChef magazine experienced a 42.1% decline in readership, falling from 868,000 to 503,000 per month, which News Magazines has defended on the grounds of a deflation of the MasterChef property bubble, which extends to a popular iPad app.

"Coming off the back of a phenomenal launch year, we’re immensely pleased with the level at which MasterChef magazine has settled," said Fiona Nilsson, group publisher, food at News Magazines.

"The magazine’s readership of 503,000 makes it the fourth most-read food magazine in Australia and it continues to perform well above initial readership targets, tracking more than 160,000 ahead of early readership projections."

Girl With a Satchel