An Industry that Continues to Give Birth is NOT a Dying Industry…Examining the Retail Records of 25 New Magazines of 2012 (Amended)

June 12, 2013

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 4.46.18 PM From a historic and naturalistic perspective, any entity that doesn’t give birth becomes extinct. That’s just a fact.

So when people say that print is dead or is going the way of the dinosaur, my gut reaction is to laugh out loud and then show them the numbers of new births that are being born every day in the delivery rooms of the nation’s newsstands.

I really don’t understand why it has always been acceptable for individuals who have killed products that don’t sell, don’t work or don’t have readership or viewership, to blame an entire industry for the demise of specific products. It is like saying television is dead because M.A.S.H. is no longer on.

Back in the late 70s when I first came to America, there were 3 major TV networks and three major magazines which distributed over 10 million copies: TV Guide, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic.

Then along came cable TV and the magazine industry went the way cable went. Magazines became “cable-lized.” The more cable added life and variety to the national psyche, the same happened with the magazine industry.

New magazine launches moved from the 50-100 titles per year, to the 700-800 mark. And the more new titles that have arrived, the more specialized they’ve become. Gone are the days of the 10 million circulations of one magazine, and hello to the present where there are hundreds of magazines with an over- all total of 10 million.

So what role new magazines play in the life of the industry? Now the definition of “new” is as lucrative and fluid as the titles coming and goings themselves. Some new magazines came out with new names, but old bipads. Some used different bipads based on various retail outlets. And some were nothing more than a name change or a test. For example, when Quilty magazine was published, it came under the bipad Paper Crafts SIPs, or when Revolucion came out, it did so under the SIM Cycle series.

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 4.45.47 PM

So in order to maneuver through the new maga- zines maze, I reached out to the folks at MagNet to help me identify and clarify the identity of 25 new magazines from 2012. I gave them the names of 25 new titles that appeared on the newsstands for the first time in 2012. MagNet provided me with the circulation numbers of the first issue and the last issue of 2012 of the said titles. The numbers are revealing to say the least.

The 25 magazines (see below) had a total draw of their first issues of 926,281 copies, barely shy of the one million mark. While the average draw of a first issue was 37,051, the more revealing number is the median of those magazines: 9,019. Cosmopolitan For Latinas led the crowd with a draw of 299,823 for the first issue and Tap Root had the least number with a draw of 1,182.

The sell-through numbers reveal yet more interesting numbers. The average or mean sale through numbers was 23.58% while the median was 19.2%. Leading the pack was Recoil magazine with a sale-through number of 69.7% for the first issue and the teen-age new title Miabella scoring the lowest sell-through number of a mere 3.4%.

By the time 2012 was coming to a close, the total draw of 24 of the 25 magazines (Romantic Living did not have a second issue in 2012) had a total draw of 1,090,259 with an average or mean draw of 45,427 and a median draw of 7,636. Leading the pack was Cosmopolitan for Latinas with a draw of 300,983 and WristWatch* (see note below) magazine had the least number with a draw of 684.
While the draw of the final issues of 2012 showed a slight increase, the opposite was true with the sell- through numbers. The sell-through numbers showed few percentage points decrease both on an average and with the median numbers as well. The mean sell- through number was 21.05% while the median was 18.4%. Leading the pack was Beaches, Resorts, & Parks magazine with a sell-through of 57.8% and Empirical magazine scoring the lowest sell-through of 4.7%.

So what do all those numbers mean? One thing and one thing for sure, the magazine industry continues to be as vibrant as it can be, with new titles coming to the market, outselling established ones in some cases, and selling below, way below some ones in other cases.

Magazine publishing is just like gambling, the odds are always against you, but once you hit the jackpot, the rest is history.

Go gamble, or for that matter, launch a magazine.

The data below shows the magazines’ first issue and last issue of 2012 together with their sale efficiencies. (All numbers are from MagNet)

First issue: Draw: 5,181 Sold: 17.3% Last issue: Draw: 2,966 Sold: 31.5%
Amour Creole
First issue: Draw: 1,943 Sold: 6.1% Last issue: Draw: 1,927 Sold: 19.8%

Beaches, Resorts & Parks
First issue: Draw: 7,446 Sold: 40.5% Last issue: Draw: 4,780 Sold: 57.8%
First issue: Draw: 4,077 Sold: 38.3% Last issue: Draw: 8,609 Sold: 6.6%

Celebrity Cooking
First issue: Draw: 11,611 Sold: 8.9% Last issue: Draw: 25,092 Sold: 12.8%
First issue: Draw: 9,019 Sold: 16.3% Last issue: Draw: 2,251 Sold: 42.3%

Cosmopolitan for Latinas
First issue: Draw: 299,823 Sold: 24.7% Last issue: Draw: 300,983 Sold: 20.1%
DC Nation
First issue: Draw: 97,458 Sold: 13.5% Last issue: Draw: 109,872 Sold: 21.3%

DreamWorks Adventure Magazine
First issue: Draw: 3,778 Sold: 23.6% Last issue: Draw: 6,663 Sold: 16.7%
First issue: Draw: 16,329 Sold: 19% Last issue: Draw: 17,021 Sold: 17.9%

First issue: Draw: 8,416 Sold: 7.1% Last issue: Draw: 4,764 Sold: 4.7%
First issue: Draw: 94,073 Sold: 31.5% Last issue: Draw: 112,452 Sold: 30.2%

Marvel Super Heroes
First issue: Draw: 150,717 Sold: 21.6% Last issue: Draw: 116,300 Sold: 11.8%
First issue: Draw: 18,013 Sold; 3.4% Last issue: Draw: 6,380 Sold: 7.9%

Pacific Standard
First issue: Draw: 4,160 Sold: 7.5% Last issue: Draw: 5,005 Sold: 10.1%
Positive Impact
First issue: Draw: 10,467 Sold; 17.1% Last issue: Draw: 5,193 Sold: 13.5%

Quilty Magazine
First issue: Draw: 57,935 Sold: 41.2% Last issue: Draw: 58,015 Sold: 33.3%
First issue: Draw: 34,489 Sold: 69.7% Last issue: Draw: 182,722 Sold: 46.9%

First issue: Draw: 64,839 Sold: 17.1% Last issue: Draw: 64,896 Sold: 19.2%
Romantic Living
First issue: Draw: 5,894 Sold: 22.4% No second issue in 2012

First issue: Draw: 3,331 Sold: 20.3% Last issue: Draw: 5,086 Sold: 9.5%
First issue: Draw: 1,182 Sold: 19.2% Last issue: Draw: 1,154 Sold: 41.1%

The Local Palate
First issue: Draw: 4,359 Sold: 17.5% Last issue: Draw: 36,496 Sold: 26.7%
The Stndrd
First issue: Draw: 9,355 Sold: 29% Last issue: Draw: 10,948 Sold: 15.6%

WristWatch* (see note below)
First issue: Draw: 2,386 Sold: 56.7% Last issue: Draw: 684 Sold: 18.9%

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 9.22.36 AMNote: The above article appeared in the magazine program for the 2013 MPA/PBAA Retail Marketplace conference in Philadelphia.

Important Note: I have received an email from Michael Gerardo, a newsstand consultant whose Wrist Watch magazine is one of his clients. He noted that the numbers used in the article above are not correct. After further investigation, I discovered that the data included two magazines with the same name one with the word magazine after it and the other without. The magazine referenced above has a bipad number of 01144 and is not the same magazine as WristWatch Magazine with the bipad number 01466. I have offered Mr. Gerardo the opportunity to further explain the numbers. As soon as I hear from him I will post his response below.


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