Bauer hardest hit in print; youth titles continue to fall

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 14 August 2015

Bauer is the hardest hit when it comes to print declines by publisher, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

While the publisher has the most titles, all are in year-on-year (yoy) decline when it comes to average net paid sales, with its whole suite of titles falling 9.24%.

The second biggest publisher is Pacific Magazines and it follows Bauer when it comes to declines, with the publisher's titles overall falling 7.68% yoy. NewsLifeMedia experienced the smallest drop with its stable of titles' average net print sales falling 4.82%.

The titles that were the hardest hit were those in the young women's category, with Bauer's Dolly and Pacific Magazines' Girlfriend, both falling 19.11% and 24.99% respectively.

In order to up its digital focus, Bauer Media is currently rolling out its own digital women's network, with the latest instalment to go to market, Homes to Love.

Bauer's flagship title, The Australian Women's Weekly, saw a decline in its print sales of 5.89% and a drop in digital sales of 17.5% yoy. However, Bauer's digital strategy centres around stripping out brands specifically rather than focusing on specific verticals.

One of Bauer's newest titles, Elle Australia, was its best performer, with the title only losing 0.3% in print yoy (180 sales).

Bauer Media CEO, David Goodchild, said the results cannot be underestimated in demonstrating the strength of magazines in such a fragmented media landscape, generating more than 600 million copy sales in the past 12 months.

“Our leadership over the magazine medium remains unchanged as we increase our market leadership to 50.8% share of copy sales, along with growth in digital magazine sales across a number of titles including Woman’s Day, NW, Recipes+, Money and Australian Gourmet Traveller," he said.

“Over the past six months, our business has gained momentum as we take a multichannel approach to content. We successfully launched three new mobile first digital brands to market including Food To Love, Travel In and WhichCar, all based on the trusted and quality content at the core of Bauer Media."

Pacific Magazines' titles didn't all experience falls, with one of its newer titles, Prevention, aimed at the over-40s, seeing a 30% yoy increase in paid print sales.

Hardest hit, apart from its Girlfriend magazine, was Bauer's Weight Watchers title, which fell 19.67%.

The long running marie claire held fairly steady, with the title falling in print by 4.95% while its digital sales rose 2.1% yoy.

Pacific Magazines touts that while its total readership has slipped 10.7% to 8.1 million, its social followers have jumped 74.1% to 7.5 million.

Pacific Magazines CEO Peter Zavecz said the past 12 months was not only been a period of significant growth, it was also a period of "incredible transformation" across the business.

“We’re leveraging the power and influence of Pacifics' brands into new spaces – creating apps, e-commerce and m-commerce platforms, and leading the charge on digital video, social and mobile," he explained.

“We have invested heavily in digital and have put together the best digital team in Australian media who are working hand-in-hand with the country’s best brands, editorial and marketing teams."

While NewsLifeMedia wasn't immune from print declines, it was the publisher that saw several titles keep their heads above water. Donna Hay, Inside Out, Taste.com.au, Vogue Australia and Vogue Living all saw growth in paid print sales yoy.

Inside Out was the publisher's strongest performer, with the title growing 4.51% in print and 39.5% in digital sales.

NewsLifeMedia’s CEO Nicole Sheffield said: “I am delighted that NewsLifeMedia continues to lead in the three core lifestyle genres that we operate in. We have some of the most powerful and trusted brands in this country and through continuous evolution and innovation we are delivering market leading products and platforms.

“We are very pleased with our circulation results as Inside Out achieved the largest rate of growth year-on-year in the homes category and Vogue Australia, the largest increase in the fashion category."

See the numbers for yourself here.

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