Mag ABCs: BBC and Dennis top-performing publishers

The chief executive of the Professional Publishers Association, Barry McIlheney, hailed last week’s ABC results for the consumer magazine market as a demonstration of the ‘continued strength’of the industry.

The PPA has highlighted several positive areas for the magazine sector including total average circulation for ABC-audited consumer magazines rising 0.1 per cent in the first six months of the year.

The children’s magazines (pre-school) sector was up 15.9 per cent year-on-year, while news and current affairs (domestic) grew by 7 per cent year-on-year and general interest was up 6.2 per cent.

The women’s lifestyle/fashion sector was up 1.4 per cent and the TV Listings market rose 1 per cent.

McIlheney said: “These figures demonstrate the continued strength of magazines in a rapidly evolving market and underline their unique ability to create a real emotional connection with audiences through their trusted and engaging content.”

He added: “Innovation and creativity remain at the core of today’s successful consumer magazine brands as they build their reach by capitalising on new opportunities online, on mobile devices, via social networks, and through face-to-face events.”

The men’s mag sector was one of the hardest hit, with Nuts falling 22.5 per cent year on year to 114,019 and Zoo falling 32.1 per cent to 54,318. Likewise, the women’s weekly market was hit by an 8 per cent total drop in circulation, falling to 7.5m, with the worst-performing title Heat down 21.7 per cent to 326,677.

Here’s how some of the leading magazine publishers fared:

Bauer Media

  • Total circulation down 11.5 per cent to 2,490,248
  • Biggest rise: Golf World – up 0.8 per cent to 36,307
  • Biggest fall: Zoo – down 32.1 per cent to 54,318

Bauer Media chief executive Paul Keenan said: “Bauer Media’s portfolio of influential and trusted magazine brands continues to engage deeply with consumers through the consistent delivery of quality products rich in editorial and commercial innovation.

‘This is underpinned by our commitment to a multi-platform approach, which continues to extend our reach. By delivering powerful brand experiences for consumers, we offer advertisers greater opportunities to connect with our highly engaged audiences.

‘We continue to seek out new opportunities and in July 2011 launched Outdoor Fitness, the first market defining, multi-discipline fitness lifestyle magazine, aimed at the growing number of people who are getting fit and planning their next big challenge, outdoors.”

BBC Worldwide

  • Total circulation up 1 per cent to 2,980.025
  • Biggest rise: Cbeebies Art – up 22.8 per cent to 61,327
  • Biggest fall: Easy Cook – down 27.2 per cent 48,290

BBC Magazine managing director Peter Phippen said: ‘This is BBC Magazines’ third consecutive set of ABC results showing annual growth, with particularly strong performances from our pre-school titles and from Lonely Planet magazine, which goes from strength to strength.

‘In its 20th anniversary year, it’s also great to see Gardeners’ World magazine continuing to grow. Our market-leading brands, the quality of our journalism and the loyalty of our valued customers underpin our success, contributing to our portfolio out-performing the market once again.”

On 16 August BBC Worldwide confirmed plans to sell-off of its consumer magazines business to a UK private equity company.

The deal includes a mix of sale, licensing and contract agreements under which its flagship title Radio Times will be acquired outright by Exponent Private Equity.

The Trust said it expects competition watchdog the Office of Fair Trading to clear the deal in the autumn, and the majority of BBC Magazines staff and operations will be transferred to the new company when the deal is completed.

Conde Nast

  • Total circulation down 1 per cent to 1,524,805
  • Biggest rise: Glamour – up 0.7 per cent to 530,060
  • Biggest fall: House & Garden – down 2.7 per cent to 127,620

Conde Nast managing director Nicholas Coleridge said: ‘For the first time our circulation figures include debut digital numbers. For some of our titles, only a single month of digital data is included since their iPad or Zinio versions have only just been launched.

“Generally, print sales have shown surprising resilience, and any small print shortfalls are being filled by sales of our digital editions. It is an exhilarating moment to be in magazine publishing. It is particularly gratifying to be able to report a surge of sales for Glamour in its 10th anniversary year.’

Dennis Publishing

  • Total circulation up 3 per cent to 491,816
  • Biggest rise: Octane – up 7 per cent to 35,741
  • Biggest fall: Women’s Fitness – down 31 per cent to 27,610

Chief executive officer James Tye said: ‘Despite challenging trading conditions for magazines in the UK, Dennis continues to show circulation growth of 3 per cent in total circulation for the year.

‘This is due to a combination of strong subscription growth coupled with a continuing magazine acquisition strategy for the company.

‘The Week continues to be our brightest star, now showing its 26th consecutive ABC increase and a 3.9% year-on-year growth, but we’ve also seen healthy rises in our fitness portfolio.”

