The magazine groups: How they fared this time

Bauer

The German giant still has two of only four one-million selling titles in TV Choice and Take A Break, but it seems to have made a series of ill-judged moves in the past 12 months from In the Know, which has already closed, and the relaunch of Bella as a celebrity weekly. The latter’s circulation is subsequently down 25 per cent year on year. An overall decline of 3.5 per cent resulted.

BBC Worldwide

BBC Magazines saw a 2.6 per cent year-on-year growth spurred by an almost 100 per cent circulation increase for Doctor Who Adventures and roughly double-digit increases for two food titles: Easy Cook and Olive. It still holds only one of four UK titles that sells in excess of one million copies per issue, the Radio Times (it has a retail spending value of £46.8m a year), and was the first publisher to issue a Group Product Report. Top Gear enjoyed its ninth consecutive period of growth and highest-ever ABC figure as the magazine hit 195,404 circulation.

Condé Nast

The luxury publishing group saw circulation drop by two per cent overall but will be reassured by a steely showing across all its nine consumer titles. Only its young women’s monthly – Glamour – declined in year- on-year circulation – down 7.1 per cent but still the top-selling women’s title at 544,653. Big blockbuster titles like GQ, Tatler and Vanity Fair and Condé Nast Traveller rose in sales but with some bulk sales – 6,727 out of GQ’s 127,886.

Dennis

A mixed bag for Felix Dennis’s UK portfolio in the year he sold most of his US assets. Outstanding success for the one title he held on to Stateside, The Week, doesn’t hide the fact that niche interest titles Bizarre and Fortean Times both had double digit declines in sales. Overall circulation was down 4.8 per cent as a result. Maxim had 26.3 per cent circulation decline year on year, but the company counters this with its 72.5 per cent year-on-year growth for the website, with 851,739 unique users per month. CEO James Tye said the company currently gets a quarter of its advertising revenue from online activity and that Monkey-style launches are in the pipeline. The publisher has confirmed that there will be 10 digital launches by the end of 2007.

Emap

Circulation figures may be the least of Emap’s worries, which had a tumultuous 12 months, from axing staff as part of a new digital drive to confirming that it would look at a sale of its component parts. An uneven overall performance has resulted, down 7.7 per cent – with editorial innovation like Grazia showing strong circulation increases and Heat and Closer retaining the top spots in the celebrity weekly market. But older titles have struggled: FHM is down 25.9 per cent with newer, expensive launches like Zoo slipping rapidly in the market, down 18 per cent.

Future

Good times at Future following the appointment of Stevie Spring to the chief executive post last year. Titles were closed and resources used more efficiently across platforms as well as a number of considered online launches. A 3.3 per cent overall year-on-year change is boosted by over 20 per cent growth for Classic Rock and Digital Camera magazine. The publisher is subject to the ebb and flow of the gaming market with notable declines in its PlayStation portfolio.

Hachette

The Hachette portfolio is up 3.2 per cent overall, thanks to both innovation and reliance on solid performers. The latter, its TV soap titles, were up year on year. Thinking women’s monthly Psychologies, borrowed from a French format, has succeeded against the odds and shows a 25 per cent year-on-year rise to 130,101. Concern for moderate declines in its fashion bible, Elle, and its teen magazine, Sugar, may suggest innovation might be needed elsewhere. The company has been belatedly busy hiring digital directors to progress online.

Haymarket

Eve was down since the last ABCs period almost five per cent, with a top-line figure that included some bulk sales. Football monthly Four Four Two suffered 6.9 per cent decline. Stuff, which has been particularly innovative online stayed steady at 92,793 circulation.

IPC

The biggest publisher is celebrating the launch of Look with circulation in excess of 318,000. Other highlights include Essentials and Soaplife. There has to be concern over most of its sectors – from men’s, music, women’s weeklies to TV listings. The biggest casualty was Loaded, but perhaps a more significant indicator of the tiredness of the boobs and banter format was the crash of Nuts, down nine per cent year on year – in the period editor Phil Hilton left to launch an more upmarket men’s title, the free Shortlist. Overall, the publisher’s circulation was down 5.4 per cent year on year.

Natmags

A solid performance from Natmags, which has recently invested heavily in two major overhauls on Esquire and Harpers – both of which have produced steady circulation in the interim period – which must be of some comfort. A redesign for flagging monthly Company is also on the cards for the autumn. It was down 3.8 per cent year on year. She, which has suffered of late, shows the biggest increase in circulation year on year by 15.8 per cent. Overall circulation was down 0.5 per cent. Its joint venture with Australian publisher ACP suffered an overall decline of 2.4 per cent, but its celebrity weekly Reveal was the only title to rise in its market.

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