The downward trajectory of consumer magazine circulation appears to have slowed in the first half of the year. While publishers weren’t able to muster the slightly positive growth that ad pages have had lately — the Publishers Information Bureau recorded its first increase in ad pages and rates last month in two years — as mags rely more on paid circ to pay the bills, these numbers are becoming more crucial. So far, paid circ is becoming more stable, while newsstand sales are struggling
Some of the highlights from the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Fas-Fax report included:
— Total paid & verified circ came in at 313,777,172 for the first six months, a decrease of 2.27 percent from the same period the year before.
— Total paid subscriptions were 267,413,646, down 1.96 percent
— Total Single-Copy Sales were 32,479,272 a fall-off of 5.63 percent.
Over the past six months, a few publishers, including Conde Nast, have gotten approval from the ABC (NYSE: DIS) to include digital replicas of their mags sold through apps on the iPad or iPhone as part of the newsstand-sales count. It’ll take awhile until those sales become meaningful, but titles like Wired have had a pretty good start. Other publishers, such as Hearst, have chosen to hold off on ABC approval for its app mags, feeling that it’s more important to experiment with the tablet and mobile forms than be confined to creating a strict digital reproduction of its 14 magazines like Esquire.