The latest NDD Distribution analysis opens by stating: "Many questions to ponder in the Australian Circulation Audit Report January to June 2009, as the market balances the impact of the Global Financial Crisis on consumer confidence with the success of some magazines, the natural consequences of category life cycles, fewer launches, and an above average number of non-auditing titles. The big circulation shrink has been averted with total audited numbers steadying in comparison to previous periods."
Economic forecasters suggest that the worst of the economic downturn sparked by the GFC has passed, although recovery will be gradual. GDP growth will be mostly flat during the second half of 2009, with signs of growth to return in 2010. However the Federal Government's $10.4 Billion stimulus has been embraced by consumers who are showing support for the local economy through household spending, which is good news for the magazine industry.
"Australia's publishing power houses accounted for 85.4 per cent (TCS) of the magazine market (June half-year and March and June quarters); ACP Magazines' 51.3 per cent continuing to dominate, Pacific Magazines registered 27.6 per cent share (TCS), while News Magazines' growth of 2 per cent TCS to 6.4 per cent share and 4.36 per cent lift in RSV was (not for) a highly commended outcome in a tough market.
Readership during the first half of 2009 saw a lot of titles maintain their readers from June 08 (Roy Morgan Readership). More titles saw their readership base contract rather than increase n most cases."
The NDD report continues, "Our perception of Australian audited circulation depends on our view of the world. The ‘glass half empty' theorists will emphasise the lack of real growth, the decline of 13 out of 15 interest categories, the lack of substantial launches and the number of titles exiting the Audit this period.
The ‘glass half full' protagonists will compare Australia's almost neutral overall result with the UK market's drop of 6 per cent (TCS), with the constant titles falling 8.7 per cent (TCS) YOY (Wessenden). And if that is not convincing enough, compare Australian TCS with a fall of 12 per cent in US sales of magazines at newsstands and grocery (Bloomberg)."
The report concluded by stating, "There remain many questions to consider in this complex market as consumers intuitively struggle with the concept of a savings culture - as everyone hopes for the GFC to miraculously disappear. How publishers are juggling their strategies to justify new launches is a conundrum, and in the meantime the retail channel craves for category continuity."
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