The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) released the October Ã¢Â€Â“ December 2007 and July Ã¢Â€Â“ December 2007 data at a breakfast meeting in Cape Town on Thursday (21 February).
While most newspapers seem to be cruising ahead steadily, the consumer magazine category reflects the period of uncertainty this sector faced in the past months, when 12 Media24 titles were suspended from the ABC for discrepancies in their numbers, which was followed by at least three magazine closures. The suspensions make it impossible to track the progress of the remaining nine magazines or to compare them with their competitors.
In the women’s general category, for instance, Caxton’s !_LT_EMRooi rose!_LT_/EM magazine is now the queen of the Afrikaans women’s magazines, with copy sales and subscriptions of just over 105,000. Its old rival, SARIE, was suspended from the ABC when these figures were collected, so it is not possible to compare the two.
Likewise for Marie Claire (38,328, copy sales + subscriptions, Oct Ã¢Â€Â“ Dec 2007) and FAIRLADY (suspended), as well as LÃƒÂ©ÃƒÂ©f (suspended) and Finesse (87,456, copy sales + subscriptions, Oct Ã¢Â€Â“ Dec 2007).
Associated Magazines’ Cosmopolitan is one of the few women’s magazines showing growth, now selling more than 120,000 copies, up from around 113,000 in the previous corresponding period (Oct Ã¢Â€Â“ Dec 2006).
Caxton’s newcomer CLEO, which is aimed at the same market as Cosmopolitan, sold some 24,096 copies (excluding Third Party Bulk and back issues).
Media24’s Move! magazine, aimed at black women in the lower income groups, continued to move up in the world, now selling more than 130,000 copies, compared to some 104,000 in the previous corresponding period.
But other titles have not been so lucky. Gossip magazines !_LT_EMHeat,!_LT_/EM published by UpperCase Media, and !_LT_EMMense!_LT_/EM (Caxton’s Afrikaans version of People), both dropped in circulation, with Heat decreasing from 83,084 to 67,859 while Mense is now selling only 16,618 copies as opposed to nearly 20,000 in the previous corresponding period.
UpperCase Media also published the weekly lad mag ZOO Weekly / ZOO Weekliks, which was closed down by its partner Media24 last week. Its latest circulation figure would have been 29,088, down from 35,340 in the previous corresponding period.
The small gap between competing business titles Finweek and Financial Mail is widening, with Finweek now selling 34,267 (copy sales + subscriptions) and Financial Mail standing on 27,776 (copy sales + subscriptions).
Other consumer magazines showing decreases include: FEMINA (down from about 48,000 to 35,500), Essentials (down from around 46,000 to 37,900), Idees / Ideas (down from more than 131,00 to 110,000), Tuin Paleis (down from about 37,000 to 28,500) and Getaway, now only selling 51,097 (copy sales + subscriptions, Oct Ã¢Â€Â“ Dec 2007).
However, sport and wine seem to be popular with Golf Digest increasing its numbers from around 30,500 to more than 35,000, SA Rugby climbing from 10,000 to 14,000 and Game & Hunt / Wild & Jag going up from 7,791 to 9,106. WINE magazine also increased its total circulation from some 11,900 to more than 14,600.
On the newspaper front, dailies remained relatively stable with leader Daily Sun continuing its upward trend, from 494,875 (total circulation) to 513,291.
The Afrikaans tabloid Son also increased its numbers from 72,049 to 97,135.
The weekend newspapers that have reason to smile are Media24’s City Press (up from a total circulation of 183,101 to 195,150) and ILANGA Langesonto (up from 70,291 to 84,061)*.
However, City Press’ Print Media in Education (PMIE) numbers Ã¢Â€Â“ the copies of newspapers distributed to schools and educational institutions at half the cover price Ã¢Â€Â“ are relatively high at 14,829. The same applies to the Sunday Times, which has a PMIE of 22,602 and Third Party Bulk sales of 36,687, which is more than 10% of its total circulation of 504,401.
The Saturday Star and Rapport also have high PMIE numbers Ã¢Â€Â“ 18,737 and 18,691 respectively, a relatively large chunk of their total circulations of 132,212 and 296,237 respectively.
BDFM’s new weekend paper The Weekender is now selling more than 12,000 copies, up from around 9,300 in the previous corresponding period (Oct Ã¢Â€Â“ Dec 2006), the weekly Mail & Guardian is up from 48,292 to 51,842 and Soccer Laduma has increased its circulation from 303,461 to 321,986.
The ABC identified the following key trends, based on a comparison of the latest circulation figures and the figures for October to December 2006:
!_LT_LILocal daily newspapers’ circulation grew by 2.7%!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LILocal weekly newspapers achieved a 5.4%-growth!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LILocal weekend newspapers: a 4%-increase!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIFree newspapers: an 8.6%-growth mainly attributed to new titles!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LICommunity newspapers: growth of 9.1%!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LICustom magazines: growth of 19.5%!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIConsumer magazines: a 1.3%-decline!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIBusiness-to-business magazines: no growth!_LT_/LI
!_LT_LIFree magazines: an increase of 10.7%, mainly attributed to new titles!_LT_/LI!_LT_/UL
* !_LT_STRONGCorrection: !_LT_/STRONGIt was incorrectly stated that !_LT_EMILANGA Langesonto!_LT_/EM’s circulation had increased from 54,040 to 59,905. Its circulation for the period between October and December 2007 had in fact increased to 84,061 Ã¢Â€Â“ from 70,291 in the previous corresponding period.
Ã¢Â–Â This is an edited version of the article that first appeared on TheMediaOnline. The ABC’s list of key trends was added.