The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) released its quarterly report this week and Gordon Patterson, group MD of the Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) and vice-chair of the ABC’s took a look at the numbers and the health of the print industry.
Times remain tough and current GDP projections indicate that the print industry will achieve a 2.5% GDP growth albeit that CPI inflation is just over 6%. “There is no doubt that while some titles continue to grow, overall the general poor health of the economy and cost cutting measures by publishers will increasingly shape the print landscape,” Patterson said.
“It would seem that for many titles, the goal today is to have circulation revenues rising rather than just circulation numbers rising. We’ve seen this locally as incentivised sales/deal driven circulation has been slowly removed from title performance.”
He reiterated that all publishers are in for tough times as consumers will be more selective when it comes to spending their money – and advertisers want to partner with products that innovate and show positive growth.
Key takeouts from Patterson’s presentation to the ABC:
- The daily newspaper category continues to decline with several sharp drops in total circulation. Vernacular circulation growth continues its upward trend and weeklies have posted a solid growth.
- Local newspapers, while down overall, have several titles that reflect strong growth including The Tembisan.
- Free newspapers are stable overall, with the exception being the “startling growth” of the Zululand Eyethu, up 303%.
- While overall consumer magazine circulation is down sharply, there is strong growth from titles such as Kuier – up 67%; Tuis – up 35%; Kick-off - up 34%; and Living and Loving – up 33%; while Playboy dropped 64%.
- Overall, business-to-business titles dropped slightly.
- The custom category grew marginally overall, although several postings reflected strong growth, including the JSE Annual (+101%); Mercedes-Benz Annual (+72%); and Foschini Sport (+68%).
In terms of Media Inflation for January to June 2012, MIW inflation remained stable at 10.4%, while print rate inflation is stable at just under 5.5% and circulation declines have pushed MIW inflation to just under 12%.
All categories of print have improved their MIW inflation, with the exception of community (local) newspapers which increased as a result of a slight decrease in category circulation. Daily press leads the print MIW table with 15.6%.