SYDNEY: Newspapers and weekly magazines saw declining print circulations during the final quarter of 2012, according to latest ABC data.
The fall in newspaper circulations is the continuation of a long-term trend, but the rate of decline appears to be accelerating, B&T reports.
Titles such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age were among the worst affected, with a quarterly drop of between 14% and 15%.
But B&T's analysis of subscriber figures points to a glimmer of hope for the future, with The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald recording small increases in digital-only sales.
Overall, digital subscriptions and bundled print and digital subscriptions are starting to account for a larger proportion of publishers' circulations.
Among weekly magazines, every audited title lost circulation in Q4, with an average decline of 11.7%.
Nick Keenan, head of planning and implementation at MediaCom, the media agency, blamed economic conditions.
"We are still in a post GFC world where people are conscious about how much they spend," he told B&T. "The days of putting three or four magazines in your shopping trolley are over and consumers will buy one or two."
Robin Parkes, executive of the magazine Publishers Association, was more specific. "The weekly men's mags are driving the overall decline in this category in circulation," she said.
The picture in the monthly magazines sector was more mixed. While the circulation of mainstream women's titles dropped in the second half, that of lifestyle and fitness magazines grew.
Parkes noted the fragmentation in the category. "The young woman/fashion category has seen a lot of fragmentation into specific niches such as health, fashion, food, home and this means dilution in audience," she said.
The magazine sector is now starting to see a shake-out of titles. Bauer is closing Grazia, the fashion magazine, following a 24% drop in circulation in Q4 2012. It is also ending print production of Burke's Backyard, a gardening and lifestyle magazine, although the brand will continue in the form of a website and YouTube channel.
Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff