According to the latest FAS-FAX from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), Popular Science experienced a 10.2 percent drop in subscriptions in the first six months of 2006 compared to the same period of 2005, with overall circulation sinking 8 percent. Field & Stream fared somewhat better, with overall circulation holding steady, but newsstand sales saw a 7.9 percent drop in the same report. Outdoor Life turned in a similar performance, with subscriptions basically even and newsstand sales down 10.6 percent. And Parenting did worst of all, with a 6.1 percent drop in subscriptions and a 25.8 percent drop in newsstand sales.
Data on ad pages and revenue was equally damning. According to figures from the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) comparing the first eight months of 2006 and the same period last year, Popular Science's ad pages fell 8.3 percent while revenue fell 11.2 percent. In the same period Field & Stream's ad pages were down 18.5 percent--while revenue was down 14.1 percent, and Outdoor Life's pages fell 13.7 percent, with a 4.7 percent drop in revenue. Mirroring its ABC figures, Parenting posted an alarming 16.5 drop in ad pages and an 11.3 drop in revenue.
At the same time, Time Inc. is also getting rid of a number of magazines targeting niche audiences, like its Marine Group, with a stable of titles including Yachting, MotorBoating, and SaltWater Sportsman, and TransWorld Media, publisher of TW Skateboarding, TW Snowboarding, TW Surf, TW Motocross, Ride BMX, and Quad. The alpine division, represented by Mountain Sports Media, is also out--taking with it Ski, Skiing, and Warren Miller Entertainment.
Samir Husni, the magazine commentator from the University of Mississippi, was quoted as saying that the proposed sale or auction is "huge": "Time is saying they think there's a future for the big general interest magazine, but also predicting the demise of special interest titles that are not extremely specialized. They're betting all the money on the old stable: Time, People--the ones with real mass audiences."