Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green issues a tough sell for U.S. magazines

It's not easy being green (sorry, Kermit), at least for magazines. Recent "green" themed issues of various major U.S. magazines have not fared particularly well, according to a column by Jeff Bercovici in Portfolio magazine. (And the New York Times reported that advertisers are pulling back from green-themed marketing because there is a growing public scepticism.) Bercovici rounded up the following data:
  • Time's green logo-ed Earth Day issue sold only 72,000 single copies; a typical issue sells 93,000.
  • Elle's May green issue sold 275,000 copies, versus year-to-date average of 328,500.
  • Discover sold 86,000 newsstand copies, compared to an average 117,000
The only magazine that didn't take a bath on its green issue was Vanity Fair, [said the column] which reported 370,000 single copy sales for May, only a little below its year-to-date average of 375,666.
Of course, given that producing and distributing print magazines is a fairly non-green endeavor to begin with, selling fewer copies than usual could actually be an environmentally-friendly practice -- provided publishers anticipated the tepid consumer demand and adjusted their print runs accordingly.


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