Pop titles fight for shrinking teen audience

Smash Hits and Top Of The Pops magazines will battle for control of
the shrinking teenage entertainment market this year after a 13 per
cent drop in year-on-year sales for market leader Top Of The Pops ,
compared with a 10 per cent jump for Smash Hits.

Top Of The Pops
, which is currently published monthly, is due to go fortnightly in
April, putting it in direct competition with closest rival Smash Hits
for the first time.

Chiefs at Smash Hits publisher Emap said they would “relish” the opportunity to go head to head with Top Of The Pops .

Top Of The Pops currently sells 200,907 copies a month, compared with Smash Hits’ sale of 126,100 a fortnight.

Elsewhere in the sector, Top Of The Pops stablemate It’s Hot! fell 13 per cent year-on-year to 101,547, while TVHits!

and Sneak also lost sales, down 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

Marcus
Rich, managing director of Emap Performance, said: ” Smash Hits is in a
tough market, and total sales continue to go down, but I don’t think
that’s a bad thing if you have a very strong product.

” Smash Hits is the only mag to grow year-on-year, and it’s asserting its position as the premier pop title.

“It’ll
be quite interesting to see what happens with Top Of The Pops now it’s
head to head. It’s a battle we quite relish,” he added.

He
claimed the BBC was risking alienating its teenage audience by moving
the programme to BBC Two, and this could affect sales of the magazine.

But
Alfie Lewis, publisher of Top Of The Pops , insisted the title could
still rely on a loyal teenage readership despite the changes to the
programme.

He said: “The people who watch the programme and read the magazine are in different age groups.

” TOTP readers come back to the magazine because it has unrivalled behind-the-scenes access to popstars.

“If
Christina Aguilera comes to the UK, all the mags get five minutes with
her wearing the same clothes, and she’s tired. Top Of The Pops can get
hold of her backstage at the show and get a different perspective.”

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