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So the publisher of Vogue has received a slap on the wrist for talking down the circulation achievements of rival title Harper’s Bazaar prior to the release of the ABC figures in February.
It accused the magazine of growing its newsstand sales by producing value packs, which grouped together Harper’s Bazaar with sister titles She and Coast.
As a result, the magazine benefited from a 5.9% increase and a £0.2m rise in retail sales value. Of course, monthly magazines aren’t the only ones doing it. To a much greater extent, weeklies such as Northern & Shell stablemates OK! Magazine, New! and Star are bundled together every fortnight at a reduced price.
But should the industry put a stop to this type of practice?
The most important thing for retailers to consider is whether publishers’ bundling magazines together is actually pushing any more money through their tills.
In the case of Northern & Shell, despite the value packs’ lower price, combined RSV for the three titles increased in the second half of 2009 by £11.7m compared to the same period the previous year.
It may not be an entirely honest way of improving circulation figures, but it is completely legal.
And as long as bundling doesn’t harm the retail sales value of the titles concerned, retailers (and publishers) should perhaps welcome the approach as a good way of boosting the magazine market.
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