Tune into magazine radio for the bigger picture

If the flurry of press releases that arrived at noon last Thursday was anything to go by, the consumer magazine ABCs no longer measure the success of ‘titles’or ‘magazines”. These old-fashioned terms appear to have been banished from the lexicon of the consumer magazine PRs – to be replaced by ‘brands’and ‘portfolios”.

In an age where Stuff produces podcasts, Kerrang! broadcasts nationally on digital radio, and Nuts has entered the world of television, publishers are eager to see the six-monthly ABCs as just part of a broader picture.

And who can blame them? Taking the men’s sector as a case in point, the majority of titles have seen their headline circulation slide in the past year. Factor in website ABCe figures, radio listening figures from Rajar, download stats from the iTunes chart and Barb viewing figures, and the picture looks a whole lot rosier.

IPC’s weekly lads’ mag Nuts might have shed 8.5 per cent of its sales year on year – down to an average weekly sale of 270,000 – but the latest ABCe figures for nuts.co.uk show a 50 per cent traffic increase between June and November last year to 946,000 monthly unique users.

Put another way, while the printed mag lost 25,000 copy sales, the website gained another 314,000 monthly unique visitors.

Bauer’s rival lads’ weekly, Zoo, is experiencing the same effect. While the print edition dropped 12.5 per cent year on year to 179,000, Zootoday.com recorded 807,000 unique users in January – up from 718,486 in July.

At face value, IPC’s Loaded was one of the worst casualties in the latest batch of magazine sales figures. The monthly title has shed almost 30 per cent of its monthly circulation since this time last year, down 47,500 copies to 115,000.

But for every magazine sale lost, at least two more visitors logged on to loaded.co.uk, which has seen a 50 per cent traffic boost in the past six months, from 207,000 monthly uniques in June to 308,500 in November.

It’s a similar story in the music sector – where a number of titles have launched radio stations that command a bigger audience than their parent print titles. Bauer’s Q lost 9,000 readers year on year, down 6.4 per cent to 131,000 – but its digital radio offshoot, Q Radio, posted a three per cent rise in the same period to 298,000 weekly listeners.

Kerrang!’s circulation fell almost 10 per cent year on year to 77,000, but listening figures for Kerrang! Radio, which broadcasts on FM in the West Midlands and nationally on Freeview, fell just 2.1 per cent. Despite the slight drop, Kerrang! still has a following of 1.34 million adults on air.

Heat, which posted an 11 per cent year-on-year circulation slump to 533,000, posted a 56.7 per cent listening rise, according to Rajar, up from 246,000 to 386,000.

The figures bode well for another Bauer Radio launch later this year, when Closer magazine takes to the airwaves. IPC’s NME is also due to launch a digital radio station later this year.

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