The latest lot of ABCs – or circulation figures – for men’s magazines landed today and overall they make pretty grim reading http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=48767&c=1# . The fall percentage-wise year on year (for the last six months of the year) is around 20% for most of the lifestyle titles and between 10-15% for the tech titles. The mag that bucks the trend is Wired, whose sales have actually risen ever so slightly.
On the surface this looks like very bad news, but to be fair 1, The decline of print has been coming sometime and some of the titles have actually been surprisingly resilient. 2, the figures do not include digital sales. Dennis and Future have notched up some impressive figures for iPad mag sales – for example Future typically sold 15,000 copies of its iPad and Zinio versions of T3 in the same period http://www.futureplc.com/2012/02/16/t3-unveils-industry-first-audited-interac…
If there is a beacon of hope it is the success of Four Four Two magazine which has actually risen slightly. This is mag that has succeeded by offering intelligent long-tail content of the type not really available online. There’s clearly a template there, whether it works in different sectors remains to be seen.
The next six monthly ABCs will be fascinating. The first six months of the year are usually more challenging for men’s magazines, especially for the tech titles. The very difficult economic climate certainly won’t help either. It’ll also be interesting to see if the digital editions continue to grow and whether they attract new readers or migrate print ones.
As for Loaded, FHM, Nuts et al, they are still massively strong brands and their production costs have fallen dramatically, so don’t write them off just yet.