Nielsen and ABC have released the latest quarterly results for magazine readership and circulation and, to a large extent, the figures indicate a continuation of trends that have been taking shape over the last few quarters. There was however a shift in the sense that some special interest titles—which have until now have performed well—also showed signs of weakening.
Once again, the weekly publications dipped across the board in terms of readership numbers, with New Zealand Woman's Weekly suffering the biggest year-on-year readership drop, going from 805,000 last year to 731,000 this year. Not far behind in terms of its loss was Woman's Day, which dipped from 807,000 readers at the same time last to 746,000 this year.
This trend also carried over to the circulation figures, with every publication surveyed suffering a year-on-year decline. In terms of numbers, The TV Guide (1.25 million to 1.17 million) and Woman's Day (1.01 million to 947,000) underwent the steepest dips in circulation figures.
Nielsen only surveyed the Weekly Gardener in the fortnightly category, and it showed relative stability in terms of readership, dropping from 146,000 last year to 138,000 this year (there were no circulation figures available for the publication).
The readership dips were similarly evident in the monthly category, with most publications registering declines across the board. Women's magazines were hit particularly hard, with Australian's Women Weekly dropping from 740,000 last year to 619,000 this year, Cleo dipped from 142,000 readers to 100,000, Cosmopolitan slipped from 197,000 to 157,000, Creme fell from 180,000 to 142,000, and Girlfriend fell from 181,000 to 143,000.
The downward trend was however bucked by several special interest magazines that managed to increase their readership. Boating NZ shifted from 137,000 to 164,000, Farm Trader climbed from 93,000 to 102,000, Fishhead went from 26,000 to 32,000, Kiaora moved slightly from 327,000 to 333,000, Mindfood leaped significantly from 195,000 to 225,000, NZ Gardener put in another impressive year by rising from 324,000 to 329,000, Wild Tomato grew from 29,000 to 35,000 and NZ Horse & Pony stacked on another 10,000 readers by going from 59,000 to 69,000.
However, the climb among special interest titles wasn't all-inclusive in the sense that publications in this category also suffered dips. Deals on Wheels dropped from 71,000 to 56,000, Motorcycle Trader declined from 91,000 to 77,000, NZ Fishing News slipped from 288,000 to 274,000, NZ House and Garden dropped significantly from 571,000 to 523,000, NZ Lifestyle Block went from 84,000 to 72,000, NZ Performance Car also stumbled markedly from 304,000 to 255,000, NZ Trucking went from 106,000 to 93,000, Recipes+ declined from 122,000 to 91,000 and Your Home & Garden lost 56,000 readers in a year as it went from 336,000 to 280,000.
The circulation figures largely followed the trends established in the readership figures with the exception of a few titles. Despite losing over 50,000 readers, Your Home and Garden registered an increase in circulation from 34,135 to 34,987 magazines. Similarly, NZ House and Garden (which also lost around 50,000 readers) had an increase in circulation, moving from 45,992 to 46,328.
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It is thought that these anomalous results might be attributable to bundled packaging of magazines, which results in two or three titles being sold from the stands as a single unit. While this might increase the circulation numbers, it doesn't necessarily impact on the readership figures.
When it came to the bi-monthly magazines, Dish illustrated that the Kiwi appetite for food porn extends to print, with the magazine growing slightly from 158,000 to 162,000. This was however not evidenced for Cuisine (which dipped from 422,000 to 402,000) or for Food (which slipped from 309,000 to 265,000).
While the bi-monthly category was one of the most stable in terms of readership numbers, NZ Geographic (332,000 to 312,000), NZ Life and Leisure (153,000 to 130,000) and Little Treasures (231,000 to 194,000) all suffered significant dips in readership.
The circulation figures followed Nielsen's readerships stats, with Cuisine (41134 to 37397), Food (45507 to 37303), NZ Geographic (11084 to 10898), NZ Life and Leisure (31907 to 31628) and Little Treasures (15586 to 11247) all undergoing dips.
The quarterly publications served up a mixed bag of results in the sense that five of the 11 magazines surveyed suffered dips in readership. The most significant drops were suffered by AA Directions (870,000 to 827,000), NZ Fashion Quarterly (247,000 to 214,000) and Family Care (72,000 to 43,000).
The category also came with good news for Bride & Groom, which rose from 94,000 to 102,000, Hunting and Fishing New Zealand, which climbed from 537,000 to 561,000, and OhBaby!, which moved from 68,000 to 81,000.
Interestingly, despite registering a growth in readership, Bride & Groom had a slip in circulation from 7387 to 6315 magazines, bucking the trend for a category in which all other circulation figures followed the readership results.
The final category surveyed by Nielsen, the six-monthly publications, was reasonably stable with each of the magazines surveyed suffering slight year-on-year drops in readership and circulation. Habitat's readership dropped from 175,000 to 173,000, Simply You went from 104,000 to 94,000 and the readership of Simply You Living moved from 80,000 to 73,000. These trends were also reflected in the circulations figures, with Habitat's numbers dropping from 229,727 to 266,200, Simply You slipping from 28,388 to 23,078 and Simply You Living dropping from 17,873 to 15,160.