Thursday, August 23, 2012
Highlights from Glenn Morgan at PBAA Canada
PBAA hosted their 8th annual Canadian newsstand conference last week at the Old Mill.  One of the keynote speakers was Glenn Morgan, President & CEO, Coast to Coast. Glenn’s presentation…The State of the Canadian Market…deconstructed the recently released MagNet data, referenced his own annual BoxScore report, and looked at a grocery store report from the U.S., produced by Symphony IRI Group, a Chicago-based Market Research firm.

Given that the top line data from both MagNet and recently released ABC Fas Fax reports was rather negative, Glenn took a deeper dive into the data.  Some of his findings may surprise you.

Top Line MagNet Data

  • U.S. titles down 9.2% in units…8.1% dollars
  • Canadian titles down 6.5% in units…5.2% dollars

Isolating Check Out vs. Main Line

Since the majority of titles are not checkout titles, but reley on mainline displays for sales, this distinction is very important.  In 2011, checkout titles were down 7.8%, while mainline titles were down just 4%…a big difference.  Weekly titles at checkout played an even bigger role in the macro results, as they were down 8.3% in North America.

Weekly vs. Non Weekly

The negative trend for weekly titles has continued into the first half of 2012, with a 12.9% decline for weekly frequency titles, but just a 4.4% decline for non-weekly…and just a minor .8% decline in revenue for non weekly, thanks to a strong performance on price.

Canada vs. U.S.

Canadian magazines continue to outperform the U.S. titles, in a variety of ways. 

  • While the Canadian population is just 10% of the North American market, Canadian titles represent 14.7% of total single copy revenue and 12.7% of unit sales.  Better sales performance, and at higher prices!
  • It was also pointed out that MagNet does not capture all French Canadian newsstands sales, which means that Canada’s total single copy sales story is even more impressive
  • Of the 25 best sellers in Canada, 8 or 32% are Canadian produced
  • Average U.S. cover price $4.58 vs. Average Canadian cover price of $5.45
  • In 2011, U.S. produced titles were down 8% on Canada’s newsstands, while Canadian produced titles were down just 2.4%

Canadian English Language Titles

Of the magazines sold on Canadian newsstands, Canadian domestically produced English language titles now account for 15.8% of the total.  This number continues to improve.  It was 15% in 2010, and 13.2% in 2009. This trend is encoraging for our domestic industry.

Hello! magazine was highlighted as the #1 Canadian producer, and #2 overall in Canada, trailing only the venerable People Weekly powerhouse….impressive.

Keeping it Real

Glenn ended his presentation by placing single copy sales in the context of other categories of products that are sold in grocery stores.  Using market research from a Chicago-based Market Research firm, Glenn pointed out that 206 of 260 categories measured (or nearly 80% of all categories measured) experienced declining sales.  His point being, that with economic conditions being less than robust, particularly in the U.S., that magazines are not the only products that are “challenged.”  For example:

  1. Auto Fluids…down 22.8%
  2. Fire Logs/Wood/Starter…down 18.3%
  3. Milk Flavoring/Coco Mixes…down 15.3%
  4. Cough Syrup…down 15.3%
  5. Frozen Juices down 14.6%
  6. Baby Formula down 10%
  7. Diapers down 9.5%
  8. Vegtables down 8.2%
  9. Frozen Dinners down 6.4%
  10. Soup down 6%
  11. Milk down 5.3%

While the challenges faced by weekly titles, and the pressure this puts on wholesalers and retailers, is real, and not to be discounted, Glenn’s point is that magazines “are not alone” in facing sales challenges in a time of economic uncertainity.  Certainly no one in the media is saying that vegatables, juice and milk are doomed.

- Scott Bullock
About Me
Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is the the creator of Bullock has worked as circulation director for both consumer and B2B magazines including Toronto Life and FASHION. If you have a great cover to share, please send all submissions to 

Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.
Most Recent Blog Comment
Kelly says:
Any news on how it performed on newsstands?...
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