The Alliance for Audited Media released a new report earlier this week on US digital magazine subscriptions. While digital subscription still only make up a tiny percentage of total subscription in the first half of 2013, the number of subscriptions are growing at an impressive clip.
The full report is only available to AAM members, but the blog post that announced the report did include details worth reading.
The AAM reported that AAM members distributed 10.2 million digital replica editions in the first 6 months of 2013. This only accounted for 3.3% of the total circulation for that period, a rather low figure compared to the successful ebook market, but this is still good news.
Those 10.2 million copies represent almost twice the digital copies. During that period 5.4 million digital editions were distributed and accounted for about 1.7% of total circulation. This is a growth rate of 89%, a not unimpressive figure.
Digital magazine circulation rates have never lived up to the hype of the early iPad era, a time when selling digital content on Apple's new tablet was expected to be the savior of magazines and newspapers. It still hasn't managed to live up to the hype 3 years later, and as I look at the data for the past 18 months I think that might be about to change,
Here are the 25 US magazines with the highest digital circulation figures for the past 6 months.
- GAME INFORMER MAGAZINE 2,974,512 (1.2 million in first half of 2012)
- READER'S DIGEST 292,285 (44,904)
- COSMOPOLITAN 246,815 (185,673)
- TASTE OF HOME 215,658
- MAXIM 211,429 (284,824)
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 180,288 (134,656)
- WORKING MOTHER 163,539
- PODER HISPANIC 137,717 (170,868)
- OK! WEEKLY 135,709 (48,739)
- STAR MAGAZINE 117,554
- MEN'S HEALTH 109,935 (59,536)
- WIRED 102,450 (68,776)
- ESPN THE MAGAZINE 101,325 (75,600)
- POPULAR SCIENCE 100,470 (93,037)
- O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE 99,412 (81,259)
- GQ-GENTLEMEN'S QUARTERLY 99,185 (60,031)
- US WEEKLY 92,600 (61,106)
- PARENTING 92,348 (74,790)
- FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE 91,491 (44,717)
- NYLON 79,616 (75,184)
- NEW YORKER 78,511 (44,439)
- VANITY FAIR 75,293
- MARTHA STEWART LIVING 73,733 (48,098)
- WEBMD MAGAZINE 73,568
- PEOPLE 73,181
Game Informer, the in-house magazine for the Gamestop retail chain, maintained its solid lead. That publication reported 2.9 million copies circulated (up from 1.2 million in the first half of 2012), meaning that it accounted for over 25% of all the digital magazine circulation reported to AAM.
As you can see from the list, most of these publishers are showing significant increases in subscriptions. That is probably a sign that they have figured out what readers want and how to give it to them. Growth in the circulation rate was fairly consistent across the top 25 titles, with some magazines gaining so many new digital subscribers that they displaced titles that were less successful.