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    ABC Q3 2023: A quarter marked by stability as magazines show resilience

    The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) of South Africa’s Quarter 3, 2023 magazine category figures have been released.
    The ABC has released the Q3, 2023 circulation figures for magazines (Image: Lesley Svenson)
    The ABC has released the Q3, 2023 circulation figures for magazines (Image: Lesley Svenson)

    Magazines, in general, demonstrated resilience with an overall decline of -2%. Consumer magazines, exhibiting a positive trend, increased by 1.28%, attributed to a 4% rise in free copies.

    Business-to-business magazines faced a -2% decrease. Subscriptions in this segment, however, grew by 1%. The Custom Magazines category remained stable, reflecting a minor loss of -1.1%, while maintaining consistent trends across all distribution channels.

    In light of these figures, the ABC says it is pleased to report a quarter marked by stability, demonstrating commendable resilience in the face of challenging media trading conditions. These results underscore the industry's adaptability and determination to navigate the evolving media landscape.

    Consumer magazines

    This category has five publications with double-digit increases on the previous quarter. It gained three new members but saw five discontinued, two resignations and two ceased publications.

    Within the category, the sector Business & News had two of its three publications show increases on the previous quarter and on the prior year. Both, Financial Mail and Forbes continued their upward movement in Q2 on the previous quarter and prior year.

    The Farming sector had three of its five publications up on the previous quarter, while the Parenting sector had two out of three publications with an increase on the previous quarter.

    The Woman’s General sector, the biggest sector under consumer magazines, had only three publications with increases on the previous quarter and two on the prior year. This is an increase of one publication on Q2.

    Arts, Culture and Heritage
    PublicationFrequencyFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Jewish LifeMtly8,4998,499-0.7%-2.2%
    Val de Vie Magazine2xA7,9008,959-39.9%
    Business and News
    Financial MailWkly, Fr2,34615,5746.1%30.4%
    Forbes AfricaAltM3,85310,2551.4%12.3%
    The Big Issue MagazineMtly6974,713-9.5%-22.6%
    Conservation and Wildlife
    African BirdlifeAltM1,4907,4564.3%16.0%
    TV Plus (Afrikaans)F0Discontinued
    TV Plus (English)F0Discontinued
    Family Interest
    HuisgenootWkly, Th3,54691,071-4.7%-20.3%
    Plus 50 6xA1,3436,27799.1%6.8%
    Spot-On (Formerly known as Spotong)AltM0Ceased publishing
    The Crest7xA0Discontinued
    The Ridge8xA0Discontinued
    YouWkly, Th2,60845,760-3.9%-22.1%
    Farmer's WeeklyWkly, Fr6405,399-2.7%-20.2%
    Grond tot MondQ32,01932,0194.5%369.1%
    LandbouweekbladWkly, Th1614,6892.7%33.2%
    Veeplaas.11xA0Changed Sector
    Health & Wellbeing
    Grow to Eat3xA5,71814,525No IssueReporting Change
    Conde Nast House & GardenMtly4,0109,258-14.5%-22.9%
    Easy DIYQ0Resigned
    Food&Home MagazineQ3,96114,830-0.1%New Member
    Lose It,Q2308,908No Issue5.2%
    SA Home Owner11xA5,04018,083-6.5%-7.7%
    Sarie Kos / FoodQ1,38012,515-3.3%-17.9%
    The Gardener / Die TuinierMtly9,54524,95813.6%-1.0%
    Tuis Home8xA3,38557,114-3.5%-14.4%
    Let’s Braai / Kom ons Braai (former The Ultimate Braai)Ann5,83213,080No IssueReporting Change
    Life & Style.4xA0ResignedSuspendedNew Member
    Silver Digest 4xA0TerminatedNo IssueReporting Change
    Men's Health6xA1,88915,958-1.0%No Issue
    Popular MechanicsMtly0Ceased Publishing
    Driven MagazineMtly6,8926,892-8.0%-5.5%
    Baba & KleuterQ010,5092.9%-23.3%
    Baby's and BeyondQ7,4429,202-7.1%-11.5%
    Your Pregnancy and BabyAltM1,7155,58416.9%-4.3%
    Sport and Hobby
    Compleat GolferMtly5,6249,15117.9%20.3%
    SA RugbyMtly2,431-16.3%-31.4%
    Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
    Cape Etc3xA5,3637,4672.6%No Issue
    go! Drive & Camp and Weg! Ry & SleepAltM18522,515-9.0%-21.6%
    Weg / Go PlattelandQ32016,051-4.8%-16.2%
    Woman's General
    BONA MagazineMtly5,15014,2100.0%-17.8%
    Garden & Home MagazineMtly4,86814,111-0.4%-19.7%
    Rooi Rose MagazineMtly7,44729,290-0.7%3.7%
    True LoveAltM6012,62824.5%-6.2%
    Women & Home MagazineMtly4,18722,106-15.7%-23.4%
    Women's Health6xA4,51516,3855.3%No Issue
    Woman's Special
    Wedding GuideAnn0No IssueNew Member

