Thursday, February 7, 2013

AAM releases year end 2012 circulation figures for Top 25 consumer magazines; more than 7.9 million 'digital replica editions' reported, 2.4% of total circulation

I really don't know what to make of the new circulation numbers being reported by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) and that may be precisely the point now, to make a mush of the circulation data. The problem lies in the organization's definition of "digital replica edition" which tries to define what a digital magazine is, and how it can be counted. As a result, some publishers are pushing hard to make sure they can show circulation gains by counting their digital editions, while others are designing their digital publications as separate products and are, therefore, outside the AAM rules. It's all a big game, isn't it?

In any case, the AAM is reporting for the total number of magazine titles reporting, 402, year-over-year circulation levels decreased 0.3 percent, mostly caused by single-copy sales, which fell 8.2 percent.

But the big number is that more than 7.9 million "digital replica editions" are now being reported, up over 46 percent from the 5.4 million reported just six months ago. This total does not even count the magazines not reporting into the AAM, or those that do not qualify as a digital replica, based on the AAM's rules.

(For those a bit outside the industry, one should not mistake the use of the term "digital replica" here for a PDF version of a print magazine. Here "digital replica" simply applies to any digital magazine with the same advertising (with the exception of fractional ads) and editorial content.)

Canadian publishers saw overall paid and verified circulation fall 3.5 percent in the 6-month reporting period, but single copy sales were down a smaller 1.2 percent.