RI-RI TO THE RESCUE: There’s a clear answer for magazine editors desperate to grow their newsstand sales: call Rihanna.
The singer was the winner in the cover star stakes in the all-important month of March, helping Harper’s Bazaar register a 0.8 percent increase in newsstand sales to 120,000 copies. That might not seem a lot, but Bazaar was bested only by its Hearst Magazines stablemate Town & Country, whose cover of actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw helped it boost newsstand sales by 25.3 percent to 43,500 copies, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
After that, the March newsstand was pretty much a bloodbath, continuing publishers’ ongoing struggles and the reason many editors (and the Magazine Publishers Association) have changed their tunes in recent years and begun insisting that newsstand sales aren’t a true measure of a title’s strength in the days of digital replicas and so on.
People StyleWatch logged a 6.3 percent decline in March newsstand sales to 254,000 with its Kate Hudson cover. From there on, things got even uglier, with magazines recording double-digit falls.
Taylor Swift and her BFF Karlie Kloss couldn’t outdo Rihanna for Vogue. The much-ballyhooed Swift/Kloss cover sold 11.2 percent fewer copies in March, at 230,925 copies, than Ri-Ri’s March 2014 cover. Meanwhile, Condé Nast sibling title GQ registered an 11.7 percent dip to 111,515 for its March NBA-themed issue featuring three different covers of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love. W sold 27,186 copies, marking a 12.1 percent drop with its Scarlett Johansson cover, while Hearst’s Esquire magazine had a 12.3 percent decline with 76,000 copies for its Will Smith cover.
InStyle logged a 16 percent drop to 352,800 copies for its Kerry Washington cover, while Glamour registered a 20.2 percent decrease to 251,957 copies with a cover featuring “Fifty Shades of Grey” stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Vanity Fair experienced a 20.5 percent dip, to 214,553 copies sold, for its 21st annual Hollywood issue with a fold out cover shot by Annie Leibovitz, featuring a handful of emerging stars such as Miles Teller, Benedict Cumberbatch and Felicity Jones. On the front cover, potential newsstand customers would encounter the well-known trio of Amy Adams, Channing Tatum and Reese Witherspoon.
Hearst sister magazines Marie Claire (Margot Robbie, 117,000 copies), Cosmopolitan (Gwen Stefani, 557,500 copies) and Elle (Katy Perry, 142,500 copies) logged respective declines of 20.4 percent, 23.6 percent and 24.9 percent.
Condé Nast’s Teen Vogue had newsstand sales of 63,061, a 25.2 percent decrease, with its Gigi Hadid and Binx Walton cover, while sibling men’s magazine Details saw sales fall 33.7 percent to 28,521 with Ansel Elgort on its cover.
Lupita Nyong’o didn’t help Lucky, which saw its newsstand sales plummet 47.2 percent to 52,893. But in even worse shape was teen glossy Seventeen, which registered a 53 percent dip in newsstand sales to 93,000 for its cover featuring Meghan Trainor.