    B2B magazines

    The three biggest sectors Industry (11 publications), Management (10 publications), Mining and Quarrying (10 publications), all had less than half of their publications show an increase on the previous quarter and prior year.

    The Mining and Quarrying sector had four publications increase on the previous quarter and the prior year, Management had three on the previous quarter and one on the prior year.

    While Industry had three on the previous quarter and two on the prior year, it also had five no issues. It did gain a new member and one publication changed sector.

    The best-performing publication is Stockfarm from the Agricultural sector, followed by MIMS from the Health and Wellbeing sector, and then, also from the Agriculture sector, Veeplaas, all showing double figure increases on the previous quarter.

    Unfortunately, these three are the only publications in double-figure increases in the B2B category.

    Stockfarm and Veeplaas have consistently increased from Q1.

    The engineering sectors all fared well again. Six of the eight publications in the Engineering - Other sector, had increases on the previous quarter, with seven up on the prior year. Water & Sanitation Africa changed publisher.

    PublicationFrequencyFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    OVK Nuus/News.:4xA4,7554,7550.0%0.0%
    SA Graan / GrainMtly20,98120,981-1.6%0.1%
    VeeplaasMtly6,67511,10217.1%Changed Sector
    Leading Architect & Design.:AltM5,7695,811-12.7%-12.8%
    SA Building Review.:Ann0No Issue
    To Build.:4xA8,9509,806-0.4%-0.4%
    Taxi GuardianMtly0Terminated
    Civil Construction     
    Construction WorldMtly17,19517,1953.9%9.4%
    IMIESA11xA0Changed Publisher
    Spec Handbooks.:Ann28,42128,426No Issue43.1%
    Future SA4xA0
    SA Profile.:Ann0No Issue
    ServiceQ4,9654,9650.0%No Issue
    Electrical Engineering     
    Electricity & ControlMtly13,87913,8791.8%6.5%
    ESI Africa.:Q4,7724,772No IssueReporting Change
    Sparks Electrical NewsMtly14,92414,9243.3%7.9%
    Engineering - Other     
    Capital Equipment NewsMtly13,71113,7112.1%8.0%
    MechChem Africa..:AltM10,70310,7033.0%3.3%
    Motion Control.:Q2,0212,021-4.3%1.4%
    Plumbing AfricaMtly13,49713,5593.8%41.4%
    Refrigeration and AirconditioningMtly8,0818,092-0.2%19.1%
    SA Instrumentation & ControlMtly4,2014,2012.0%1.1%
    Water & Sanitation Africa.:AltM0Changed Publisher
    Health and Wellbeing     
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions8xA3,8503,850-11.1%-6.7%
    MDR Medical Desk Reference.:Ann0No Issue
    Medical Chronicle11xA28,16528,165-4.2%5.9%
    Modern Medicine Magazine..:AltM2,9963,463-13.0%-4.5%
    South African Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review11xA2,9762,9892.2%3.1%
    The Specialist Forum Journal11xA22,57022,570-7.9%2.4%
    Hospitality, Catering and Tourism     
    MeetingsAltM0Changed Publisher
    The Meetings & Event Planner (former SA Conference Directory).:Ann0Changed PublisherReporting Change
    Analytical Reporter.:AltM5,1005,100-7.4%-6.3%
    Cold Link Africa.:AltM3,4403,4456.0%-14.7%
    Eastern Cape Business...:Ann0No Issue
    KwaZulu Natal Business...:Ann0No Issue
    Lighting in Design..:Q7,7807,7802.9%12.9%
    Mpumalanga Business.,.:Ann0No IssueNo Issue
    Northern Cape Business...:Ann0No Issue
    Opportunity (Exploring Business Prospects in SA).:Q0
    Resource..:Q0Changed Publisher
    South African Food Review11xA3,8043,8382.0%1.6%
    The Journal of African BusinessQ4,9644,964-0.1%New Member
    Information and Computer Technology     
    African Decisions.:Q10,61312,039-6.2%5.1%
    Black Business Quarterly.:Q38,67538,8955.2%-17.8%
    Blue Chip,.:Q0
    Business Day EarthAnn0New Member
    Business Day EmpowermentAnn0New Member
    FA News..:AltM2,7342,8970.1%-0.7%
    KZN Invest.:Q0Discontinued
    Money MarketingMtly6,5306,532-9.8%-12.2%
    South African Business Intergrator.:2xA8,7899,848-0.2%-0.6%
    Mining & Quarrying     
    African Mines Handbook.:Ann0No IssueReporting Change
    African Mining Brief.:AltM0Terminated
    African Mining Inc. Mining Mirror11xA29,13229,2064.6%39.2%
    Engineering News & Mining WeeklyWkly, Fr11,97614,6928.0%12.8%
    Inside MiningQ0Discontinued
    Mining Business Africa6xA0Terminated
    Mining Review Africa.11xA4,6764,676-5.5%No Issue
    Modern MiningMtly14,67514,6753.1%11.7%
    Modern Quarrying.:Q6,9926,9923.2%5.6%
    DIY And Industrial Trade NewsMtly10,09210,092-2.0%-3.2%
    Pharmacy Magazine (former Frontshop)Mtly18,87118,8712.1%9.9%
    Transport and Logistics     
    Freight News FeaturesMtly5,5745,7802.8%-1.7%

