Listings bubble bursts in ABCs

Magazine market shows signs of a downturn after a period of little Christmas cheer

TVTimes
is planning a major relaunch after sacking editor Mike Hollingsworth,
in advance of what is expected to be a bumpy ABC period for the TV
listings sector.

Publisher IPC announced the move this week
following a year of aggressive competition in the market between rivals
IPC and Bauer, fuelled by IPC’s own launch of mini-sized TV Easy.

It
is thought that most of the listings titles will show static or falling
circulations, with the exception of Bauer’s TV Choice, which has
announced a 3p price rise as a “sign that more revenues can be made
from the TV listings market”.

Elsewhere in the industry, a raft
of titles in the men’s and women’s glossies are expected to show
circulation decreases in the first ABC figures of the year, due out on
16 February.

Two years on from the launches of Nuts and Zoo, and
a year on from the appearance of weekly glossy Grazia and real-life
weekly Pick Me Up, titles like Condé Nast’s Glamour and Natmags’

Company
are thought to be suffering, while a major loser in the men’s market is
expected to be Dennis title Maxim, which could post a circulation
decrease of as much as 20 per cent in newsstand sales.

But IPC’s
Loaded, which relaunched and cut its price amid much publicity just
under a year ago, is expected to show a decent circulation increase and
be a strong second in the men’s glossy market, behind FHM.

However,
the upset of the period could be found in the women’s weekly market,
despite the launch of two new weeklies last month and claims that there
are millions of new readers waiting to be converted to a real-life read.

Industry
insiders say all the real-life weeklies took a hit in circulation in
the months before Christmas, which could show up in sales drops in the
ABC totals, particularly in the “classic” women’s weekly niche, which
is made up of Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Bella and Best.

One insider told Press Gazette: “If one a weekly is going to drop off the shelf, you might expect it to be one of those.”

Even
Pick Me Up, IPC’s one-year-old golden child, which crashed through the
500,000 mark in August, is expected to be flat or even lose sales in
this month’s figures.

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