Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CIRCULATOR: Capell Celebrates 25 Years of CCR

CIRCULATOR: Capell Celebrates 25 Years of CCR
By Kristina Joukhadar

The December 2007 issue of Capell's Circulation Report is Vol. 26, No. 20, representing 500 issues and more than 6,000 pages published. Way to go, Dan!

As part of the 25th Anniversary Issue, Capell shares some highlights from the past:

"In 1982," writes Capell, Good Housekeeping (with an 80.8 percent newsstand sell-through rate), Family Circle (with 79.3 percent) and Woman's Day (at 75.7 percent) "were among the leaders in newsstand percent sale efficiency. Their efficiencies now hover in the 30 to 35 percent range."

"25 years ago, for magazines making a rate base claim, almost 60 percent missed their rate base. . . Now only about 20 percent miss their rate base, but more titles are not making a specific rate base claim (well over 50 percent of ABC membership)."

"Back in 1986," Capell writes, "Publishers Clearing House and American Family Publishers delivered over 25 percent of all industry new subscription sales." By 1995, their volumes were off 70 percent. Now, AFP is gone, along with other direct mail agents like Magazine Buyers Service, United Subscription Service, Magazine Marketplace, Great American Magazines. Worldwide and Perfect School Plan are also defunct.

And then the kicker: "In the very first issue of CCR, after analyzing the Seven Sister magazine category, we reached the following conclusion: 'The Seven Sisters represent a classic case history of the proverbial publishing treadmill. As ad pages increase, management pushes circulation well beyond its natural level.

'Then as ad page growth inevitably levels off, publishers are left with high circulation acquisition and maintenance costs no longer justified by ad revenues that are static at best. Magazine profits begin to slip. Circ directors are put in a no-win situation, as they are pressed to deliver inflated circ levels at ever increasing subscription and newsstand prices.'"
Adds Capell, "Twenty-five years later, the problem is still the same!"


CIRCULATOR: Postal Rates Affecting Volume
By Kristina Joukhadar

The Postal Service released volume data for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2007 (July through September), and the numbers represent the first quarter to reflect the rate increase. According to David Straus of Thompson Coburn, legal counsel to the ABM, "It is not a pretty picture."

Here are some of the main data points:

* Regular rate periodicals volume is down 2.5 percent from the same period last year, and within that category, classroom publications volume dropped 11.8 percent vs. the fourth quarter of last year;

* Standard mail flat volume is down 9.1 percent, with non-profit enhanced carrier route flat volume down by a staggering 21.5 percent.

* First-class flats are down 12.1 percent.

Straus reports that because the new Flats Sequencing System will soon be deployed, if flat volumes continue to decrease, the cost per piece for the Postal Service will go up. He adds, "I think that we will see such continuing declines, especially in Standard mail, as direct marketers modify their mail shape and programs in response to the significant change in rate design that adversely affects flats."

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