The UK magazine industry figures have just been published, and The Spectator has an extraordinary set of results to report. Our sales stand at the highest level in our 189-year history. We are not just the oldest weekly magazine in the world, but today’s ABC figures show that we’re growing faster than any comparable magazine with sales up 8 per cent year-on-year. The introduction of a paywall has not stopped our traffic hitting an all-time high. Our new podcast, Coffee House Shots, has released 100 episodes since the election announcement, with over 1.3 million listens.
And this in a tough market. Newspaper sales have fallen by more than a third in the last ten years: it has never been easier to find news and analysis for free online. But a big change is taking place in the market. There's now too much writing online, and in an era of fake news, where you get your analysis from has never been more important. As newspapers and magazines are finding out, if you can publish writing that is consistently and significantly better than what can be found online, people will pay.
The all-important figure is the actively-purchased sales (ie, editions that people buy for themselves) which stand at a record 69,163, up 8.2 per cent on last year and again the highest-ever. The number of people paying for a digital edition, either on its own or part of a print subscription, is up by a third to 24,876.
Rather than a tension between digital and print, our experience has been that – done properly – one reinforces the other. Our website, podcasts and events introduce people to The Spectator who might never have picked up a hard copy. When asked to subscribe, the vast majority choose a print-and-digital subscription. As a result, our print sales are growing at their fastest annual rate for years. We expect our end-of-year figures to be better still.
We now have tens of thousands of subscribers to our range of emails (sign up to them here). Our events are growing too: we sold out of 1,000 tickets to An Evening With Rod Liddle in three days; last year we sold out the London Palladium for a debate about Brexit. We have five podcasts (our weekly podcast, Coffee House shots, books, religion and Freddy Gray’s Americano). The Spectator is broadcasting on several wavelengths, but each of them serve to reinforce the printed magazine.
To join us, sign up here from just £1/week.
PS The Spectator's ABC certificates, for UK and overseas, show an average of 93,770 weekly copies for the first half of this year. This includes other forms of circulation. For example, ABC count print-and-digital subscriptions as two copies. The headline figure also includes frees and bulk sales, which are an important market for all publications. The more discerning airlines buy copies of The Spectator for their passengers – we can be found on everything from Eastern Airways to the Royal helicopter.