The high drama of the ABCs happened in the week leading up to the results: NW and First were axed by Bauer Consumer Media before they had to publish circulation declines, and New Statesman editor John Kampfner left ahead of a disappointing drop in circulation.
Across the industry, total annualised circulation was up 134 million copies, or 8.6 per cent year on year, for the second half
of 2007, according to the Periodicals Publishers Association. But of this, total annual actively purchased sales were slightly down, by 1.1 per cent, and annual consumer expenditure has remained virtually flat at £1.98bn.
Investment in editorial was key. Natmags reaped circulation rises as reward for its commitment to Esquire and Harpers’ Bazaar. At the other end of the scale, New Woman editor Laura Hibbert said the magazine’s closure was down to the to a lack of support within previous owner Emap.
In the results themselves, monthlies did slightly better than weeklies and circulation growth was largely confined to the mature end of the market. Talk was of investment in established brands – but tellingly – there was no mention of a big launch in the pipeline from any of the big players.