That Sinking Feeling

Paid circulation
(a.k.a. the number of National Geographic Society members)
has fallen south of 4 million.

In 1988, it was 10.2 million.

The nosedive continues….

per NGM, December 2010

It’s worth noting that an additional 1.3 million copies are “single-copy sales,” which includes the newsstand. While selling individual issues of NGM at Safeway is nice, it’s not nearly as reliable a revenue stream as membership. Far better for the Society to build its future around people who say: I belong. I’m a member. I’m with you for at least a year (and often longer).

Also: 360,000+ copies for “Office use, leftover, etc.”? That’s a whole lotta trees, especially for an organization dedicated to “inspiring people to care about the planet.”

  • Therese

    Although a good deal of it may have to do with the younger generation not reading (that in itself is rather disturbing), the sinking of the membership, the sinking quality of NGS products, and the direction the Society is going, well, very sad. One wonders what the new president will bring to the table.

    • Therese – I’m sure you’re right that younger people don’t read as much as kids did in the past. Then again, NGM really doesn’t aim for readers as much as they shoot for people who love pictures. Re: the new president — he’s new to the position, but he’s been at NGS for decades. It’d be great if he brought something dramatically new to the table, but I’m not holding my breath. …. Thanks for your comment, Therese… and happy 2011!

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