ABC FIGURES: Men's sector bounces back from recent dip

FHM has halted its recent dip in circulation, consolidating its position as the market leader in the men's magazine sector.

Despite suffering a year-on-year drop in readership of more than 17 per cent, Emap will be encouraged by the title's 1.8 per cent period-on-period increase, which gives it almost double the circulation of its nearest rival Loaded.

FHM's publishing director, James Carter, said: "There has been a trend toward cover promotions in this sector recently, but we've only promoted three out of every 12 issues, looking instead to invest in being different and keeping things fresh in terms of content and packaging."

IPC's Loaded continued its recovery, with a very small rise in readership, while the last period's whipping boy, Maxim, has steadied the ship by reducing its circulation loss to only 2.3 per cent.

With second-tier titles Bizarre, GQ and Front all suffering significant losses, it seems that stability is the best the lads' mags can hope for.

Only Men's Fitness has achieved a growth in circulation worth shouting about. However, the overall sales for men's mags were up by almost 12 per cent for this period.

VERDICT: Overdue good news for FHM, and on the whole this sector seems to have avoided the huge circulation losses it suffered in the last ABCs.

However, whether this new-found stability is the beginning of a men's mag renaissance remains to be seen.

MEN'S MAGAZINES
TITLE              PUBLISHER        TOTAL ABC     PERIOD ON      YEAR ON
                                                   PERIOD %         YEAR
FHM                Emap               580,738           1.8       -17.10
Loaded             IPC                309,041          0.10          1.2
Maxim              Dennis             270,159         -2.30       -11.40
Men's Health       Rodale Press       216,983           0.7          1.8
Front              Cabal              140,599          -8.5         -7.5
Wallpaper          IPC                131,075         -0.70        -1.70
GQ                 Conde Nast         116,380         -7.60        -2.10
Bizarre            IFG                 97,036         -7.80       -13.40
Esquire            Nat Mags            62,005          0.00         0.00
Stuff              Haymarket           56,571          1.70          N/A
The Face           Emap                52,119         -5.80       -13.30
Men's Fitness      Dennis              50,056          7.50         8.10
Arena              Emap                38,326          0.40       -23.60
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2002).

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