ACP pops corks as Woman’s Day takes long-awaited weekly readership victory—UPDATED

It’s taken a helluva long time, but the big news from Nielsen’s latest magazine readership data is that ACP’s Woman’s Day has finally taken over from New Zealand Woman’s Weekly (NZWW) as “the number one magazine in every way”, with higher readership and circulation figures than its long-standing arch-rival.

Woman’s Day clocked in with 784,000 readers, 1,000 more than NZWW, which dropped 45,000 readers (although ACP points out in its release it has 22,000 more female readers). And ACP’s commercial director Paul Gardiner says it’s a historic day for the company, as it’s the first time in well over 20 years that it’s been ahead on both fronts.

The interesting thing about this particular battle is that while Woman’s Day sells about 105,000 copies an issue compared to NZWW’s 73547, its readership has always been lower. Gardiner says there have been plenty of theories as to why this was the case, chief among them brand confusion with Australian Women’s Weekly and English Woman’s Weekly and the fact that NZWW has been around since the mid-’30s so is better known. But he feels justice is now being done and ACP is out in the market making the most of the victory now.

The poaching of NZ Magazine’s editorial staff seems to have paid dividends for ACP, but NZWW’big rejig in June hasn’t paid off yet, despite Sarah Sandley’s confidence that “the end result will be an increase in circulation, readership and advertising share”.

Despite the loss to Woman’s Day, an APN release said NZWW had “retained its position as the leading mass weekly publication in metropolitan centres, delivering 13,000 more readers in these influential areas.

“Recent circulation growth experienced for The Weekly has been reflected with an increase in the number of primary readers engaging with it each week, up by four percent on last year. And more New Zealanders are now connecting with The Weekly online, with unique browsers growing by 61 percent year on year.”

As for the top performers, Healthy Food Guide continued its impressive run with 36,000 more readers than last year, while New Zealand Geographic added 43,000 readers, Rip It Up added 18,000 and The Foodtown magazine added 43,000. ACP’s Lucky Break was up 18 percent, Kia Ora was up 16 percent to 299,000 readers, Recipes+  and Taste were both up 18,000 readers.

On the other side of Nielsen’s ‘significant’ equation, North & South was down 26,000 readers on last year, Reader’s Digest was down 33,000, and Home NZ, NZ Performance Car and NZ Autocar were all down 22,000 (Parkside Media’s founding title, NZ Classic Car, which rolled off the presses 20 years ago, clocked a slight increase to 155,000, making it the third most read automotive publication in the country and overtaking NZ Autocar for the first time).

Aside from Hunting and Fishing NZ, which added 13,000 readers, it wasn’t a particularly good survey for the fisherfolk: NZ Fishing World was down 34,00, Fish and Game NZ was down 23,000, and NZ Fishing News was down 22,000.

Deals on Wheels, Computer World, FHM, TV Guide and Girlfriend also had significant decreases.

While there’s been plenty of excitement about the Nielsen CMI data, it’s still not complete. Top line data has been released, but the data for individual publications is not fully formed, something Gardiner puts down to the fact that it’s very complicated and is taking longer than expected to compile.

  • Newspaper figures will be announced on Monday.

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