MAGAZINE ABCs: Publishers' performance in latest results
A round-up of the January to June 2010 magazine ABCs, pinpointing the triumphs and disappointments of the leading consumer magazine publishers over the period.
Magazine ABCs: results released
Bauer Consumer Media
Total average circulation per issue: 2,814,745, down 4.7% period on period and down 5.8% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: The improved fortunes of Kerrang! will be music to Bauer’s ears, after the rock bible posted an impressive 7.0% rise period on period to reach 44,013 copies. Team Grazia – who are plotting a men's equivalent – will be pleased circulation of the weekly glossy held steady over a tough year, while Top Sante and Yours showed signs of recovery over the last six months, up 4.2% and 4.5% period on period respectively.
Could do better: The landslide continues in the men’s lifestyle sector, with FHM falling 16.7% period on period – despite valiant editorial efforts – and Zoo plummeting a further 21.6% period on period. The jury will be out on whether the title will ever fully recover from the Danny Dyer advice column controversy.
Paul Keenan, chief executive of Bauer Media, said: "Bauer’s portfolio of influential brands continue to deliver compelling content that connects and engages with audiences wherever they are. Our commitment to understanding our audiences, investment in editorial excellence, innovation, differentiation and evolution underpins many of these market-leading, market-beating ABC performances. Only Bauer Media produces such a wide range of quality magazines, as well as the opportunity to extend and enrich client conversations with our consumers further via our radio, TV, internet, mobile and live event properties."
Total average circulation per issue: 2,952,806, down 0.5% period on period and up 3.1% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Lonely Planet Magazine, which is fast becoming BBC Magazines’ star performer under the editorship of Peter Grunert, recording a 21.4% rise period on period, with plans to launch two further international editions for Korea and Thailand by the end of the financial year. The Bristol division is also powering ahead, with BBC Countryfile finding its feet to rise 21.6% period on period and 22.0% year on year, while BBC History is rewriting the past to climb 7.0% period on period and 8.4% year on year.
Could do better: It is proving tough at the top for flagship title Top Gear, which fell 5.2% both period on period and year on year to 190,375 copies. The appetite for the BBC’s food portfolio seems to have waned, with Good Food down 13.0% period on period and Easy Cook down 13.4% period on period, while the children’s sector was marked by double-digit period-on-period drops for Charlie & Lola, Waybuloo and In the Night Garden.
Nicholas Brett, deputy managing director of BBC Magazines, said: "We have overtaken NatMag to become the number one magazine subscriptions business in the UK, with 886,472 subscriptions. We have gone from cottage industry to best-in-class since we wrote our strategy to generate more revenue from subscriptions six years ago, and to see that pay off feels amazing. Our other great obsession is actively purchased, and we are delighted Lonely Planet Magazine has become the UK's number one actively purchased travel magazine. You won't find us given away in a hotel bedroom next to the free chocolates."
Total average circulation per issue: 1,539,661, up 0.8% period on period and up 2.8% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Glamour, which has retained the number one spot in the women’s lifestyle sector, rising 2.1% over the past six months, while Tatler is continuing to thrive despite losing its well-connected editor Geordie Greig to the Evening Standard, climbing 1.6% year on year to 86,448 copies.
Could do better: On first inspection, Condé Nast’s results look strong, with all its magazines either flat or up period on period. However, the results mask widespread discounting for magazine subscriptions – for example, 99% of Glamour’s single-copy subscription sales were at a lower rate, with a 97% comparable figure for GQ.
Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé≠ Nast, said: "This strong story – with every Condé Nast title gaining sales – demonstrates the resilience of quality magazines. As the market shows clear signs of a recovery, our glossy titles and cross-platform innovations position us perfectly for continued growth."
Total average circulation per issue: 437,519, up 1.2% period on period and 1.5% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Subscription-led news title The Week, which has posted its 24th consecutive to rise to 176,680 copies, climbing 4.1% over the last six months. Motoring magazines Octane and Evo are also looking strong, climbing 9.9% and 3.2% respectively year on year. Behind-the-scenes plans to launch one of Dennis’ leading titles on the iPad next month will strengthen the publisher’s position in digital publishing.
Could do better: Weekly title Auto Express, which is lagging behind its monthly motoring stablemates, dropping 3.3% period on period and 9.9% year on year.
James Tye, chief executive of Dennis Publishing, said: "I am pleased with our genuine organic growth – particularly The Week, which has grown steadily to become one of the most subscribed-to magazines in the UK. Our investment in increasing subscriptions for Health & Fitness, which we acquired from Burda in January, is paying off and I am very pleased with the performance of Evo and Octane in a tough market."
Haymarket Consumer Media
Total average circulation per issue: 385,346, down 4.3% period on period and down 0.9% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Haymarket’s flagship male interest titles What Car? and Autocar, which posted period-on-period increases of 1.6% and 0.6% respectively.
Could do better: Four Four Two, which may have suffered from England’s poor performance in the World Cup, losing 7.9% of its circulation over the last six months, while men’s lifestyle title Stuff dropped 10.8% over the same period.
David Prasher, chief executive of Haymarket Consumer Media, says: "Our encouraging ABC performance has arisen from our continued focus on and investment in producing high quality, specialist magazines. We’re able to demonstrate to our advertisers that this approach will continue to deliver and sustain high quality, engaged audiences with which they can continue to communicate in the long term. This becomes even more compelling as Haymarket’s brands experience ongoing growth of their online and digital audiences, which extends their reach."
