'Time', 'People' Trim Rate Bases

Two of the nation’s best-known magazines are dropping the size of their guaranteed circulation to media buyers, with Time magazine and People both set to trim their rate bases in the New Year.

Ad Age first reported the news.

Effective January 1, Time is cutting its guaranteed circulation by 250,000 copies to 3 million -- a 7.7% decrease -- while People’s guaranteed circulation is edging down 50,000 to 3,425,000, for a modest 1.5% decrease. According to Time Inc., in both cases the cuts focused on less profitable circulation.

In the most recent report from the Alliance for Audited Media, covering the first half of 2014, People had a total print circulation of 3,432,069, down 3.1% from 3,542,185 during the first half of 2013. Newsstand sales fell 14.8% from 828,590 to 706,344, while paid subscriptions slid 2% from 2,534,694 to 2,484,703.



According to the AAM, over the same measurement period, Time’s total circulation slipped half a percentage point from 3,301,056 to 3,286,467, due mostly to a 7.3% drop in paid subscriptions from 3,233,040 to 2,998,390. This was partially offset by a big increase in “verified” subscriptions, including free distribution, from 9,554 to 234,917.

Some media watchers noted that Time Inc.’s decision to trim rate bases for its two flagship titles follows the October declaration by MediaVest. The company said it would no longer include circulation comprised of tablet editions in magazines’ rate bases for media buying purposes. However, a Time Inc. spokesperson contacted by Ad Age denied that this had anything to do with the rate-base cuts.

While the print environment remains challenging, Time Inc. is betting big on digital channels. Earlier this month, People announced a partnership with Poshly, a consumer intelligence company focused on the beauty and personal care industries. The partners joined forces to launch a new digital channel, “Poshly Giveaways by People,” to gather audience data that will enable the publisher to refine its content offerings, product development strategy and marketing messaging.

People en Español launched a new twice-weekly online video program, "La Esquina" (The Corner), targeting Hispanic millennial women with bilingual content, including celebrity news and interviews as well as coverage of music, movies, fashion, and technology. In September, People launched “People Now,” a 20-minute live daily online show presented by Toyota, covering the same topics.

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