GameStop Magazine Growth Vaults It Past Better Homes & Gardens

Game Informer, a video-game publication owned by GameStop Corp., increased its paid circulation more than any other U.S. magazine in the past year by tying subscriptions to discounts with the retailer.

The monthly magazine’s circulation jumped 37 percent from a year earlier to 8.2 million copies as of June 30, pushing it past Better Homes & Gardens magazine to make it the third-largest magazine in the U.S., the Audit Bureau of Circulations said yesterday in a statement. Meredith Corp.’s Family Circle saw the second-largest increase in circulation among the top 25 magazines, at 7.4 percent.

GameStop, the world’s largest specialty video-game retailer, bucked declining industry circulation by offering Game Informer subscriptions tied to a loyalty card. The PowerUp Rewards Pro card, which provides discounts on games, normally costs $14.99 a year. It comes for free with a Game Informer subscription at the same price.

“That’s been the biggest driver for the increase in subscribers,” Michael Pachter, an analyst for Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities Inc., said in a phone interview. “All of a sudden people who actively use game players and shop at the store have an incentive to subscribe to the magazine.”

IPad Version

GameStop began heavily promoting the loyalty card in September, Pachter said. The company also has added versions of the magazine for Apple Inc.’s iPad and tablets running Google Inc.’s Android software.

Game Informer, which was first published in 1991, was acquired by Barnes & Noble Inc. in 2000 as part of its takeover of Funco Inc. Funco changed its name to GameStop and was spun off from Barnes & Noble in 2004.

“Game Informer’s growth in circulation reflects a culmination of the popularity of video games, Game Informer’s partnership with the successful GameStop PowerUp Rewards program, and last but not least, a high-in-quality 21-year publication that tries not to miss a beat,” Rob Borm, associate publisher at the magazine, said in an e-mail.

Industrywide magazine circulation, including paid subscriptions and newsstand sales, fell 0.1 percent, the Audit Bureau said. Newsstand sales dropped 10 percent in the period.

GameStop, based in Grapevine, Texas, jumped 5 percent to $16.81 yesterday in New York, the biggest one-day gain in more than a year. Shares of Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith rose 3.3 percent to $34.85, its largest increase in two months.

Game Informer trailed only the American Association of Retired Persons’ AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin in total circulation. Game Informer led in circulation for digital editions of magazines, with 1.2 million copies. That was up more than fivefold from a year earlier.

Articles in Game Informer’s September issue will include a feature on “Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel,” a title under development by Electronic Arts Inc., and a roundup of the top 30 games where players work together, according to the magazine’s website.

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