The men's magazine market continued to be a rollercoaster ride for its publishers, with FHM, Maxim and Front riding high, while titles such as Later, Sky and Esquire suffered substantial circulation falls. Bulk sales also played an important role in beefing up a number of titles' figures.
Emap's FHM has maintained its number one spot, with a year-on-year increase of 2 per cent to 716,679. Its IPC rival, Loaded, still has a rather unsteady existence. It's down 5.4 per cent year on year to 351,353, although it attained its first nominal period-on-period increase of 0.4 per cent for two years. Mike Soutar, the managing director of IPC ignite!, said: 'We're not out of the woods yet. We've only just begun.'
Dennis Publishing's Maxim is snapping at Loaded's heels, with 328,463, while Cabal Communication's lads magazine Front posted an increase of 6.3 per cent year on year to 150,693. However, with the bulk sales stripped out, the overall figure shrinks by just under 11 per cent.
While the performance of FHM and The Face will have lifted Emap's spirits, the substantial decline of Sky. The magazine underwent a revamp in the second half of last year to broaden its appeal, but will be giving the publisher some headaches with the figures. Year on year the title was down 35 per cent to 65,080, although period on period it was up 6.6 per cent.
The National Magazine Company's Esquire, which has moved lads' magazines towards a more upmarket approach, has seen its sales sink by 39 per cent to 61,271, which includes a bulk sale of 13,114. Duncan Edwards, the deputy managing director of NatMags, said: 'The recent NRS figures show that we're the most upmarket quality men's magazine and I would argue that we're the only one.'
Despite a weak performance from its older men's title Later, IPC is adamant that the title has a long-term future.
Verdict The performance of titles such as FHM and Maxim proves that the men's market has still got room for growth. Loaded is hoping to revive its performance with its new editor, Keith Kendrick, and the launch of Project Floyd by Emap, a new lifestyle magazine looking at workplace issues, shows the potential for niche sector growth.
Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Yr on yr
FHM Emap 716,679 0.1 2.0
Loaded IPC 351,353 0.4 -5.4
Maxim Dennis 328,463 0.7 4.2
Men''s Health Rodale Press 235,851 0.0 0.9
Front Cabal 150,693 5.3 6.3
GQ Conde Nast 140,112 1.4 -1.4
Wallpaper Time-Life 134,402 3.1 6.7
Bizarre John Brown 119,057 1.4 -1.2
Later IPC 70,267 -8.8 -22.4
The Face Emap 66,364 1.6 8.2
Sky Emap 65,080 6.6 -35.2
Esquire NatMags 61,271 -13.0 -39.0
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2000)