National Magazine Company’s “real-life” women’s weekly Real People is refunding advertisers after failing to meet its guaranteed circulation target of 350,000. The magazine was launched in January.
Real People recorded an average circulation of 318,105 for the six months to June, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for magazines, published last week.
The 9% circulation shortfall means NatMags now faces having to make retrospective payments or reducing its rates to clients that have used the magazine since its launch.
It is understood that NatMags warned advertisers that Real People would miss its targets earlier this month and has promised to give them “value back” over forthcoming issues.
A senior media buyer says: “Real People made a guarantee to clients and it is common practice for an amount of money equal to that 9% to be returned to the advertisers who paid based on that promise.”
He adds that the circulation recorded by Real People is “far from unhealthy” for a new launch into the vibrant celebrity and real-life women’s weekly market.
“NatMags hasn’t fallen massively short of its target and I doubt the Real People team will worry too much,” he says. “But those clients will claim their money back or demand some deal for discounts on the next ads they place in the magazine.”
The crowded women’s weekly market has been boosted by the launch of several titles in the past year but some of these have recorded small dips in circulation because consumer demand failed to grow as fast as the market.
Meanwhile Love it!, the News Magazines-owned title launched in February, recorded a debut circulation of 405,441 against its guaranteed circulation of 400,000.
NatMags was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.