Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Re-Design for AD Flops in Canada

Posted by Scott On March - 2 - 2018

First published as a quarterly in 1920, the venerable brand formally known as Architectural Digest is a survivor.  Condé Nast Publications purchased the title from Knapp in April 1993.

Effective with the April 2017 issue (here in Canada) the magazine was re-branded as AD.

Now I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of using initials for a magazine’s name…I’ve always been a fan of keeping it literal.  Canadian House & Home,  Canadian Running, Canadian Cycling, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Cottage Life, Horse Canada,Toronto Life, are names that say what it is…and work.

In 2016, the Canadian newsstand posted an overall decline of 11.8% on all English-language magazines sold in Canada, according to the CTC Boxscore.  And Architectural Digest had a relatively good year that year, dropping only 218 copies per issue on average or 3.5%…a very solid performance!

So how have things gone since the re-design?  10 consecutive issues have posted hefty, even alarming declines:

  • April 2017…down 32%
  • May 2017…down 13%
  • Jun 2017…down 24%
  • Jul 2017…down 26%
  • Aug 2017…down 58%
  • Sep 2017…down 33%
  • Oct 2017…down 12%
  • Nov 2017…down 28%
  • Dec 2017…down 30%
  • Jan 2018…down 18% (with more returns to come)…so the drop is over 23% per issue on average.

While AD sells only 4,555 copies on average in Canada, if the pattern is being replicated in the USA market (i.e. 10 X the size), then problems may be brewing.

The question now seems to be, can AD survive the re-design?


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About Me

Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy.



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