Mag Rack: Who's Really King Of The Newsstand?

Singled Out For Their Single Copies

Last week, Mag Rack looked at the early success of new men's shopping magazine Cargo. In the story, one of the claims that Cargo's publisher made was that newsstand sales for the new title have been very strong. He estimated sales to be in the neighborhood of 110,000 copies, which he said was higher than established men's titles like Details, Men's Journal, and GQ.

This week, Scott Kerr, marketing director at GQ, pointed out that Cargo's claim may not entirely be true.

Looking at the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, he is right. GQ's average newsstand sales were 213,549 during the first six months of 2004, significantly higher than Cargo's estimates. Yes, Details' (67,246) and Men's Journal's (75,850) are lower, but Cargo's numbers are actually closer to those of Esquire's (110,248), to put things in perspective.

This investigation got Mag Rack thinking about newsstand sales, since they have been a hot topic of late, as some in the industry have claimed that single-copy sales are fading. So which are the top books at the newsstand?



Cosmopolitan, it turns out, sells an amazing 2,001,240 copies on average, according to ABC data through June of this year. At $3.99 a copy, that is $7,984,947.60 in newsstand revenue for each issue in Hearst's pockets.

Women's World and People rank No. 2 and No. 3, with each selling roughly 1.45 million copies at newsstand.

Cosmo's rival Glamour is also way up there, pushing 1.388 million copies--up 9.2 percent this year. Family Circle and the National Enquirer are also both big single-copy sellers, yet both saw significant declines--down 17 percent each.

As has been well-publicized, the celebrity category has been burning up the newsstand: US Weekly's newsstand sales were up a whopping 47.3 percent, and In Touch's were up by an even more impressive 73.6 percent, with each neck and neck in newsstand sales figures (745,887 copies versus 729,799). The newly revamped Star is still playing catch-up--actually down a surprising 11 percent.

The biggest increase of all: Education Week, up 704 percent. Who knew?

Hottest Performers Ranked By Newsstand Sales

Subscriptions Single-Copy Total Paid Circ.
Cosmopolitan 994,853 2,001,240 2,996,093
Women's World 95,826 1,450,577 1,546,403
People 2,281,395 1,448,892 3,730,287
First For Women 229,330 1,368,786 1,598,116
National Enquirer 347,732 1,111,439 1,459,162
Glamour 1,388,868 972,769 2,361,637
Family Circle 3,411,928 960,885 4,372,813
In Style 847,570 932,857 1,780,427
O, The Oprah Magazine 1,798,461 922,585 2,721,046
Women's Day 3,138,041 922,578 4,060,619

Source: Averages For 6 Months Ended 06/30/04

More Than Just A Cottage Business

Time Inc.'s Cottage Living is shaping up to be one of the company's most successful launches, at least initially. The debut issue hits newsstands August 24, with 143 pages of advertising and 153 of editorial. The new title will publish two issues in 2004 at a rate base of 500,000, and then jump to nine issues in 2005 with a rate base of 650,000. Besides those in the home category, advertisers in the launch issue include GMC Envoy, Toyota Highlander, Citibank, Visa, and Target, to name a few.

Uptown Hopes To Be Upscale

The creators of Uptown, a newly launched Harlem-based lifestyle book, are hoping to emulate magazines like Ocean Drive, Gotham, and Los Angeles Confidential, each of which has seen its appeal as a local publication extend to national brand status. "We want to take a regional area and highlight its spirit and energy," said Brett Wright, Uptown's co-founder.

Wright and Publisher Leonard Burnett, former group publisher of Vanguarde Media, had been kicking around the idea for Uptown for about five years after they both had moved to Harlem during what many consider the area's second great renaissance. Each wondered why nobody was doing something like this.

"There isn't a magazine out there that we identify with," said Wright, who is CEO and chief creative officer at marketing agency Nu America.

Uptown will cover travel, nightlife, features on inspiring Harlemites, lots of fashion, and even some fiction. The first issue carries 45 ad pages, and 65 percent of those are national advertisers, according to Wright. "It's been great," he said. "We have ads for Ruthie's Diner and Chrysler."

While taking things slowly for now, Wright says that he and Burnett plan to launch similar titles in one or two cities--hopefully, by the summer of 2005. He mentioned Chicago and Washington, DC as possibilities.

Bridal Guide Works Out

For the first time, the March/April 2005 issue of Bridal Guide (on sale Jan. 20) will carry a special health and wellness advertorial section ("A Beautiful Start") devoted to fitness, stress control, diet, and menus, among other bridal fitness concerns.

The eight-page spread will offer advertisers a full page of ad space opposite a full page of advertorial promotion. The section is meant to be a "clip and save" piece, as readers will be encouraged to save and refer back to the section. Sponsors will receive a ton of extras, including a free listing in the Reader Response section and three months additional exposure online.

Spectrum Anniversary

Business technology magazine IEEE Spectrum will commemorate its 40th anniversary with a special November 2004 issue that looks back at the history of technology and looks ahead to where the industry is going.

The issue's editorial content will include contributions from corporate leaders and luminaries worldwide, including Craig Barrett, CEO, Intel; Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari; Sky Dayton, founder and chairman, EarthLink; and Hervé Gallaire, president, Xerox Innovation Group. Feature stories include "A View From the Top," where these technology celebrities select the most important technology advancement of the past of 40 years and speculate what is to come in the next ten years.

The issue also takes a look at the magazine's success rate at making technology predictions over the years.

A special advertorial package will be available to advertisers.

End Notes: * National Geographic Adventure will increase its guaranteed rate base by 18 percent from 425,000 to 500,000, beginning with the February 2005 issue. In addition to the double-digit increase in circulation, National Geographic Adventure is investing in upgraded paper stock and has redesigned the front-of-book.

* Shop Etc.'s Web site,, has launched, including extensive e-commerce capabilities.

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