Total average circulation per issue: 3,052,641, down 3.1% period on period and down 4.6% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: TV Choice, which was the only H Bauer title to increase its circulation over the last six months, rising 0.5% to 1,309,469 copies and remaining the UK’s biggest-selling paid-for magazine.
Could do better: Eat In, which launched in March 2009, is struggling to gain a foothold in a crowded market. The title dropped 14.3% over the last six months to just 19,009 copies – dramatically below its launch print-run of 120,000. Time will tell if the magazine will suffer the same fate as TV Quick, which H Bauer axed in May.
David Goodchild, managing director of H Bauer, said: "H Bauer remains the market leader in each of its core markets and has strengthened its position in the classic women’s weekly sector, with Bella the only magazine in its market to show growth in full-price sales. TV Choice is now firmly entrenched as Britain’s favourite paid-for magazine, while Take a Break celebrates 20 years as Britain’s biggest-selling women’s magazine. Once again, the core driver behind this sustained performance and brand loyalty is the clarity of the editorial propositions and the quality of its execution."
Total average circulation per issue: 992,177, down 3.4% period on period and down 3.9% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Affluent women’s monthly Red, which has posted a record circulation of 230,067, rising 5.2% year on year and soon to be complemented by the launch of a new website. Elsewhere on the digital side, entertainment site Digital Spy is going from strength to strength, increasing its monthly uniques to almost eight million, while Elleuk.com is the sixth-biggest magazine brand on Twitter, with an army of 120,000 followers.
Could do better: Times have been challenging for Psychologies, which is still "clarifying its editorial vision" under new editor Louise Chunn, resulting in a 9% period-on-period circulation drop to 119,025 copies. There are also losses for teen magazine Sugar, which fell 19.4% period on period and 19.6% year on year.
Kevin Hand, chairman of Hachette Filipacchi UK, said: "I am delighted with the circulation increases and share gain we have seen for most of our titles. They are testament to our rich and diverse print and digital strategy, as well as our investment in innovation across all our brands. The performances of Red and Elle Decoration also demonstrate the continued demand among premium consumers for high-quality glossy magazines. Our digital businesses will continue to be a top priority, particularly with the hotly-anticipated launch of Red online by the end of the year."
Total average circulation per issue: 5,738,111, down 2.6% period on period and 3.3% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: IPC’s homes portfolio, with every title in the sector up both period on period and year on year. The Blue Fin gang will also be celebrating the performance of the publisher’s women’s lifestyle titles, with Essentials up 12.9% year on year and Woman & Home climbing 5.5% over the last 12 months.
Could do better: IPC’s men’s magazines continue down their rocky road, with Loaded falling 24.8% period on period and 26.3% year on year to 53,592 copies and Nuts falling 16.8% over the last six months – despite a jazzy 3D issue, which sold "significantly" more copies. However, IPC stresses the brands’ multi-platform reach is improving, with Loaded delivering an monthly ABCe of 254,923.
Evelyn Webster, chief executive of IPC, said: "There are some very pleasing results across the portfolio – in the women’s lifestyle magazines, the fashion sector, the TV titles and the homes sector, in particular. Our strategy has always been to focus on consumer insight to inform our editorial strategy – and when you have great editors using that insight in creative ways, the results for consumers are compelling."
Total average circulation per issue: 3,050,689, down 1.6% period on period and up 1.4% year on year.
Crack open the champagne for: Harper’s Bazaar and Real People are the star performers for NatMag. Harper’s rose 7.2% over the last 12 months to post a record circulation of 118,553, while Real People climbed 11.5% year on year to 225,145. The publisher, which celebrates its centenary this year, will also be raising a glass to the record circulations for Coast and Country Living.
Could do better: NatMag’s women’s lifestyle titles are not performing as well as their competitors, with Cosmopolitan shedding 6.6% of its circulation over the past six months and She falling 3.9% period on period and 3.1% year on year.
Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chief executive of NatMag, said: "There are plenty of reasons to celebrate at NatMag in our centenary year, with robust circulation and subscription figures and increased adspend bringing confidence to our titles. I am very pleased with NatMag’s performance – 11 titles have recorded a year-on-year increase and our average performance improved 1.1% year on year. Where do we go from here? Our strategy, which is focused on innovative branded content and cross-platform opportunities, will ensure the longevity of our brands and our continued success."
Total average distribution per issue: ShortList Media distributes 518,222 copies of ShortList and 421,158 copies of Stylist each week.
Crack open the champagne for: Both the publisher’s "freemium" magazines: ShortList’s distribution is up 1% period on period, while Stylist is up 3% period on period – already 5% ahead of its launch guarantee of 400,000 copies.
Could do better: Hard to find a weak spot – the rate of expansion means ShortList Media is moving into larger offices down the road from its current Emerald Street address in September, where a unit will be dedicated to "product development". Editorial director Phil Hilton is extremely secretive about what those new products might be, so could ShortList Media be planning a third title to add to its growing stable? "We will explore every option," says Hilton.
Mike Soutar, chief executive of ShortList Media, said: "These healthy ABC increases reflect the extraordinary hunger for our brands from both consumers and advertisers. I’m also delighted to see fast-growing subscriptions sales – for two free magazines. We are delighted with these results and look forward to another year of development, growth and innovation."
Phil Hilton, editorial director, ShortList Media, said: "I have never seen a magazine capture the spirit of its times as quickly as Stylist – it has become the champion for ambitious working women. ShortList has a very loyal male following and it is now the title all the big stars come to – it is extraordinary to see a title that is not yet four years old interviewing David Cameron and Gordon Brown. We have two great editors who have really built their brands this year."
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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