Photography - publications report by Network Services


Network Services have just released their half-yearly analysis on magazines based on the ABC Audit results compared with the previous year. Overall the results are not good. However, the little one can do about this!

However, no matter what happens overall there are major changes in the type of magazines that get sold. This is because as fashions and peoples’ taste change, so you will see over time categories going up and down. This is something we can do something about immediately such as increase the amount of space a magazines is allocated, put them in a better location, put more titles in that category out etc.

What I am primarily looking for is what is going up. My clients after all through their comparison reports over a period know what is going down. What they sometimes miss is magazine category going up because they are not giving that category a chance. Say for example, a newsagent and tried ABC magazines years ago, and they bombed, so now he always puts them in as an early return. Now if peoples’ tastes have changed and ABC magazines now sell, because he never gives them a chance, he misses out.

Now in this Network Service report, a key finding was

Photography publications, under the craft and hobbies category, grew by 11%.

So I thought to myself that sounds reasonable, people have more digital cameras, people are taking more photographs, computers are making photography cheaper and more popular and with Facebook and email people are sending more photos than ever before. So it makes sense that magazines on photography are doing well.

So I decided to report it, but before I did I checked on our benchmark figures to give a newsagencies perspective.

I created using our software a virtual class for photography called it P1, and then decided to check its sales figure in newsagencies.

Here are some newsagents figures.

This is a suburb newsagency.

In 2010, they had 43 titles in this range, which sold 775 copies for $8835.
In 2009, they had 35 titles, which sold 783 copies for $9071.
In 2008, they had 32 titles, which sold 800 copies for $9326.

Hardly, what I would call a growth category, over the years we see more titles, which means more work. There are fewer unit sales, and turnover is almost $500 less.

I decided to look at a country newsagent. So I set up again my virtual class P1 and checked out their results.

In 2010, they had 50 titles, which sold 226 copies for $3774.
In 2009, they had 49 titles, which sold 350 copies for $5042.
In 2008, they had 44 titles, which sold 364 copies for $4525.

These results are even worse. In fact, they are terrible.

So at this stage I was very confused, so I went back to the initial report by Network Services. Take a look what was said “Photography publications, under the craft and hobbies category, grew by 11%.” Emphasis added.

Then it clicked. I suspect that photography magazines have not grown at all. What has happened is that because photography publications are split over several categories, and in one of these categories photography magazines has done well this is what they have selectively reported.

When reading any of these reports, please remember the old Roman saying “caveat emptor”, buyer beware! Just because it looks right does not mean that it is.