Digital replicas still just a tiny sliver of U.S. magazine industry

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) on Tuesday released its first digital-replica magazine sales figures amongst U.S. and Canadian magazine circulation figures for the first half of 2012. The ABC’s data covers over 500 magazines. Here are the highlights:


  • Paid subscriptions (up 1.1 percent) and total paid and verified circulation (down 0.1 percent) are basically unchanged since the first half of 2011.
  • But single-copy sales are down 9.6 percent.


  • Digital replicas (which essentially replicate the editorial and advertising content of the print edition — here are the guidelines) make up just 1.7 percent of total circulation. That’s up from less than one percent last year.
  • Readers are downloading more digital editions — half of audited titles (258) reported over 5.4 million digital replica editions sold in the first half of this year. Last year, 232 magazines had reported two million digital replica sales.

ABC spokeswoman Susan Kantor says magazines won’t report non-replica digital editions (ie. apps) for another couple of weeks, but those are unlikely to move the needle:

“In the last period, only a handful of publications reported non-replica, so we’d estimate the figures wouldn’t vary that much.”

Top 15 magazines by digital replica circulation

  1. Game Informer Magazine (GameStop): 1,218,634
  2. Maxim (Dennis Alpha Media Group) 284,824
  3. Cosmopolitan (Hearst): 185,673
  4. Poder Hispanic (Televisa Publishing): 170,868
  5. National Geographic (National Geographic): 134,656
  6. Popular Science (Bonnier): 93,037
  7. O, the Oprah Magazine (Hearst): 81,259
  8. ESPN the Magazine (ESPN): 76,600
  9. Nylon (Jaclynn B. Jarrett): 75,600
  10. Parenting (Time Inc. Bonnier): 74,790
  11. Wired (Condé Nast): 68,776
  12. GQ (Condé Nast): 60,031
  13. Men’s Health (Rodale): 59,536
  14. Women’s Health (Rodale) :51,403
  15. Electronic House (EH Publishing): 50,098