PCH, AFP Decreases Hurt Circulation

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The circulation industry felt the impact of declining volumes from subscription agents Publishers Clearing House and American Family Publishers in 1999, according to CircTrack 2000, an annual survey of consumer magazine circulation conducted by Capell & Associates and sponsored by a dozen industry firms.


The average decrease in response to 1999 AFP mailings was 53 percent, while the average falloff for PCH mailings was 44 percent. In 1998, the average falloff rates were 37 percent for AFP and 29 percent for PCH. Despite the softening performance, 70 percent of CircTrack 2000 participants said they use direct mail agents.


Both AFP and PCH also experienced notable changes in the average publisher remit rates. AFP dropped to 7.9 percent in 1999 from 14.9 percent in 1998. PCH fell to 8.3 percent in 1999 from 13.2 percent in 1998. For circulation managers, these changes mean less volume at higher costs.


CircTrack 2000 is an eight-page survey that was mailed to 728 circulation executives. The recipients were extracted from the databases of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and BPA International consumer magazine members with a minimum of 50 percent paid circulation. The survey response rate was 20 percent.
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