Circulation rankings: New celeb titles rack up big gains at the newsstand

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Among the big winners in the just-released Audit Bureau of Circulations Fas-Fax report, which tracks magazine circulation for the first six months of 2004, are the new-entry celebrity magazines, such as Wenner Media's Us Weekly and Bauer Publications In Touch.

Us Weekly's newsstand sales shot up 47.3% to 745,887. In Touch's newsstand sales rose an astonishing 73.6% to 729,799. Time Inc.'s People fared well, with newsstand sales up 3.3% to 1.4 million. But American Media's Star continues to shed readers despite bringing in Us Weekly reinventor Bonnie Fuller. Its newsstand sales dropped 10.5% and overall circulation fell 6.3%. American Media's iconic National Enquirer, which is suffering through a long run of declines, also took a serious hit. Its newsstand sales dropped 17.4% and overall circulation fell 12.8%.

Still, thanks to the celeb mags, said John Harrington, publisher of New Single Copy newsletter, magazines' total newsstand sales fell just 0.3%: "That's the best performance in [about] eight years."

Among the losers: the leading lad titles. Its three big guns-Dennis Publishing's Maxim and Stuff and Emap's FHM-all posted significant newsstand sales declines.

FHM executives insisted its 7.1% newsstand decline is due to a delayed on-sale date of its February issue; ABC data did not contain issue-by-issue sales information. Maxim's newsstand sales fell 15.8%, but sibling title Stuff fared the worst. Newsstand sales fell 19.3%, and it failed to meet its rate base-the circulation guaranteed to advertisers.

Elsewhere, results at the likes of Hearst Magazines' Cosmopolitan and Conde Nast Publications' Glamour and Lucky suggest twentysomething women are back buying magazines. (They're Us Weekly's target audience, too.) Glamour reversed recent declines by pumping up newsstand sales 9.2% to 972,769, and shopping title Lucky showed no signs of heat loss via newsstand gains of 15.6%. Hearst's Cosmo saw its single-copy sales rise 7.6% to just over 2 million.

challenged

Traditional women's service magazines remained challenged on the newsstands-with the notable exception of Hearst's Good Housekeeping, which eked out a 1.2% gain. But Bauer's First for Women, often considered a low-cost take on women's service, saw its newsstand sales rise 16% to 1.4 million.

Hearst's Esquire and Conde Nast's GQ both turned in solid performances, with sales rising 13.9% and 23.8% respectively. Indie shelter title Dwell and indie urban-lad title King made noise, posting double-digit newsstand increases and overall gains of 30.3% and 52.2%.

Other titles that missed making rate base included World Publication's Saveur and Garden Design; Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.'s American Photo; Primedia's Motorcyclist; Taunton Press's Fine Cooking; and indies Delicious Living, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion and Vegetarian Times.

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