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.