ABC FIGURES: Small publishers have the most to celebrate

A mixed bag of ABC results left some of the UK’s major publishing houses licking their wounds, while the smaller operations, Future Publishing and Dennis Publishing, made notable strides.

A mixed bag of ABC results left some of the UK’s major publishing

houses licking their wounds, while the smaller operations, Future

Publishing and Dennis Publishing, made notable strides.

Of the large publishers, the National Magazine Company had the most to

celebrate, with all its titles bar Good Housekeeping showing both

month-on-month and year-on-year sales increases. Terry Mansfield,

NatMags’ managing director, said the company would now target the

health, men’s and parenting sectors in a bid to expand further. It has

already announced the impending launch of Zest for Men.

But the greatest strides were made by Future Publishing, with a 47 per

cent increase in sales across its portfolio. Future, which is up for

sale, plans launches in its computing, living, sports and entertainment

divisions this year. Meanwhile, Dennis Publishing, a recent newcomer to

the consumer publishing market, saw its men’s style title, Maxim, grow

faster than either FHM or Loaded.

For IPC, however, Loaded was an isolated success story. The resurgence

of 19 and the growth of What’s on TV were others, but they were hidden

in a string of falling circulation figures. Against this background, the

newly independent IPC stayed bullish, announcing a blueprint for growth,

led by a pounds 7.5 million autumn marketing push and a near-doubling of

the sales staff in the Music and Sports group. In addition to the 17

launches already announced by the chief executive, Mike Matthew

(Campaign, 5 June), more are planned before the end of the year.

Chris Boyd, the managing director of IPC Southbank, said: ’There’s a lot

of work in progress with key brands in key sectors. A number of the

declines are half what they were. You can’t turn these things around


Meanwhile, Emap was buoyed by the performance not only of FHM but also

of Emap Elan’s ’middle youth’ women’s monthly, Red, which exceeded its

target circulation of 180,000 by 10,000. For Elan, however, this and the

success of New Woman, was tempered by the decline in sales of its teen

title, More, bringing a promise of ’significant changes’ from the

managing director, Paul Keenan.

Both BBC Magazines and Conde Nast had their share of successes. Four BBC

titles - Match of the Day, Top Gear, Homes & Antiques and Gardener’s

World - recorded their best ever sales, while Conde Nast’s titles all

recorded sales increases either period on period or year on year.

However, only two - Vogue and World of Interiors - recorded consistent


The fastest-growing sector involved the Sony Playstation titles, which

were up by 103 per cent overall. The market leader, the Official

Playstation Magazine, published by Future, was up 114 per cent to


Gruner & Jahr celebrated a first ABC of 170,000 for its home-interest

launch, Your Home, while H. Bauer, whose titles are not audited by the

ABC, announced modest year-on-year and period-on-period declines for

Take a Break, Bella and TV Quick, while That’s Life was the only women’s

weekly to register a year-on-year (5.3 per cent) and period-on-period

(0.2 per cent) sales increase.


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