Wednesday, February 29, 2012
MagNet, the U.S.-based data provider, has just released their findings from wholesalers' records both in the U.S. and Canada.

The numbers are sobering, with one quite notable Canadian exception!

Click on the charts to enlarge them!

On the first chart, take note of the incredible results turned in by Rogers Publishing… up 14.4%… a praiseworthy accomplishment amidst a lot of red ink.  

Not only is it one of the few bright spots, it is a huge increase at a time when so many others are posting equally large negatives.

The second chart looks pretty grim, showing sales by retail class of trade, combining U.S. and Canada.

The third chart shows that Canada is doing better than the U.S., although sales are still down.  If your sales are flat, or up, you should feel pretty good, given current market conditions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
In the U.S., the celebirty category is suffering a slide in newsstand sales. Here in Canada, it looks like our most celebrated stars are selling quite nicely, thank you very much.

The category had so many great covers, it was hard to limit myself to just two choices. You can vote on your fave cover below by clicking here.

The launch of SportsNet magazine was arguably the biggest newsstand story of 2011… a very gutsy move. So we tip our cap to Sportsnet for giving us this cover, which played to our national pride, in repatriating the Jets to Winnipeg.  The cover debuted on October 17, 2011.

The Hockey News published this fabulous Draft Preview Special.  It sold 15 percent better than the prior year’s edition. Plus efficiency improved by 5 pts.

The Hockey News also published the Best Players of All Time Special (see original prediction from Cover of the Week  

This issue is the best-selling SIP ever published by The Hockey News, and outsold last year’s special in this same time slot by 39 percent. Plus, the sell-through improved by 15 pts. An incredible result. Great One indeed.

And while there is no way of knowing how The Year In Sports SIP from SportsNet (it went on sale in December of 2011, at a $9.95 cover price) will pan out, I certainly love the cover treatmeant, and predict that it will score magnificantly as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
This link provides a rare insight into how covers are developed at Newsweek magazine, by the legendary editor, Tina Brown.  It is both entertaining and enlightening.

As you might expect, the magazine goes to great lengths to come up with cover images that will help sell copies.  Anywhere from 10 to 20 conceptual cover treatments are produced every week, in order to find the one gem that might work.  In addition to the volume of options, what is also curious is just how radically different the options can be, from photos, to illustrations, from type heavy, to positively shocking.

“Every week we produce anywhere from 10-20 different cover ideas until we settle on what works best or as the story develops, so at the end of each week we wind up with a proverbial wastebasket full of scrapped concepts,” creative director Dirk Barnett writes. “The week’s cover, ‘The Politics of Sex,’ is a perfect example to kick this off.”

Here is the cover that they went with:

And here are a few of the more radical ideas that were rejected:

Vote on a cover here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The December 2011 ABC FasFax report is out, and the statistics don’t look good for U.S. Magazines at the newsstand.

According to an article in Audience Development…

…single copy sales were down 10% compared to the same period last year.  Some of the more notable declines featured in this link include:

  • Oprah…down 32%
  • Taste of Home… down 29%
  • Martha Stewart Living…down 17%
  • Fortune…down 17%
  • Economist…down 13%

A quick scan of the Fas Fax Report also reveals a staggering list of losses for many top U.S. brands (stop reading now if you are easily horrified):

  • American Photo -33%
  • Better Hones & Gardens  -12%
  • Boston -22%
  • Brides -26%
  • Chicago  -19%
  • Cosmoploitan -7%
  • Discover -20%
  • Ebony -18%
  • Elle -18%
  • ESPN -39%
  • Esquire -17%
  • Field & Stream -8%
  • Fine Cooking -14%
  • Fine Gardening -5%
  • Fine Woodworking -17%
  • Fly Fisherman -21%
  • Four Wheeler -7%
  • Glamour -10%
  • Golf Digest -11%
  • Good Housekeeping -15%
  • GQ -14%
  • Harper’s -28%
  • In Style -14%
  • More -18%
  • OK -28%
  • Parenting -19%
  • Parents -18%
  • Philadelphia -15%
  • Redbook -20%
  • Road & Track -16%
  • RollingStone -18%
  • Sail -21%
  • Saling World -19%
  • Scientific American -16%
  • Shape -30%
  • Ski -29%
  • Sky & Telescope  -13%
  • Texas Monthly -12%
  • US Weekly -10%
  • Vanity Fair -20%
  • Wired -31%

Here in Canada, the news is more positive. Overall, single copy sales are down a smidge over 4% on ABC-audited titles…much better than the average 10% loss reported in the U.S.

Notable Canadian brands posting significant gains include:

  • BC Outdoors Sport Fishing +43%
  • Bel Age +30%
  • Best Health +21%
  • Canada’s History +11%
  • Chatelaine +32%
  • Cool +21%
  • Elle Canada +38%
  • Flare +13%
  • Hockey News +4%
  • L’Actualite +47%
  • Lou Lou +15%
  • Maclean’s +77%
  • Our Canada +13%
  • Today’s Parent +6%

On the flip side some notable brands posting declining newsstand sales included:

  • 7 Jours -22%
  • Canadian Art -33%
  • Canadian Business -22%
  • Canadian Gardening -16%
  • Canadian Geographic -27%
  • Chez Soi -38%
  • Clin D’Oeil -37%
  • Fashion -14%
  • Les Idees De Ma Maison -26%
  • Le Lundi -18%
  • Les Affaires -15%
  • Moi & Cie -15%
  • Money Sense -31%
  • More -23%
  • Pacific Yachting -14%
  • Renovation Bricolage -18%
  • Toronto Life -16%

Keep in mind that many magazines, both here and in the U.S., did post gains with SIP’s, which helps offset some of these numbers.  Also, some titles had outstanding sales in the same period of the prior year, which makes it tougher to repeat.

Friday, February 10, 2012
The March 2012 cover of Zoomer is a major departure from their more traditional “celebrity” focused formula.

Marisa Latini, circulation director, says, “The subject of our March issue cover is a departure for us, be we think well worth the risk. Since the beginning we have always shown a ‘Zoomer’ on our cover, either a man or woman. For this issue, our 3rd annual money issue, we decided to push our theme in a direct way with this bold cover treatment.  Also new for the issue is the fact that that there are three consecutive covers. Each features a beautful coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.”

I love it when publishers have the courage to test a new approach.  The timing couldn’t be better, with the Fed now floating trial balloons about changes to Old Age Security. 

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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