In a bewildering sea of statistics and infographics, it can be hard to understand the true state of the magazine publishing industry. Assumptions are flying on digital readership, based on the steadily increasing volume of e-readers and tablets in consumers’ hands. If they have the devices, they must be using them, right?
But hard evidence is what’s needed to truly get a handle on digital vs. print magazine circulation.
The recent Snapshot report from the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) should help clear the air, providing just those hard facts we all need.
But first, a little background — AAM (until 2012 known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide the data that publishers, advertisers and ad agencies need to make intelligent and accountable media purchasing decisions; information on circulation, subscription and digital readership among many other things. They are well-respected and generally considered non-biased in their research and reporting, and are looked to as a gold standard in media audits.
In other words, we can believe what comes out of the AAM as independently verified and reliable facts. And what we see in the AAM Snapshot report is nowhere near as dire as some might expect. Single-copy sales took the largest hit this year over last (down 10%), while paid subscriptions held basically steady, down only fractionally at 0.1%.
The big names in publishing remain solidly print-based with readership in the millions. And in spite of a reader base that is glutted with tablets and electronic readers, digital magazines comprise just 3.3% of overall magazine circulation.
We encourage you to take a look at the top-line data from AAM and decide for yourself. Print publishing is going strong.