Aside from a few notable exceptions, the audiences for print magazines continued to decline in the second half of 2015, according to the latest figures from research outfit GfK MRI.
The declines in print audiences usually canceled out much smaller increases in the audiences for digital editions. However, it’s important to note that the figures for digital editions do not include reading on Web sites, and therefore are not representative of their full digital audiences.
All the following audience figures are for print and digital editions only.
Among women’s interest magazines, the total print and digital edition audience for Woman’s Day fell 14.3% from 17.2 million in fall 2014 to 15.9 million in fall 2015. Over the same period, Cosmopolitan’s total audience fell 11.7% from 17.1 million to 15.1 million; Women’s Health fell 10.3% from 11.1 million to 10 million; Better Homes and Gardens 7.4% from 39.4 million to 36.5 million; and Family Circle 7.3% from 17.2 million to 15.9 million.
Turning to celebrity titles, Entertainment Weekly’s total audience fell 19.5% from 10.5 million to 8.5 million; People fell 10.4% from 44 million to 39.4 million; and US Weekly dipped 8% from 13.5 million to 12.5 million. In the fashion and beauty category, In Style was down 19.5% from 10.3 million to 8.3 million; Glamour was down 17.2% from 11.9 million to 9.9 million; Allure fell 13.7% from 6.1 million to 5.2 million; and Elle dropped 8.3% from 5.6 million to 5.1 million.
Many men’s interest titles also saw major declines. Maxim was down 21% 7.1 million to 5.6 million; Esquire dropped 19.7% from 3.8 million to 3 million; Car and Driver was down 12.1% from 9.7 million to 8.6 million; and Men’s Health dropped 6.3% from 13.1 million to 12.2 million.
As noted, there were a handful of exceptions. Titles bucking the general trend included Good Housekeeping, up 10.9% from 17 million to 18.8 million, and ESPN The Magazine, up 7.7% from 15.3 million to 16.5 million.
In terms of publishers, Hearst’s total print and digital edition magazine audience as measured by GfK MRI fell 7.6% from 161.7 million to 149.4 million; Conde Nast fell 12.8% from 89.6 million to 78.2 million; and Rodale was down 10% from 37.3 million to 33.4 million. On the other hand, Meredith’s total audience increased, reflecting the addition of Martha Stewart Living, growing 5% from 112.6 million to 118.3 million.
Across the board, digital editions remain a very small part of the total magazine audience for most publishers, and in some cases are actually decreasing (again, these figures do not include Web site audiences). Over this period, according to GfK MRI, Hearst’s digital edition audience rose from 3.1 million to 4 million, edging up from 1.9% of its total audience to 2.7%.
Meredith’s digital edition audience rose from 1 million to 3.8 million, or from 0.9% to 3.2%. Conde Nast’s digital edition audience decreased slightly from 2.1 million to 1.9 million, but increased in proportional terms from 2.4% to 2.5%. Rodale’s digital edition audience also shrank from 1.17 million to 824,000, decreasing from 3.1% to 2.5% of the total.