Latest Readership Figures Show Sharp Declines for Luxury Glossies
The release of the latest figures from the National Readership Survey, for January to December 2011, didn't come as welcome news to the publishers of some of the UK's most upmarket women's glossies.Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Tatler all saw marked declines in the readership figures of -14%, -16% and -24% versus the same period in 2010. Worse still, the figures for their ABC1 readers fell even more steeply, by -16%, -18% and -26% respectively. The one shining light was Vogue, which continued to power on in the readership stakes, growing it's readership by +8% overall and by +4% amongst the ABC1 audience.These figures are particularly interesting because they contrast with the recently released circulation figures for these titles released by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation). These show all 4 titles largely flat or slightly up in terms of circulation year on year.This may be down to statistical inaccuracy - the NRS figures are based on interviews of 36,000 people, whereas ABCs are a count of every copy distributed. The smaller the circulation, the more likely mistakes will begin to creep into the NRS's figures. Or it could be that whilst core circulation is remaining strong for these titles, the number of readers per issue is declining as the audience beyond the core active purchasers have less desire to borrow a copy.It certainly serves to highlight the extent to which different magazines in the sector are passed on. For example, Vogue has a readership of 1.3m, more than 6 times it's circulation. Compare that to Harpers Bazaar, the number 2 circulating title in the sector, with less than 1.5 readers per edition.Across the rest of the magazine sector, the NRS figures largely reflect the trends we identified from the recent ABCs. Hence, the lad's mag sector shows sharp declines - of all Nuts, Zoo, FHM and Loaded are in readership freefall, with readers falling between -20 and -30% between 2010 and 2011. However, the fitness titles, Men's Health and Men's Fitness, are both holding up well in terms of readers - this despite showing circulation falls in the latest ABCs. And the more cerebral titles - GQ, Esquire, The Week and The Economist - are either holding their own or powering ahead, particularly the latter 2 titles.Some sectors of the gossip market seemed to have stemmed the falls too - Closer, OK and Hello only saw single figure %age drops in readers. However others - namely Heat, Now and Reveal - saw double figure %age drops continuing. And the home interest sector was a mixed bag but largely saw readership increases, with a few notable exceptions (an -8% year on year fall for House Beautiful).We've included a full list of results for January to December 2011 below.