Mixed fortunes for magazines

Future

Chief executive Stevie Spring’s tactic of ‘getting back to basics’is showing signs of working for Future, with overall circulation up 6.8 per cent year on year. Growth on the console titles in Future’s games magazines has boosted that sector, which is up 23 per cent year on year. However, with the exception of .NET – which is up 38 per cent – many computer titles saw a decline: PC Answers, PC Format and PC Gamer, PC Plus and PC Zone are all down between 10-18 per cent. Classic Rock was up seven per cent year on year, overtaking IPC’s NME, but elsewhere in the music sector, Metal Hammer was down 6.5 per cent.

Hachette Filipacchi

Significant rises in circulation for Psychologies and both its TV titles contributed to Hachette Filipacchi’s one per cent year-on-year growth. The thinking women’s monthly was up 21.5 per cent, while All About Soap was up 28.2 per cent and Inside Soap 5.7 per cent. Only two titles saw a decrease: Women’s monthly Elle was down 2.7 per cent year on year, although a recent fashion-revamp has yet to take effect; and long-suffering teen title Sugar is down 21.6 per cent. It is hoped Hachette Filipacchi’s new digital unit’s recently unveiled social bookmarking website for Sugar will boost the title.

IPC

Overall circulation for the UK’s biggest publisher was down 3.6 per cent year on year. Chief executive Sylvia Auton claimed that ‘value growth is up six per cent on the year”, however, with IPC’s aggressive cover price policy meaning increases for the majority of its core titles. Specialist titles Shoot, Rugby World and Caravan magazines were among those to see an increase in circulation. Both men’s titles, Loaded and Nuts, saw a decline, as did music weekly NME, which was down 12.3 per cent year on year, but all three show healthy growth in their group-product report thanks to impressive increases in ABCe figures for their websites.

Natmags

A big investment last year in the redesigns of Esquire and Harpers continues to reap benefits, with Harpers up 3.1 per cent and Esquire 14 per cent. The biggest boost came from seaside lifestyle Coast, up 17 per cent. These, however, failed to boost overall figures for the company, which saw a small decline of 0.3 per cent year on year – due in part to a drop of 5.3 per cent in women’s monthly Company, a seven per cent decline in House Beautiful and 7.9 per cent in Prima. A joint venture with Australian Publisher ACP saw a loss on three titles – Best, Real People and Reveal were down 9.1 per cent overall.

Northern & Shell

Total circulation for Northern and Shell Group titles was up 7.6 per cent. OK!, with an increase of 7.6 per cent to 1,453,984, was able to take the top spot in the celebrity-weeklies market, while stablemate and fellow celeb-weekly Star was up 13.4 per cent to 305,806. New, another celebrity title with a smattering of real life, saw an increase – up 1.7 per cent year on year.

Bauer Consumer Media

BCM, the new name for the Emap division bought by Bauer, has already shut ailing women’s magazines First and NW this month. All eyes therefore will be on the circulation declines elsewhere in the portfolio, to see if any other titles could be under threat. There were few highlights and the group was down 9.9 per cent overall, with a raft of year-on-year declines of more than 10 per cent posted. Big name brands like Arena and FHM were down 27 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. Its motoring titles struggled too, with Maxpower down 36 per cent year on year and Emap’s first magazine, Motorcycle News, down 4.1 per cent.

BBC Worldwide

Solid performances from its biggest money-spinners Top Gear and Radio Times helped BBC Magazines achieve seven per cent year-on-year growth. Food titles Olive and Easy Cook showed extraordinary year-on-year growth, chalking up 25.3 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Its teen music title Top of the Pops enjoyed a resurgence too.

Older children’s titles, Balamory, Bob the Builder and Fimbles all took big hits, although the overall impact was balanced out by new launches such as In the Night Garden, which debuted with a circulation of 110,350, and Cbeebies Weekly, which has a circulation of in excess of 65,000 a week.

Bristol Magazines, its wholly-owned subsidiary, performed strongly with BBC Focus, Gardens Illustrated and History magazine posting around 10 per cent increases year on year.

Condé Nast

A fairly flat performance from the luxury publishing house, down two per cent year on year, but up 4.8 per cent period on period. Glamour and GQ remain top of their respective sectors but the latter still includes some bulk sales. More than a tenth of GQ’s circulation is in bulk sales or free distribution, and it’s a pattern repeated across the portfolio in titles such as Tatler and Easy Living. But Condé Nast manages to pull in an enviable amount of advertising, as evidenced by Vogue’s biggest March issue at 430 pages, including 282 pages of ads. Glamour has been fighting it out against Natmags’ Cosmopolitan, selling more than 80,000 of its 436,851 newsstand copie at a lower rate.

Dennis Publishing

Dennis has already launched its second digimag this month and has bought up online current affairs magazine The First Post as its focus shifts from print. Its men’s digimag Monkey enjoyed its third consecutive ABCe increase, by 10.7 per cent period on period. In print, the picture is not so encouraging: Men’s monthly Maxim was down over 40 per cent, Bizarre down 17.4 per cent and Computer Shopper down 18.3 per cent year on year. But Men’s Fitness retains some muscle in its market, staying flat, while star title The Week was up 7.7 per cent year on year.

H Bauer

It still has the top-selling women’s real-life weekly Take a Break, which managed to hang on to that golden one million circulation figure. That success is boosted by a number of Take a Break spin-offs including Take a Puzzle, which was up 10 per cent year on year. But traditional women’s weekly Bella struggled after a redesign targeted at a younger, celebrity-obsessed reader and the title was down almost 30 per cent year on year as a result, though 10 per cent in the last six-month period suggesting the decline has lessened. The decline of TV Quick by 14 per cent year on year was another blow.

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