While the story told by advertising pages wasn’t a positive one, prompting the Publishers Information Bureau to stop reporting the figures for ad pages earlier this year, the audience for many print magazines continues to grow, according to the latest data from GfK MRI, covering the fall 2014 period.
The overall mixed picture was probably partly due to disruptions in newsstand delivery following the closure of Source Interlink Distribution earlier this year.
On the positive side, many celebrity and fashion titles saw audience increases from fall 2013 to fall 2014, with People up 2.1% from 42.7 million to 43.6 million; In Style up 3.9% from 4.59 million to 4.76 million; and Life & Style Weekly up 3.7% from 4.59 million to 4.76 million. Meanwhile, Elle rose 2.2% from 5.42 million to 5.54 million; Glamour edged up 2.6% from 11.54 million to 11.79 million; Brides soared 16.9% from 4.73 million to 5.53 million; and Essence jumped 11.6% from 7.04 million to 7.86 million.
A number of culinary and epicurean titles also enjoyed increases, with Bon Appetit up 9% from 6.11 million to 6.66 million; Cooking Light up 5.2% from 10.89 million to 11.47 million; and Food Network Magazine up 2.5% from 11.65 million to 11.94 million. Among men’s interest titles Esquire rocketed 23% from 2.95 million to 3.63 million, and Field & Stream rose 6.5% from 7.75 million to 8.25 million. Forbes led the way in business titles, growing 13.5% from 5.91 million to 6.71 million.
On the down side, among women's interest titles, Allure slipped 9.5% from 6.55 million to 5.93 million, Redbook tumbled 19.3% from 7.7 million to 6.21 million, Self slid 21% from 5.44 million to 4.3 million, and Shape was down 8.8% from 5.65 million to 5.15 million. In the domestic category Good Housekeeping fell 11.2% from 19.03 million to 16.9 million, and Martha Stewart Living declined 10.9% from 10.31 million to 9.19 million.
Automotive titles also took some hits, with Car and Driver down 6.1% from 10.17 million to 9.55 million while Road & Track plunged 43% from 4.79 million to 2.71 million. Among men’s interest titles ESPN the Magazine was down 5.2% from 14.57 million to 13.82 million; Sports Illustrated fell 7.6% from 19.79 million to 18.29 million; Maxim dropped 17.6% from 8.31 million to 6.86 million; Men’s Health slipped 3% from 12.88 million to 12.5 million; and Men’s Fitness tumbled 18.4% from 8.58 million to 7 million.
It’s worth noting that many of these decreases probably were at least partly due to the closure of Source Interlink Distribution, which resulted in serious disruptions to newsstand supplies for many retailers. According to MagNet, following Source's closure in June, total retail sales volume dropped by 27% from 417.9 million in the third quarter of 2013 to 346.6 million in the third quarter of 2014.