Gossip mags circle the drain. The deepest black hole of the latest print circulation report for the September quarter was weekly magazines, and Fusion Strategy’s Steve Allen was very gloomy, writing to clients overnight that the performance in the quarter “does not bode well for the future”. He writes: “The most concerning [point was] the larger circulation titles pretty much losing the most [in sales]”. That was borne out by many of the 10 weekly titles experiencing double -digit drops in sales — capped the 18.1% slide by Bauer’s Famous, while Bauer’s Woman’s Day suffered the largest fall in actual copies of 32,000 a week.

The three major magazine publishers are Bauer, the German privately owned company, Pacific, part of the faltering Seven West Media, and News Life, part of News Corp Australia.

Allen said in his note the September quarter was “not a good audit” though one magazine, Yours, almost held its circulation, dropping only 1.9% of its sales to 60,072 copies.

On the big two, Bauer’s Woman’s Day was the biggest loser, down 10.1%, or more than 32,000 copies a week, to 288,186 and crashing through the 300,000 a week mark in a decisive fashion (it sold 320,398 copies a week in the September, 2014 quarter). Pacific’s New Idea though wasn’t far behind with a 9.7% slump in sales to 277,018 (Woman’s Day is catching up!).

But the biggest loser among all weeklies in percentage terms was OK from Bauer, which lost 18.1% of its sales to 59,022, followed by NW from Bauer, which shed 17.7% of its sales to 62,557 in the latest quarter, while Pacific’s Famous shed 16.9% of its sales to end up on an average 50,033 copies a week. Bauer’s TV Week lost 9.0% to 132,086 copies. — Glenn Dyer

Suneditor denies News Corp killed bribery story. Private Eye had a ripper of a yarn this week about News Corp kiboshing a story about lax security at Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh airport because the company feared it would be accused of involvement in bribery. But was the story too good to be true?

Here’s the gist of what Private Eye wrote. Sun reporter Nick Parker visited Sharm El Sheikh five months ago and saw travellers could avoid security by paying a bribe. According to Private Eye, Parker pitched a story about this to his editors: he suggested slipping a guard a few quid and seeing if he could get through himself. But when his editors phoned New York HQ for permission, New York firmly killed the story, allegedly saying News Corp couldn’t be seen to be paying bribes anywhere right now.

But Stig Abell, the managing editor of the Sun, issued a number of forceful tweets saying he’d never been pitched the story at all, and had never asked for approval. “But nice to be blamed for a terrorist atrocity,” he wrote. — Myriam Robin

Front page of the day. What is it with Australians and touching the royals?

Peter Fray

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