Magazine ABC highs and lows


A striking year-on-year fall for Bauer’s women’s weekly, which has foregone the usual cover shot for splashing on celebrity stories a la Heat. The result of this radical repositioning – without so much as a press release – has seen sales plummet to 247,390. Significantly though, the year-on-year decline was higher than the period-on-period (down 25 and 21 per cent respectively), suggesting that the title was already in freefall before the March 2007 revamp. The publisher said: ‘This was an anticipated fallout… sales have now levelled and plans are in place to expand Bella’s audience this autumn.’This will be one to watch, considering how Bauer misjudged the mood with its doomed news weekly, In the Know.


It was also a terrible year for Q, if print ABCs are the only metric to be considered. The monthly remains Britain’s biggest-selling music magazine, but recorded a 17.7 per cent year-on-year drop in sales. Emap Metro-Music deputy MD Stuart Williams insisted that the company’s decision a year ago to abandon cover-mount CDs is to blame for the drop. Factoring out the cover-mounts, said Williams, the base sale of Q is actually static. ‘It’s just that the cover-mount CDs had become very expensive,’he said. He added that profit is at record level and that the picture is rosier still if all strands of the Q brand are taken into account: ‘If you look in audience terms, Q has more people consuming it across its brand than ever.”


In October last year New Woman was rebranded under then-editor Helen Johnston to try to put the monthly women’s title in line with Emap weeklies Closer, Grazia and Heat. ‘A fast-paced monthly’was promised, but the title has since lost Johnston (who defected to IPC’s Now), and Emap admits that it suffered from a lack of marketing spend. The result has been a collapse in circulation, down more than 45 per cent to 126,805. Emap said the results reflected ‘huge changes in purchasing behaviour in the glossy monthly market, and a review of marketing activity”. New editor Lauren Libbert has her work cut out.

Doctor Who Adventures

Doctor Who Adventures magazine posted the industry’s biggest year-on-year growth – a staggering 99 per cent – selling 47,000 more copies per issue than the last period. Editor Moray Laing said that the 6-12-year-old boys who read Doctor Who Adventures want the biggest and best monsters in their magazine – a mix of gadget cover-mount, cartoon strips and posters. What’s more extraordinary is how sales have soared despite the BBC One series being off-air. ‘The readers still want their fix of Doctor Who so come to us for the same excitement they get from the programme,’said Laing.


Going against the grain for handbag-size magazines, IPC’s practical-living title Essentials reverted to its original larger size and saw a sales increase of 34.9 per cent year on year to 100,047. This followed an unsuccessful attempt in 2005 to rival early-30-something titles Eve (Haymarket) and Red (Hachette Filipacchi), with a relaunch that prompted only a short-lived boost in sales. Editor Julie Barton-Breck said the December 2006 redesign settled Essentials on the newsstand: ‘We widened it to capture that mid-30s-upwards market, and it was very much about wanting to offer practical modern solutions.”

Car Magazine

It’s been a turnaround year for Emap’s Car Magazine which, after a redesign, posted its first ABC increase for six periods – up 8.92 per cent period- on-period to 80,312. The title’s Andy Thomas also picked up the gong for Designer of the Year (Consumer Magazines) at this year’s PPA awards. Car’s editor, Phil McNamara, said: ‘We have implemented a successful publishing model for the digital age by tailoring our content to the platform where it will have the most impact and best serve the consumer.”


There is an increasing number of examples of how the subscriptions model can do wonders for a magazine’s figures. One of the best is 50-year-old Which? The title has increased its circulation by eight per cent, from 478,000 to 517,000 subscribers. The newly launched Which? Money magazine had 28,000 subscribers, and paying subscribers on Which.co.uk increased by 18 per cent to 167,000, a startlingly successful attempt to make online pay.

Classic Rock

Maintaining its position as the UK’s fastest-growing rock music magazine, Classic Rock posted a 20 per cent year-on-year growth to 67,241 monthly copies. It is the magazine’s sixth consecutive ABC rise and its best-ever sales figure since launching in 1998. Future music publisher Chris Ingham said the title benefits from capturing music lovers across different eras, creating ‘a limitless demographic”, and being non threatening – ‘it doesn’t scare you like Kerrang! or Metal Hammer”. He added that a cultural apathy with packaged pop means readers want more grown-up fare. ‘Classic Rock readers feel you have to go a long way to earn your stripes,’he said.

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