That’s the highest gross audience figure for consumer mags since the MPA started measuring it last year.
Audience growth was driven largely by increases in the total video audience, which rose 18.7%, and magazines’ mobile audience, which soared 78% compared to the year before.
Mobile readers increased from 14% of the total audience to 22% over the same period. Their gross Web audience, including desktop and laptop, increased 6.9% over February 2014 -- but in proportional terms, the Web audience actually shrank from 17% to 16%.
The list of magazines with the biggest gross audiences was led by ESPN The Magazine, with a gross audience of 92.8 million in February 2015, due to its combination of Web (25.4 million), mobile (40.3 million), and video (11.8 million) audiences. In second place was People at 85 million. With a strong performance across digital channels, it also boasted a print audience of 44 million.
Better Homes and Gardens came in at third place with a gross audience of 49.1 million. Forbes was in fourth place with a gross audience of 45.7 million, followed by Time at 44.8 million and AARP at 44.4 million.
The MPA’s report on magazine audiences comes not long after figures showing strong online growth for the traditional media cousins in the newspaper business.
According to the Newspaper Association of America, the combined digital audience for U.S. newspapers reached a record 173 million in January 2015, per comScore data. That figure is the highest ever -- up 19% from 146 million in January 2014, and 4.8% from 165 million in December 2014.