Growing significance of digital media reflected in latest magazine buying statistics

PushON | February 20th 2012

Official sales figures for the magazine publishing industry have, for the first time, listed results for the purchase of digital versions of printed titles.

The decision by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) to allow the publications of statistics from the sales of digital editions for the period covering July to December 2011, has led to some 72 titles submitting digital edition sales figures for this period.

The figures revealed that the top-selling digital edition for the second half of last year was Men’s Health, with an average monthly sale of 7,779. T3 secured second place with 7,327; whilst GQ proved the third-most popular at 5,731.

Some of the official figures may however, have been distorted by the inclusion of sales via Apple Newsstand in their average online circulation mix; since the latter service only came into operation in October.

The impact of digital media is likely to become even more apparent by mid-2012 when ABC will also include for the first time figures from online publications that are not simply digital replicas of printed titles.

An official statement from ABC said:

“For the next reporting period (Jan-June 2012) publishers will be able to present any digital publication they wish to…For these publications, there is no link required to any print edition.”

Although, on average, printed media still account for more than 80% of publishers’ incomes, the move by ABC to include digital editions is said by many to reflect the growing role digital media are likely to play in the future.