LONDON: The circulation of digital magazine editions rose by 26% in the year to June 2014, helped by growing sales of tablets, but they remain a very small proportion of overall sales.
The latest circulation figures published by ABC show that 44% of all audited magazine titles now have digital editions and while sales are growing, the rate of growth has more than halved, partly because of a slowdown in the rate at which publishers are introducing digital editions.
Nonetheless, Barry McIlheney, CEO of the Professional Publishers Association described the increase as "encouraging" and reminded observers that the ABC report "does not include the increasing number of other ways – websites, live events, social media etc – in which the magazine brands of today engage directly with their consumers".
Marketing Week noted that digital sales now made up just 2.9% of total magazine circulation and that print circulation figures were falling faster than a year ago, at 3.8% compared to 1.9% in 2012-13; digital sales were not offsetting this decline.
The scale of the figures involved is apparent when considering that the greatest increase in digital sales came at current affairs magazine The Economist, up 72% to 21,780, within an overall average circulation figure of 223,730.
McIlheney suggested that a growing demand for digital content was putting pressure on print magazines in some markets but argued that there was a "continued robustness of print for certain brands, in certain markets, and among certain demographics".
Modern magazine brands, he said, were extending their cross-platform audience reach and growing their influence as a key platform for advertisers. And he expected that the launch of a consumer magazine media marketing agency later this year would further those trends.
Data sourced from PPA, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff