Time Inc.’s Magazines Fall 11 Percent at the Newsstand

Time Inc., the largest magazine company in the U.S., lost 11 percent of its newsstand sales in the second half of last year as readers lost interest in two of the biggest U.S. publications.

People and Time were among the Time Warner Inc. unit’s titles with the biggest drops at the newsstand, based on an analysis of data released yesterday by the Alliance for Audited Media. Subscription sales rose 3 percent, helping boost total circulation 1 percent to 32.9 million.

Single-copy newsstand sales are an important measure of a magazine’s health and provide a snapshot of reader interest. Time Inc., which recently eliminated 6 percent of its workforce, has suffered ad and circulation declines affecting most titles. Chief Executive Officer Laura Lang has been working to merge print and Web advertising operations, aiming to reinvigorate what has become Time Warner’s worst-performing division.

While Time Inc.’s circulation growth was better than the industry, its single-copy sales were worse. U.S. magazines lost 0.3 percent in circulation in the second half of 2012, the AAM said yesterday, with newsstand sales falling 8.2 percent industrywide.

Time magazine fell 23.2 percent in single-copy sales, with total circulation little changed at 3.28 million. People magazine, the company’s most profitable title, dropped 12.2 percent at the newsstand while subscriptions gained 8.2 percent. People’s total circulation notched up 1.9 percent to 3.64 million.

Revenue Drop

Time Inc. reported a 7 percent drop in revenue to $967 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

“With the significant and ongoing changes in our industry, we must continue to transform our company into one that is leaner, more nimble and more innately multiplatform,” Lang, a former advertising executive who took charge of Time Inc. last year, said in a Jan. 30 memo to employees about the job cuts. “These reductions are part of this important transformation process.”

A few bright spots at the company include a 5.1 percent rise in total circulation at Essence and an 8.5 percent jump for People StyleWatch magazine.

Time Warner rose less than 1 percent to $52.57 at the close in New York. The shares are up 9.9 percent this year, compared with a 6.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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