Saturday, January 28, 2012

As magazines find other means, decline in subs mailing hurts Canada Post volumes

An analysis by MastheadOnline of ABC circulation figures shows that the volume of mailed subscriptions has declined 18% over five years (June 2006 - June 2011). The impact for Canada Post is obvious, but it is also a bellwether for the magazine industry , as alternative means of distribution -- more single copy sales, more bulk distribution and more piggybacking with newspapers -- have increased 3.1% over the same period, during which total circ per issue of ABC-monitored titles declined 10.7%. The data was reported to a Toronto chapter meeting of the National Association of Major Mail Users.
"If the ABC numbers are indicative of the entire industry, they suggest a couple of things," says MastheadOnline publisher Doug Bennet. "One, the higher-than-inflation price increases at Canada Post over that time may be a disincentive. Secondly, the changes in funding formulas introduced by the new Canada Periodical Fund may be having an affect."
The new rules of the Canada Periodical Fund allow single copy sales to count towards the funding formula, whereas its predecessor postal subsidy had left them out of consideration. As a result, publishers have an incentive to pump up single copy and other accepted circulation means, at the expense of mailing with Canada Post. 
  June 06 ABC June 11 ABC % Change
Total circ per issue 10,936,189 9,770,947 -10.7%
Total subscriptions 7,148,184 5,863,705 -18.0%
Total through other  3,788,005 3,907,242 3.1%

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