Is This the Newsstand Plateau?

newsstand2Recent industry figures show newsstand declines slowing this year; are we about to level off?

Seems like the print magazine industry may be catching its collective breath a little bit, as it settles into the new normal and sees newsstand sales level out a bit.

“North American publishers sold 101.6 million magazines on newsstands in the first quarter of 2016, which yielded a 5.1 percent drop-off in overall revenue compared to the same period last year, according to MagNet’s quarterly sales report, released today,” writes Greg Dool in Folio:.

“That 5.1 percent dip in revenue is a marked improvement from the 7.6 percent year-over-year decline observed in the fourth quarter of 2015, and MagNet notes that the cumulative two-quarter decline of 6.3 percent is noticeably rosier than the double-digit downturns observed over the past two years,” Dool continues.

It’s interesting to note that celebrity mags and women’s titles showed the highest declines at 11.5% and 13.4%, (tied to the plethora of digital content on these topics perhaps?) while general interest magazines are achieving “something of a comeback, up 14.2 percent in revenue and 17.6 percent in the number of units sold, year-over-year,” Dool reports. Science magazines are also up by 9.4% this quarter.

Of course, newsstand sales aren’t the only indication of magazine health, as that distribution model has been afflicted with upheaval the past few years. Publishers, especially of niche and specialty titles, are finding creative distribution solutions that bypass the old model, using digital channels to connect with their fan base.

Still, we’ll take the good news for what it is. And if the newsstand model is showing signs of a rebirth, we certainly applaud and support it. Consumers are still interested in print magazines and are happy to pay, in many cases, higher prices for good content.