Monday, September 29, 2014

Second thoughts about single copy sales comparisons

Last week, in reporting sudden editorial management changes at Canadian Living,a post here referred to the recent circulation data to suggest that the drop in single copy sales may have somehow contributed to the departure of editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds and art director Stephanie White: 
"There have been no reasons given for the departure of the CL editorial team, and no public announcement, but it may not be entirely coincidental that the most recent newsstand sales numbers declined by 13.9%, something vitally important for a title which places such emphasis on the checkout. (During the same period competitor Chatelaine saw single copy sales increase 17.6%.)"
However a friend who is knowledgeable about such things points out that the detailed audit data from the AAM tells a different story than the publicly available topline data. Newsstand sales, in other words, may have had nothing to do with these key departures at TC Media.

For instance, the figures show that, in a fair comparison, Canadian Living outsold Chatelaine 2:1 on the newsstand: 
  • Chatelaine had 117,883 single copy sales, of which 42,943 were single issue in-store sales, plus another 50,000 sponsored per issue (which means someone paid at least a penny a copy for these to be reported as paid.) And there were 24,940 reported as digital replicas, which could be someone opening up an issue on Next Issue. Chatelaine single issues went from 49,417 in June 2013 to 42,943 this year, a decline of 13%.
  • Canadian Living had 85,033 in single issue sales and 256 digital replicas, without such devices as sponsored circulation. It went from 98,950 in June 2013 to 85,033 this year, a decline of 14%.

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