Magazine Readership Stayed Strong in 2010

By Steve Smith

Despite the purported death of print (or its "slow demise"), the overall appeal of print magazines remains strong, according to the latest iteration of Affinity Research’s American Magazine Study. The survey of 34,000 American adults extrapolates the data to find that 188 million currently read print titles, and the average consumer absorbs 6.1 titles per month.

In the fall wave of the regular study, familiar titles still reign supreme. AARP has an effective audience of 46.9 million, according to Affinity. Better Homes and Gardens has an audience of 35.4 million; People, 34 million; and National Geographic, 32 million.

Aside from the perennial big guns of print reach, a number of titles stand out for the multiplier effect of each issue. A typical copy of Guns & Ammo, for instance, is read by almost 20 people, while Bridal Guide attracts 18 per issue; Men’s Fitness, 12; Texas Monthly, 11.75; and Garden Design, 11.3.

The magazine field continues also to skew toward women, with 84% saying they read at least one title a month, compared to 80% of men.

Affinity Research announced that it will radically expand the scope of its audience measurement in the spring 2011 wave by measuring digital platforms, mobile magazine apps, Web sites, social media extensions and e-subscriptions. The company says that the definition of "magazine audience" has changed as brands extend onto multiple platforms, and so require new metrics.

The full AMS breakdown by title is available online.