Loaded is back in the race as it beats 'roadkill' Maxim

By Alyson Fixter

Loaded editor Martin Daubney has claimed that “Maxim is just
roadkill” in the lads’ mags’ race to recapture the top end of the men’s
market, following a rare taste of victory for the IPC title.

The original men’s magazine, which relaunched and cut its price in
April, saw a sales jump of 7.7 per cent between January and June this
year, overtaking rivals Maxim and Men’s Health to become the
second-biggest selling men’s monthly.

But with a circulation of
237,083, it still has a long way to go before it challenges market
leader FHM, which overtook Loaded in the men’s market in 1997 and has
been top dog ever since. Until now, Loaded had not seen meaningful
sales increases since 1998.

Emap’s FHM lost about 13,000 readers
in the past year, a decline of 2.4 per cent, and recorded a circulation
of 560,167, still more than 300,000 readers above Loaded.

Dennis
title Maxim, which six months ago pipped Loaded to second place in the
sector, and sent the Loaded team a cake to celebrate, slipped to fourth
place behind Loaded and Men’s Health, with a circulation of 227,377, a
fall of 2.9 per cent between January and June and static year-on-year.

Daubney
said: “It’s just nice to feel the sun on your back for a change. Last
time, when Maxim overtook us they sent us a cake, and that was the best
motivation our team could have had.

“Now, the cars are on the track and Maxim is just roadkill. We’re out to get FHM.

“When
you’re the bestseller you can get away with a lot of stuff, you can get
lazy because all the celebrities come to you anyway. But Ross Brown was
making the tea when I was features editor. It would be stupid to put a
timeframe on it but we will outsell FHM in one of our issues soon.”

Greg Gutfeld, editor of Maxim, said: “I think we’ve done really well in a pretty difficult market.

“We’ve
invested heavily in the magazine and taken some pretty sharp and gutsy
editorial risks rather than just cutting price. That will always sell
more copies but we’re more interested in long-term growth.

“Maxim is overdelivering so much I think it is going to raise its price. A price cut would seem almost immoral.

“If
you cut price by almost 30 per cent I would expect more of an increase
than Loaded got. They should be selling what the weeklies are selling.”

The
biggest year-on-year circulation increases in the monthly market were
for NatMags’s Men’s Health, which put on 3.2 per cent to 228,108,
Haymarket’s gadget title Stuff, which put on 10.2 per cent to 77,373,
Men’s Fitness from Dennis, with an increase of 7.2 per cent to 66,474,
and Emap’s bottom-of-thetable Arena, which put on 10.8 per cent to
46,680 readers.

Highbury’s Front, which promised a circulation
increase this period following a disastrous performance in February,
has dropped a further 12.10 per cent to 88,154.

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