ABC FIGURES: TV listings titles grow in uncertain market

Viewer interest in event TV has helped to buoy the uncertain TV listings sector. Year on year, the sector was up by 1.1 per cent, with notable performances by the cut-price H Bauer's TV Choice and IPC's Soaplife.

Programmes such as the Martin Bashir Tonight Special with Michael Jackson and the "killer Corrie" Coronation Street storyline contributed to this growth.

Pippa Pollard, a director of IPC TX, said: "TV is back on sparkling form and, with TV that exciting, you can bet TV magazines will be too."

IPC's What's on TV remained the clear market leader and there was good news for the BBC's Radio Times, which stabilised its performance ahead of its 80th birthday.

Marcus Arthur, the publisher of the Radio Times, said that the results were particularly pleasing as they marked the first time that Radio Times recorded a year-on-year increase as well as a period-on-period one.

Arthur attributed the magazine's success to the editorial changes instigated by Gill Hudson, who took the editorship last June. "We've managed to bring in new readers without alienating our existing ones," he said.

Grace Stewart, the group publisher at Hachette Filipacchi, said: "Our confidence in what is overall an uncertain TV magazine market is reflected in our continuing dominant share with Inside Soap alone accounting for more than half the magazines sold in the sector. We have every reason as a company to place full confidence in these titles and their teams.

"Hachette plans to take Inside Soap from a fortnightly to a weekly. This change will happen on 2 September," she added.

Verdict The sector cannot afford to rely on the TV companies to prop up its circulation. In the face of competition from other sources of TV listings, diversification is key to maintaining market share.

TV LISTINGS MAGAZINES

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year

What's on TV IPC 1,689,621 3.60 1.40

Radio Times BBC 1,161,019 0.10 0.50

TV Choice H Bauer 967,807 7.20 12.30

TV Times IPC 529,632 -6.60 -7.20

TV Quick H Bauer 394, 251 -5.60 -10.40

TV & Satellite Week IPC 254,445 2.80 0.90

Inside Soap Hachette 247,699 4.40 -2.00

Soaplife IPC 115,071 0.10 12.00

All About Soap Hachette 106,049 4.60 1.80

TV NOW! Minjara 34,452 1.60 -1.40

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2003).

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