CDS Global Analysis – ABC Subscription Highlights, Jul-Dec 2009
Despite the slow economic growth during 2009 the subscriptions market continued to show positive growth throughout the period, with a 0.7% year-on-year increase across all titles. In total, 53% of all publications saw an increase in their subscription levels during the year.
Even with some significant volume declines on major titles such as National Geographic Magazine, Candis and Readers Digest the subscriptions market has remained at a level of constant growth.
Share of Total Sales
Subscription volumes as a percentage of total sales were again led by Money Week and Readers Digest with 94.6% and 91.8% share respectively. Figures exclude subscription-only titles such as Candis and Saga magazine.
Subscription Highs and Lows
The trend for staying in has continued, with every single TV listings title showing an increase in overall subscriptions. TV Listings was the second strongest sector performer in 2009 with overall growth of 17.4%, only surpassed by an overall growth in Teenage Magazines of 18.5%. The Cookery and Kitchen sub-sector also showed a healthy 5.7% increase, indicating that although we may be staying in we dont need to go to a restaurant to eat well!
The sector showing the greatest decline was General Interest. Despite showing good performance overall, the reported figures were pulled down by some of the larger titles such as Readers Digest, showing a 20% loss in subscription levels and Saga Magazine showing a loss of almost 3%. Figures seem to indicate a decline in subscriptions for the older generation, perhaps in-line with an increasing retirement age.
The Youth sector continued to maintain strong subscription volumes, with every youth football title reporting in excess of 50% growth and Match of the Day magazine growing its subscriptions by a phenomenal 91% year-on-year.
The Sports sector continued to shine with a 4.5% growth overall and the Cycling sub-sector performing particularly well, showing an 84% growth in total year-on-year.
The Mens Lifestyle sector remained static overall, however weekly titles performed badly with all titles showing a decline in excess of 10%. Monthly titles performed much better overall.
Celebrity magazines bucked the weekly vs. monthly trend, showing a 15.9% increase, year-on-year predominantly through Hello!, Grazia and Look.
The most drastic changes in Publisher statistics were reported in single-title companies, including Hello! Ltd with a 144% increase and Oldie Publications Ltd with 18%. Of the larger multi-title Publishers BBC Worldwide saw the largest volume increase at 6.6% across all titles. Cond Nast experienced one of the worst performances with subscription levels declining by 5.1%.
And the Future…
Despite an increasingly technology-savvy younger generation, figures indicate this is still the strongest growth area for printed magazine subscriptions. And even with the poor economic climate, investment in subscriptions appears to have been maintained or in some cases increased.
The future looks exceedingly bright for subscription levels, with growth continuing into 2010 and beyond!
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