Magazine Newsstand Sales Tumble Again

The downward trend in newsstand sales is continuing -- and may even be gathering speed, judging by the latest figures from MagNet, which tracks single copy sales at retail for U.S. magazine publishers.

The total number of print magazines sold via newsstands and other retail channels fell 10.3% from 128.8 million in the third quarter of 2014 to 115.5 million in the third quarter of 2015, MagNet found, while the total dollar value of these sales fell 9.8% from $697 million to $628.9 million.

Among the nation’s top publishers, Time Inc.’s total unit sales fell 13.1% to 17.3 million, while dollar sales were down 11.3% to $113.3 million; Bauer’s unit sales were down 3.2% to 25.6 million as dollar sales slipped 2.7% to $68.4 million; American Media’s unit sales were down 13.2% to 12.3 million while dollar sales decreased 13.1% to $62.6 million.

Hearst’s unit sales plunged 21.9% to 6.7 million, with dollars down 20.3% to $30.1 million, and Meredith’s unit sales fell 16.1% to 4.3 million, as dollar sales declined 15.2% to $27.2 million.

The overall draw, referring to the number of magazines distributed to retailers, fell 1.8% from 430.2 million to 422.5 million, while the proportion of these actually sold fell from 31% to 27.4%.

The third-quarter figures come on top of a weak performance in the first half of the year, according to MagNet, when the total volume of magazines distributed by wholesalers slipped 2.6% to 784 million.

The volume of issues sold fell even more, with an 18.5% drop from 254.5 million issues to 207.5 million over the same period, and the dollar value of these sales fell 13.9% from $1.29 billion to $1.11 billion.

From 2013-2014, total newsstand sales plunged 16.7% to 517.5 million units, but MagNet noted that much of this was due to the closing of wholesale distributor Source Interlink Distribution in May 2014.

4 comments about "Magazine Newsstand Sales Tumble Again".
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  1. dorothy higgins from Mediabrands WW, December 2, 2015 at 3:14 p.m.

    How about you go back and now report this subscription sales included.  And then to make it really imformative, online subs.  This is a chapter of a longer story. 

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 3, 2015 at 11:42 a.m.

    Even better, Dorothy, would be a review of subscription and single copy sales trends, coupled with MRI readership data. What we would probably see is that the latter---readership----has not declined as much as paid circulations. I wonder if the MPA has anything to say about this?

  3. Bo Sacks from Precision Media Group, December 3, 2015 at 1:02 p.m.

    As Arlo Guthrie once said, "You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in." So to it seems to me that you won’t have a thriving magazine business without a newsstand to sell your products. Now this statement isn’t to imply that printed magazines are dead, but it is to suggest that the old way of selling printed magazines is nearing a point of no return. Retailers are getting ready to give magazines less space in their stores and that will hurt smaller and middle sized magazines much more than the big guys. But even if the big guys are still out there continuously selling fewer and fewer magazines the trend will be fewer and fewer people developing the print habit. That is the law of diminishing returns. It is a spiral that we are already on but the speed of the decent is accelerating. Subscriptions too are on the decent but not as steep. 

  4. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, December 3, 2015 at 4:27 p.m.

    I used to read more than a dozen magazines at one time.  The Internet disturbance has cut me
    back to just the New Yorker and I don't read all of IT!

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