    Custom magazines

    Across the 13 sectors in the Custom Magazines category, only eight had increases on the previous quarter, with Dairy Mail in the Farming sector, the only publication in double figures.

    That said, in the Home sector, My Kitchen showed a good increase on the previous quarter and a double figure increase on the prior year.

    In the In-Flight sector and the Male sector, In Flight Magazine and Male both increased on the previous quarter and a double figure increase on the prior year.

    Both publications under the youth sector had good increases on the prior year.

    PublicationFrequencyFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Dairy Mail, The.Mtly1,3231,32723.1%18.4%
    Health & Wellbeing
    Fitlife.Mtly0Ceased Publishing
    SA Pharmaceutical Journal..:10xA0No IssuesReporting Change
    South African Medical JournalMtly8,6408,816-0.7%Suspended
    Fresh Living .:Q0Resigned
    Living Space..Mtly43239,005-0.6%5.5%
    My Kitchen..Mtly72082,6597.7%16.7%
    Industry Specific
    Forum Tydskrif.:Q0Resigned
    J S E.:Q12,91314,492-11.2%-5.8%
    Sea Rescue.:3xA16,94716,947-15.0%-8.2%
    In Flight MagazineMtly38,48938,4894.5%28.1%
    Private Edition.:Q9,3729,3722.0%2.3%
    Motor..Mtly0Ceased Publishing
    Club MagazineMtly7,000250,445-1.5%-5.3%
    Jet Club.:7xA0Outstanding Audit
    Sport and Hobby
    Game & Hunt/Wild & JagMtly66,90268,271-0.2%2.6%
    SA Hunter/Jagter..:8xA0Resigned
    Soccer ClubMtly50053,0134.1%12.0%
    Sports Club.Mtly513104,8630.7%16.5%
    Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
    EscapesMtly0Ceased Publishing
    Rove SA.:4xA8,19910,198-3.6%-3.1%
    Woman's General
    Balanced LifeMtly30048,256-3.1%-1.6%
    Kids Super Club.Mtly49071,319-1.8%8.5%

    Free magazines

    A better quarter for this category, with six of its nine publications showing increases on the previous quarter and the rest holding steady, with no increase or decrease.

    PublicationFrequencyTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Botswana Advertiser.F99,9650.0%0.0%
    Get It (Ballito to Umhlanga)Mtly11,9830.1%0.2%
    Get It (Bloemfontein)Mtly6,8900.0%0.0%
    Get It (Highway)Mtly11,8770.1%3.4%
    Get It (Jo'burg South)Mtly14,7500.1%-0.3%
    Get It (Jo'burg West)Mtly13,7893.2%-1.6%
    Get It (Lowveld)Mtly6,2000.0%0.0%
    Get It (Northern Suburbs Joburg)Mtly14,6570.8%-1.6%
    Get It (Pretoria)Mtly14,6090.1%-1.6%

    (Tables credit: Andre Rademan)

    About Danette Breitenbach

    Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.
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