Half-naked women and celebrity gossip may not hold the same sway anymore, with Zoo Weekly and Grazia seeing some of the highest print circulation drops in a weekly magazine market that fell 6.7% year-on-year in the September quarter.
Overall, the market decreased 6.7% year-on-year in the September quarter and sold 1,819,950 copies, according to print circulation figures from the Audit Burea of Circulations (ABC). In the previous corresponding period the weekly market saw 1,950,602 copies sold.
The declining numbers can be seen as a sobering reminder of the unforgiving market, rising reign of digital and tough economic climate that weekly magazines face.
Women's fashion and lifestyle title Grazia was down 20.61% on its figures from this time last year. The ACP-owned magazine sold 43,872 copies compared to September 2011's 55,259.
Men's lifestyle title Zoo Weekly, also published by ACP and the only men's weekly in the market, is one among few to have stayed afloat in the particularly tough men's market. Former rivals FHM, Ralph and sports publication Alpha have all faced the chopping block in recent times.
Zoo was down 15.81% on its circulation compared to last year, with its figures for September 2012 standing at 61,471. September 2011's figures were significantly higher at 73,018.
Advertising classifieds magazine Quokka, published by WAN, also suffered greatly with a 25.58% loss.
Other women's titles That's Life (Pacific) and Take 5 (ACP) were badly hit, while mass women's titles TV Week and OK!, both published by ACP, reported 7.82% and 6.74% declines respectively. Woman's Day (ACP) was hit with a 5.85% loss and sold 358,101 copies.
ACP's NW and Pacific's Who and New Idea were spared such significant losses, but declined nonetheless. Meanwhile, New Idea only dropped 1.28%.
However, it was not all doom and gloom as two magazines, Pacific-owned Famous and Fairfax-owned BRW, reported increases.
Pacific Magazines chief executive Nick Chan said in a statement: “Pacific has secured a strong performance in readership and circulation. Our weekly titles have delivered gains in circulation share over the last year, capturing 49% share of the biggest magazine category, women’s weeklies, with just four titles.
ACP Magazines chief executive Matt Stanton said: "The weekly magazine market, period-on-period, has seen comparatively robust sales for a purely discretionary purchase in a challenging retail environment.
"ACP weekly women’s titles sold 12.2 million copies in the three months to September, proving they remain a priority for many readers. Our investment in mobile technology across our portfolio, and in particular for our weekly titles, has resulted in increased time spent with the magazines as well as a deeper connection with the brands.
“At the same time, readers are increasingly engaging with our magazines’ online extensions: websites and social media. ACP magazine websites are visited by an average of 5.8 million Unique Browsers per month, generating an average of 50.2 million page views per month.
"The Woman's Day website alone attracts 1.22 monthly unique browsers and is by far Australia's most popular weekly magazine website.
“Australian weekly magazine sales remain significant, all the more so given their high pass-on rate with an average of four readers per copy.”
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