It’s getting to be old news now. Magazine newsstand sales are declining, according to the latest data from MagNet. But what is new, and worrisome, is that the declines are accelerating and the pain is spreading.
The newsstand tracker’s first-half 2015 numbers are in and they show that the key metric of sales efficiency hit what it says is an all-time low. Only 26.8 per cent of the magazines publishers distributed to retail outlets actually sold, down from 31 per cent in the first half of 2014.
That even despite publishers responding by paring back the number of hard copies distributed by 40m over the same time period, but perhaps owing partly to an average 5 per cent increase in cover prices. The latter move was factored into a dollar sales efficiency figure of 26.5 per cent.
MagNet, though, puts a caveat on the comparison; the 2014 numbers may be overestimated both because numbers from Source Interlink Distribution dried up when it went out of business, and Barnes & Noble stopped providing data this year.
Yet MagNet is confident enough in the numbers to suggest in its narrative on the data that a stabilisation of newsstand circulation doesn’t appear to be in sight. The decline began eight years ago and sales are approaching an inauspicious milestone.
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