Men's Magazine ABCs January to June 2013

- The men’s category has now succumbed to the declines affecting the women’s market  with declines of 4% YoY & 3% PoP.- Men's Health has maintained its long-term position as the top paid-for men's despite its decline.- Nuts & Zoo are continuing to be the hardest hit losing at least a quarter of their readers.Mens_Magazine_ABCs_Jan_Jun_2013

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After the halt in the men’s market decline in Spring 2013 we thought things could be looking up for men’s magazines but yet again we are back to the bad news with a 4% decrease YoY, the highest for a couple of years now. It is no longer a shock to see titles receiving double digit declines, the advertising industry has come to expect it and see it as the norm.Men's Health has maintained its long-term position as the top paid-for men's magazine despite its decline. The health and fitness title, published by Hearst, posted a print circulation of 203,741 for the period of January to June 2013, a decline of 5.8 per cent year on year. Its rivals in the men's monthly lifestyle market also reported modest declines, holding up well in the tough climate.Unfortunately (or maybe not so) the lads mags Nuts & Zoo continue to suffer, dropping 34.8 per cent and 23.1 per cent respectively. The news of dramatic declines adds to recent troubles for the titles. It was recently announced that they will no longer be sold in The Co-operative shops after refusing to use modesty bags on their issues. They have however addressed their covers for Tesco by toning down the look and feel, whereby models are now in lingerie or bikinis only. There are non-salacious cover lines and more non-girl editorial. The industry feeling is that these magazines are suffering because younger readers, who have no loyalty to any publication, are obsessed with all things free, bolstering the freemium market. In contrast, older readers, the target audiences for GQ, Esquire & Men’s Health, are prepared to pay for quality.This former trend is most certainly one of the contributing factors to free magazines Shortlist and Sport remaining the two biggest-circulating titles overall, with their numbers virtually unchanged compared to the same period last year. Sport recently announced they are taking their distribution to the next level too as they have partnered with The London Evening Standard in an agreement which the publications will be distributed together every Thursday evening. The partnership, which will start at the beginning of September, will extend Sport's distribution into new areas including Canary Warf and the Square Mile but the magazine will still continue with its hand distribution on Friday mornings.As with the women’s market we have seen publishers beginning to sell the quality of the readership not the quantity as circulations continue to dwindle. This does come into question however when you see non-conventional cover stars on the magazine covers, such as GQ’s September issue featuring the ever so popular boy band One Direction. We very much doubt the loyalty and engagement levels of the purchasers of that particular issue and only time will tell of how much it helps to boost the GQ circulation in the Jul-Dec reports. It’s not only the circulation it will have affected though as the social media buzz around the issue has been crazy & as they say ‘All PR is good PR’ even if it is 15 year old girls threatening to hunt the GQ editorial team down and stab them in the eyeballs!The one saving grace for the men’s market is that they are the real drivers behind the move into digital. With the new combined digital and print figures we can see that Wired unsurprisingly are taking the market lead with 14% of their combined circulation attributed to digital. GQ, however has the largest digital edition circulation at 12,231 copies (10% of their circulation) with Men’s Health holding onto its coat tails at 12,018. However, here at Cream we are still a little disappointed with these - after the initial boom in digital circulations the increases are still minimal in terms of actual numbers. We also hoped for another boost after Christmas where a lot of tablet devices would have been received as gifts but this did not happen as we predicted.  What will be interesting to see is when Men’s Health take their digital edition interactive - as they sell over 12.000 copies of their flat digital edition, an interactive edition is bound to soar.Since the last ABC reports Nuts has introduced its own digital platform and has done surprisingly well in such a short space of time. With a print circulation of only 80,166 the digital circulation is 6,112 which equates to 7%. There is obviously a market for men who would like to keep their lad’s mag reading a little bit discrete - some have been outraged by the ‘no nipple’ policy Apple have enforced though.The one downside we currently see with digital editions is the lack of information we can take from it. With Apple holding the majority of the control on this they won’t share with us any of the important data to help advertisers in their media decisions. We want to know the dwell time on a page, the level of engagement, interactivity & interest in adverts displayed on tablet devices.  Hopefully this won’t be too far away as it is a great way for us to report on how print media can become more accountable.