Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between a winner and a loser. George Michael is the only guy we remember from Wham!, but is that really a good thing? Maybe the other guy is happier with his life knowing that no one will ever approach him in a grocery store and sing, “Wake me up, before you go-go!” to him.
The point is that it’s difficult to choose who came out the winner in that situation. This isn’t the case with magazines. There are numbers, and though the numbers can be skewed a bit, they’re generally a reliable indicator of a title’s health.
The New York Times reports that for weeklies, the big winners for the first half are Time, The Week and The New Yorker. Time increased its newsstand sales 16 percent from January through June, and saw its total circulation climb to about 3.4 million. That put it way ahead of the pack, because The Week posted just a two percent gain in overall circulation and The New Yorker’s single-copy sales jumped by only 1.2 percent. But they’re all still winners, and that’s a good thing.
Newsweek – despite attempting to post the oddest collection of covers ever – headed up the losers for weeklies.
The magazine lost five percent of its paid circulation, despite newsstand sales increasing by three percent. The other big loser was People, which saw its newsstand sales drop by 11 percent. Bloomberg Businessweek, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated maintained their paid circulations but all saw their single-copy sales drop.
The winners should feel good, but there is always more work to be done. The losers? Well, they should be worried, because declining numbers might lead to declining advertising dollars. Such is the harsh reality of magazines. As Michael and The Other Guy once told us, there’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.