NatMags reveals monthly sales

Edwards: overwhelming response

The National Magazine Company this week became the first major magazine publisher to release monthly circulation figures – but rival publishers have so far shown no signs of following suit.

NatMags released retrospective monthly figures for all of its portfolio of titles – including Company, Cosmopolitan and Esquire – on Tuesday, as a trial to gauge reaction from media agencies and advertisers.

Managing director Duncan Edwards said the response had been overwhelmingly positive, and that he had “no idea” why other publishers were not doing the same thing.

He said he believed media agencies would not use the figures to renegotiate advertising rates.

He added: “We have done this in response to repeated industry demands for greater transparency in monthly sales trends.

“I think it’s usually a good thing to do what your customers want.

“I think the advertisers and agencies would like to see patterns and trends in the sales data which would enable them to make some judgements about future sales, but they may find out it’s just not as easy as that.

“We’ve got a high number of variables going on in the market which influence the copy sales in any given month.

“Apart from what your own magazines are doing, with covers and marketing, there is also what’s happening elsewhere in the magazine business and beyond – even the weather affects magazine sales.

“So it won’t be as simple as saying: ‘they put this person on the cover and it sold this amount so let’s do it again’.”

The month-by-month breakdown of figures, available on the NatMags website, dates back to February 2003.

In future, the company intends to publish monthly data retrospectively at the same time as the official six-monthly average from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

BBC Magazines has stated it would not follow the move, while other companies have not released comment on it this week.

Edwards said: “I can’t imagine why they won’t do it.

“I suppose their numbers may be more volatile than ours. It think it would be a good thing if everyone did release monthly figures if it would attract more advertisers to use the magazines business.”

The ABC declined to comment on whether it welcomed the move, and would only say it did not contravene ABC rules.

? NatMags’ women’s weekly Reveal , launched just seven weeks ago, has announced that its first two issues both sold more than 300,000 copies.

The company said Reveal, with a print run of 500,000, had outperformed targets.

The magazine, a glossy which includes a mix of celebrity, lifestyle and television listings, has been compared with rival Emap’s Closer , which was launched two years ago and has a circulation of 500,000.

Revea ‘s launch was backed by a £16m marketing spend and a year of research and development.

Edwards said: “Initial sales indicate that Reveal is set to become a serious contender in the women’s weekly sector”

By Alyson Fixter

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