HEARST HIT HARD: Newsstand sales for magazines fell 11 percent in 2014, but those losses have slowed, as the supply chain has begun to stabilize, according to recent data released by MagNet. Major publishers such as Hearst, Condé Nast and Wenner suffered double-digit declines in sales, as they slashed their newsstand print orders and upped their low price subscription offerings to drive circulation.
MagNet said that in the fourth quarter, newsstand sales “recovered somewhat,” following the closure of Source Interlink Distribution at the end of May, which impacted the business in the second and third quarters of the year. The third quarter bore the brunt of the damage, as sales slid 19.1 percent.
The research firm said service disruption is just now approaching a full recovery, and that if Source Interlink hadn’t shuttered, newsstand sales would have decreased 7 percent, not the 11 percent they actually fell in 2014.
The firm also noted that as part of the Source Interlink closure, major publishers printed 16.7 percent fewer magazines in 2014. This impacted the fourth quarter, bringing sales down 9 percent.
Publishers such as Time Inc. and American Media Inc. were harmed the least, with respective sales dips of 3.4 percent and 2.8 percent. This is due partially to the fact that cover price increases were implemented earlier in the year, the research firm said, noting that publishers less reliant on subscription sales outperformed the competition.
Publishers hit the hardest included Hearst with an 18.8 percent decrease, followed by Condé Nast (down 14.8 percent), Wenner Media (minus 13.7 percent), Rodale (minus 12.8 percent) and Meredith (minus 10 percent).
Supermarkets continued to be the place of choice to buy magazines. They scooped up 36.2 percent of newsstand market share, followed by supercenters with a 13.6 percent share, drugstores with an 11.6 percent share and bookstores with 10 percent.