Egmont Magazines UK

  • Total circulation down 1.4 per cent to 516,924
  • Biggest rise: Disney and Me – up 1 per cent to 40,503
  • Biggest fall: Dora the Explorer – down 38 per cent to 26,033

Egmont’s director of magazine Debbie Cook said: ‘Egmont has delivered some strong performances in both licensed products and our own-brand titles, despite a tough market.

‘By keeping audience research and innovation at the heart of our strategy, coupled with continued editorial and digital investment. we’ve been able to respond to a rapidly changing market.”

H Bauer Publishing

  • Total circulation down 1.2 per cent to 2,903,552
  • Biggest rise: Total TV Guide – up 7.7 per cent to 117,448
  • Biggest fall: Eat In – down 24.1 per cent to 14,427

A spokesperson said: ‘H Bauer’s Bella posts an ABC of 239,660 and continues to gain ground in the classic Women’s Weekly sector with a sales performance that far outperforms its rivals.

‘The last three consecutive ABC periods has seen Bella overtake nearest competitor Best in full price UK Newsstand sales, and the latest period is no exception, Bella now outsells Best by over eleven thousand copies a week at full price.”

They added: ‘H Bauer’s Take a Break has posted an ABC of 803,555, with a stronger than market period on period and year on year percentage performance.

‘Despite the poor economic climate in Britain, Take a Break’s dominance of the true life sector remains unrivalled, outselling its nearest competitor by over 400,000 copies a week. With new Editor Rebecca Fleming now firmly at the helm, Take a Break continues to evolve its editorial proposition in line with readers’ changing lifestyles.”

Haymarket Consumer Media

  • Total circulation down 6.8 per cent to 359,167
  • Biggest rise: all titles fell but Classic & Sports Car had the smallest decline – down 0.9 per cent to 72,167
  • Biggest fall: Four Four Two – down 16.6 per cent to 80,274

Managing director David Prasher said: ‘Our robust ABC performance has come from our long term investment in producing high quality, highly targeted, specialist magazines.

‘Our brands have outperformed the market in many sectors. Our success with subscriptions, which make up nearly 40% of paid circulation, and where revenue has grown year on year, shows how much we are valued by our most loyal customers.

‘We’re able to demonstrate to our advertisers that this approach continues to deliver engaged audiences with which they can connect and this becomes even more compelling as Haymarket’s multi-faceted brands grow their digital audiences.

‘Newstrade circulation is an important indicator, but only part of the picture: overall, Haymarket Consumer Media achieved significant growth so far this year, a clear indication of the health and success of our consumer brands in all formats.”

Classic & Sports Car publishing director Tim Bulley added: ‘Classic & Sports Car is up there with Top Gear and What Car? as a top three monthly motoring magazine in the UK and is by far the best selling classic car magazine in the world. This year we have continued to invest in the brand with the launch of a new website to ensure that Classic & Sports Car is the number one choice for classic motoring enthusiasts everywhere.”

Hearst Magazines UK

  • Total circulation down 4.2 per cent to 3,629,221
  • Biggest rise: Elle Decoration – up 4.6 per cent to 70,323
  • Biggest fall: Prima Baby – down 22.2 per cent to 31,926

Chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine said: ‘Following the acquisition of Hachette Filipacchi, our combined magazine business now reaches 47% of all women in the UK, giving us a competitive edge with a unique portfolio that speaks to every age and every demographic.

‘Like many businesses in the UK, we are facing a challenging environment, so it’s encouraging to see that many of our brands recording year on year increases.

‘We believe strongly in the power of print and this, combined with a strong digital presence, further reinforces our position as a leader in the industry with the agility to take full advantage of all growth opportunities ahead.”

IPC Media

  • Total circulation down 2.4 per cent
  • Biggest rise: Essentials – up 9.9 per cent to 126,904
  • Biggest fall: Good to Know – down 29.2 per cent to 37,748

Chief executive officer Sylvia Auton said: “The difficult economic climate has made it a challenging time for most UK businesses, and while the magazine market has certainly been affected, it is nonetheless encouraging that we are seeing some clear growth in sectors that focus around the home.

‘As purse strings tighten, the home is becoming increasingly important as the hub for social and family activity, whether it be at-home dining; watching TV; decorating or treating oneself to the odd home improvement. So while the property market may have slowed, the UK’s love affair with the home continues, as the success of Homes and Gardens, Living etc, Ideal Home, Style At Home, Country Homes & Interiors, What’s on TV and Soaplife amply illustrate.

“Consumers are still turning to magazines to inspire, guide and entertain and once again these latest results prove that IPC’s portfolio of brands is perfectly in tune with consumers’ needs.”

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