Lifestyle glossy print titles still possess comms appeal

Eighteen bridal magazines shut down in 2011, making it the hardest-hit glossy print category for the year.

In the news
Eighteen bridal magazines, including Get Married and the regional print editions of Condé Nast's Brides, shut down in 2011, according to Mediafinder.com, making it the hardest-hit glossy print category for the year.

Why does it matter?
Bridal magazines were once the envy of publishing due to the massive amount of ad pages they traditionally ran. Could the contraction in that space be a harbinger of things to come for all glossy lifestyle print titles?

Right now the answer seems to be no. Jerry Lynch, president of the International Periodical Distributors Association, says the recession has affected all magazines' sales, but closures such as those occurring in the bridal category are nothing new. "There were actually more magazines [in total] introduced last year than 2010," he adds.

David Renard, partner with consultancy mediaIDEAS, as well as author of The Last Magazine, says categories such as bridal magazines that are more dependent on newsstand sales than subscriptions may face challenges going forward, in part due to closures of many booksellers in recent years.

"Rack space is decreasing," he adds, emphasizing the cachet a strong newsstand presence can bring. "Advertisers often feel the presence on newsstands, sometimes more than subscribers, is a key indicator of a magazine's health."

And despite the big digital push by lifestyle titles, Lance Buckley, senior account director with Pierce Mattie Public Relations, says glossy print still matters to PR pros as these outlets always seek stories that can be turned into a catchy cover tagline that can draw a browsing newsstand customer.

"It also helps to have a celebrity," he adds. "Magazines want that well-known face to showcase on newsstands."

Key facts
1. Sales of US magazines at newsstands and other retail outlets fell 9% in the first half of 2011, according to a report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

2. The best 2011 cover subject for newsstands was the royal wedding, which MagNet estimated generated $13 million in individual copy retail sales.

3. 2011's top-selling consumer newsstand titles were Cosmopolitan, Woman's World, and People, ABC noted.

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