According to associate publisher Peter Willson, a major breakthrough for Hello! came when the cover price was lowered from $4.95 to $2.99 last July. The price has been raised again, up to $3.49.
With gross newsstand revenues over $4.4 million in 2007, Hello! Canada catapulted to the top Canadian position on the Canadian Newsstand BoxScore, a ranking of newsstand sales for all magazines sold in Canada, compiled annually by Coast to Coast Newsstand Services Partnership. Climbing from 42nd to 12th place, Hello! surpassed Canadian Living as the top Canuck seller. The Rogers Publishing-owned celebrity weekly increased revenues by 67.7% and grew its unit sales by 75.8% in 2007.
The BoxScore once again demonstrates the challenge Canadian magazine publishers face from foreign competition on the newsstand. The top 11 magazines are all American-owned titles, mostly in the celebrity or tabloid categories, while just 11 of the top 100 performers are Canadian (not including Hustler Canada).
Time Inc.’s People easily held the top spot, despite a 13.2% decline in units sold. (With Canadian retail sales around $28.5 million, People’s Canadian newsstand revenue is greater than the total revenues of all but four Canadian titles.)
On a more positive note, the BoxScore serves as a corrective to some of the alarming numbers coming out of the recent fas-fax circulation report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. As we reported earlier, this year’s report was affected by changes made to the way ABC reports its data.
Take, for example, the St. Joseph Media shopping mag Wish. According to the ABC report, single-copy sales there were down 53% in 2007. This is because sponsored or bulk sales were, for the first time, not included in single-copy sales calculations. The BoxScore reveals that newsstand unit sales for Wish actually increased by 7.4% in 2007. The number for Canadian Family, another St. Joseph magazine and the biggest decliner according to the ABC report, is also worth mentioning: While ABC reported single copy sales down 75%, the BoxScore has newsstand unit sales up 85.3%.
Some more interesting bits of information gleaned from the data:
- While celebrity mags dominate the top portion of the list (8 of the top 15), 13 of the top 100 titles are in the women’s lifestyle category.
- Canadian Living, Canadian House & Home, Style at Home and Chatelaine all saw declines in both sales and revenues, but unit sales for Maclean’s were up 12.5% and revenues increased by 23.5%.
- Seven versions of Cosmo are sold on Canadian newsstands. Three of those (Cosmopolitan, Cosmo Girl and Cosmopolitan (UK Edition)) are among the top 100 sellers.
- The Dogs In Canada Annual earned more newsstand revenue in 2007 than PC World, Harper’s, Flare, Toronto Life, Esquire and Sports Illustrated.
- Elle outsold Elle Canada by 96,019 units over the year.
- National Geographic outsold Canadian Geographic by 156,328 units.
- Of the top 200 magazines, 16 are listed as part of the “sophisticates” (i.e. adult) category. Many of these titles are now apparently sold with a complimentary DVD.