Magazine Circulation Numbers: Niche Publishers, AAM, and More

Looking at the latest magazine circulation numbers through the lens of what sells and what doesn’t, as well as how to handle online circulation; plus, Time Inc. digital has more big plans

Magazine circulation numbers are by definition always changing, but we’re at a crucial juncture when it comes to these stats.

For instance, it’s hard to believe, but the Alliance for Audited Media is just now establishing standards for magazine apps, because they’re helping digital publishers with audience development. And elsewhere, recent numbers give us a good idea of which niche magazines are succeeding, and which aren’t.

Media Life Magazine is on top of these trends and many others, including Time Inc. digital’s latest moves. Let’s take a look at their recent reporting!

An Update on Magazine Circulation Numbers

Here’s what the Alliance for Audited Media is reporting on recent magazine circulation numbers, as relayed by Media Life Magazine: Newsstand sales are down, and overall magazine circulation is flat. But there are magazine audience opportunities to explore, as you’ll see by checking out this interesting post.

In the meantime, here are some takeaways:

Biggest single-copy decline

The Week, down 60.8 percent, though that’s based on a tiny number – it sold just 499 copies at newsstand.

Biggest single-copy gain

National Geographic Traveler, up 93.7 percent to 61,263 per issue

Ups and downs

Of the 125 magazines we track, 36 saw newsstand gains and 89 saw declines.

Biggest newsstand declines via category

Every single title tracked by Media Life in these categories saw year-to-year newsstand declines: teen, women’s service/beauty, fashion, women’s service, sports, bridal, African American and health/fitness.

Biggest newsstand gains via category

Every single title tracked by Media Life in these categories saw year-to-year newsstand gains, though keep in mind this makes up just three magazines total: Hispanic and parenting.

Biggest newsstand seller

Woman’s World, which sold an average 827,049 per issue.

Biggest overall circulation

AARP the Magazine, as usual, with total paid circ of 23,428,878, up 2.2 percent from last year.

Better Homes and Gardens was a distant second with 7,624,910, down 0.3 percent from last year.

Trend to watch among the celebrity titles

Whether OK! can sustain its newsstand gains. It was the only one of the six major gossip titles to see a single-copy increase, up 3.5 percent.

AAM Magazine Modernizes Circulation Numbers

Also on the Alliance for Audited Media’s agenda: Quantifying the performance of “Netflix for magazines.”

“Unlimited-access magazine apps don’t currently account for a huge number of readers, but the category now shows enough promise to warrant tracking for circulation tallies by the Alliance for Audited Media. The AAM is rolling out a new circulation category called ‘Multi-Title Digital Programs,’ which will track circulation through services including Texture, Readly, Magzter and Z-Pass. The new category will be included in AAM’s June 2016 data and cover the first six months of the year,” Media Life Magazine reports.


“These sorts of programs may be the distribution method of the future – there’s been a lot of discussion about how tablets could save the magazine industry – but presently it remains a relatively small niche. The AAM says that as of June 2015, the latest data available, digital magazines accounted for 4.3 percent of its total paid and verified circulation. During that period, roughly 20 percent of that came from unlimited-access programs.”

Time Inc.’s New Plan for Programmatic Advertising Aims for Targeting …

Time Inc. digital is doing its best to refine audience targeting for programmatic buyers.

“Time Inc. said Monday it is rolling out its second round of programmatic buying options, which will be segmented by audience types,” Media Life Magazine reports.

“The company is offering 12 different groups that can be targeted via programmatic print buys in its magazines, including beauty, family, travelers, fashion followers, foodies, health-conscious, influentials, moms, pets, tech savvy and sports enthusiast.”

And New Plans for Mergers & Acquisitions Aim for Yahoo

In addition, might Time Inc. digital make its biggest move yet and buy Yahoo?

“The magazine publisher is eyeing an acquisition of Yahoo, which recently went on the block after a three-year bid to turn the company around by chief executive officer Marissa Mayer stalled. Time Inc., for its part, is looking to diversify beyond print, at a time when magazines’ future clearly lies online,” Media Life Magazine reports.

“Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has new media experience, heading up finances at AOL. The company recently purchased Viant Technology, parent company of what’s left of MySpace, to get improve targeting of online ads. Yahoo has more than 1 billion users worldwide, and it’s easy to imagine Time Inc. using that platform to reach more people with its magazines, while also improving its ad offerings. But Time Inc. faces stiff competition for Yahoo. Verizon and AT&T are also said to be interested in the company.”

What are your thoughts on magazine circulation numbers? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about magazine circulation numbers and other news, visit Media Life Magazine.


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