TV Choice vying for top spot

Bauer has signalled its intent to challenge TV listings market leader IPC as its budget title TV Choice gained substantial ground on its rival.

IPC's What's On TV held on to its position at the top of the TV listings titles, posting an ABC of 1,509,519 down 9.8 per cent year on year. Bauer's TV Choice was up 11.2 per cent year on year to 1,287,773.

Bauer's TV listings publishing director Julie Lavington said: "What's On TV's position as the top-selling title is under severe threat from TV Choice."

Colin Tough, editor of What's On TV, said: "TV Choice's increase in circulation was solely down to lowering its price from 40p to 33p, which has taken some older, price-conscious and less affluent [readers]."

He added: "What we've found in research on prices is that if you want a decent package, you go for the 40p option every time." What's On TV will increase its price from 40p to 42p in September.

Bauer's TV Quick is upping its cover price from 70p to 75p and is to be relaunched in September with more celeb gossip, after its sales fell 16.4 per cent year on year to 262,172. Its IPC rival, TV Easy, also took a dramatic hit, falling 11.3 per cent to 301,576.

At the premium end of the market, the BBC's Radio Times had a fall of 0.9 per cent year on year to 1,070,042, while IPC's TV Times — relaunched since the axing of editor Mike Hollingsworth — was down 10.9 per cent year on year to 372,712.

Radio Times publisher Kathy Day said it would take time "to turn around" the BBC title, but added: "It's a slow and steady strategy — get the product right, understand your consumer, be distinctive in your marketplace and market it right. It's not rocket science. And they can all scrabble at the bottom of the market with their soap covers and their 35ps versus 34ps — that's not my market, that's not my game."

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