At a glance ABCs: How are the big magazine publishers faring?

Trade body the Professional Publishers Association has said that the latest circulation figures showed a continuing improvement in the demand for magazines.

The PPA highlighted several positive areas for the magazine sector:

Circulation within the women’s magazine market grew by 9.2 per cent overall year-on-year, with notable increases in the Cookery and Kitchen (36 per cent), and Lifestyle and Fashion (6.7 per cent), the PPA said.

Leisure magazines as a whole increased circulation by 7.9 per cent and the TV listings market delivered a robust performance, with circulation up 0.4 per cent overall year-on-year.

Current affairs titles posted strong results, with an improvement of 4.9 per cent in the international sub-sector and 2.4 per cent in the domestic sub-sector.

Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA, said: “These very positive ABC results are further evidence of the continued strength of the medium of magazines at a time when many brands are expanding their reach by engaging with audiences on various platforms, from websites and apps to live events.”

But the picture wasn’t rosy all over. Men’s lifestyle titles dipped 5.1 per cent year on year with the large number of free titles distributed each week masking big drops for FHM (down 23.3 per cent year on year), Loaded (down 30.8 per cent year on year) and Zoo (down 32.8 per cent year on year).

The picture was also grim in the women’s weekly market, which fell 8.4 per cent year on year with OK! dropping around a quarter of its sales.

Here’s how some of the leading magazine publishers fared:

BBC Worldwide

• Total circulation up 0.5% to 3,110,197.

• Biggest rise: Lonely Planet Magazine, up 33.4% to 60,106

• Biggest fall: All About Animals, down 25.8% to 32,896

Peter Phippen, MD of BBC Magazines, said: “BBC Magazines has delivered another strong set of ABC results, showing growth for the second successive period and, of the UK’s top five publishers, we are the only company to have shown year on year growth.

“The market – and the weather –have proved challenging to magazine publishers over the past six months but once again BBC Magazines’ brands have shown resilience and, in many cases, fantastic growth, with the whole portfolio up 5.5 per cent period on period.”

IPC Media

• Total circulation down 1.1% to 6,562,956.

• Biggest rise: Essentials, up 12.7% to 126,379

• Biggest fall: Nuts, down 19.6% to 142,212

Sylvia Auton, IPC Media chief executive, said: “IPC continues its commitment to a strategy of investment in developing compelling and entertaining content.

“This set of ABCs shows that commitment is paying off in a number of key sectors. Despite a range of challenging circumstances we have delivered outstanding performances on our pillar brands.”

Hachette Filipacchi

• Total circulation up 0.1% to 882,585

• Biggest rise: Elle Decoration, up 14.1% to 68,507

• Biggest fall: Psychologies Magazine, down 8.2% to 120,119

Kevin Hand, chairman of Hachette Filipacchi UK, said: “A printed magazine and a healthy paid-for circulation remain at the very heart of most successful magazine brands.

“So it is with great delight that we announce such a strong set of ABC figures, with volume increases and share gains across the portfolio, as well as highest-ever circulation figures for Red and ELLE Decoration.

“Meanwhile, our digital business continues to exceed expectation with record levels of organic traffic and page views for Digital Spy, ELLEuk.com and Sugarscape.com, while our most recent launch, Redonline.co.uk, looks set to be nothing short of a runaway success.

“Today’s figures are a true testament to the strength of our brands and the highly talented teams working on them.”

Bauer Media

• Total circulation down 8.6% to 3,569,610

• Biggest rise: Model Railway, up 5.2% to 29,817

• Biggest fall: Zoo, down 32.8% to 68,610

Paul Keenan, chief executive, said: “Bauer Media’s portfolio of world class, influential and trusted magazines continue to be purchased in their millions.

“They sit at the core of the business and underpin our commitment to deepen our relationships with audiences in a multiplatform world, further extending and enriching client conversations with their customers.”

Reader’s Digest

• Total circulation down 6.8% to 3,569,610

• Biggest fall: Reader’s Digest, down 6.8% to 433,353

David Titmuss, chief executive of Reader’s Digest, said: “The ABC results reveal that Reader’s Digest’s circulation is in fact growing.

“Over a period of six months total average net circulation has risen by 7.4 per cent compared to the first half 2010, from 403,458 (January – July 2010) to 433,353 (July – December 2010).

“Our aggressive marketing drive is just the first of many that will help drive circulation over the next three years. The impressive increase in just six months clearly demonstrates that this model has already delivered positive results for the brand and will continue to do so.”


• Total circulation up 1.2% to 538,857

• Biggest rise: Ben 10, up 11.1% to 71,104

• Biggest fall: Dora The Explorer, down 22% to 35,537

Debbie Cook, director of magazines, said: “Egmont has delivered another set of strong ABC results with some really exceptional performers in Ben 10 and Toy Story.

“I am delighted that we have continued to a build on our success in a tough market, by managing a diverse portfolio and growing our smaller titles while maintaining the success of our bigger brands.

“By keeping up a constant dialogue through our programme of consumer research we have been able to give our readers magazines they love, with imaginative and original content along with exciting gifts.”

The National Magazine Company

• Total circulation down 2.4% to 3,112,939

• Biggest rise: Harpers Bazaar, up 8.2% to 119,712

• Biggest fall: Prima Baby, down 23.2% to 33,542

Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chief executive of NatMag, said: “Yet again, strong performances from NatMag titles.

“Our weekly titles, in particular, have again bucked the downward trend, while our women’s lifestyle titles have shown considerable growth with Good Housekeeping and Country Living outperforming their nearest rivals and delivering a fantastic set of ABC figures.

“We are proud of our brands and continue to offer our advertisers an open and transparent view of our position in the market.

“The strength of our brands also allows us to take full advantage of cross-platform innovations and new revenue streams, and provides us with a firm foundation for the future growth of the company.”

Condé Nast

• Total circulation down 1.8% to 1,566,536

• Biggest rise: Wired, up 3.7% to 50,044

• Biggest fall: Conde Nast Brides, down 5.9% to 64,523 and Easy Living, down 5.9 per cent to 160, 061

Nicholas Coleridge, Managing Director of Condé Nast, said: “We are delighted with the resilience of our high end glossy monthlies. Our titles continue to dominate their sectors and our quality journalism has been rewarded with loyalty from our sophisticated readers.

“Subscriptions across the portfolio have risen by 9% in the UK. Commercially, after double-digit growth in advertising pages last year, we’re seeing a continuing bounce in 2011.”

Haymarket Consumer Media

• Total circulation down 4% to 642,613

• Biggest rise: What Car?, up 5% to 87,268

• Biggest fall: Four Four Two, down 12.7% to 90,077

David Prasher, Managing Director, said: “Our robust ABC performance has come from our long term investment in producing high quality, highly targeted, specialist magazines.

“Our brands have outperformed the market in many sectors. Our success with subscriptions, which make up 36% of paid circulation, and where revenue has grown year on year, shows how much we are valued by our most loyal customers.

“We’re able to demonstrate to our advertisers that this approach continues to deliver engaged audiences with which they can connect and this becomes even more compelling as Haymarket’s multi-faceted brands grow their digital audiences.

“Newstrade circulation is an important indicator, but only part of the picture: overall, Haymarket Consumer Media achieved significant growth in 2010, a clear indication of the health and success of our consumer brands in all formats.”

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