Although the progress of some individual magazines cannot be
checked by any comparative ABCs, the PC and internet market as a whole
is without doubt one of the most buoyant. It is also one of the most
fast-moving and aggressively competitive.
’You can’t just put anything out and think it will stick,’ Jane Ingham,
Future Publishing’s managing director, said. The company’s internet
magazines alone rose by more than 80 per cent, albeit from a relatively
She expects year-on-year growth of up to 20 per cent.
The PC small-business market - served by magazines such as Computer
Shopper, PC Plus and PC Pro - has been beset by heavy price-cutting. PC
Plus held its cover price and, as a result, lost nearly 8 per cent of
its ’more fickle readers’, as Ingham puts it.
The real success story, however, is VNU’s Computeractive. Launched in
February 1998, its sales rose by a 46 per cent to 325,836, the majority
of which are newsstand sales - a significant achievement in such a
crowded and competitive market. Juliet Parker, the magazine’s publishing
director, said: ’Our growth is from new people coming into the market.
They are new to PCs, to the net and magazines.’ She expects to see the
market grow but warns that it can’t go on forever. ’Thirty-seven per
cent of homes have PCs and I can’t see it going much further than 45 per
cent - so there is a ceiling,’ she added.
Verdict VNU is investing a further pounds 1.8 million in marketing
More launches - especially in the internet and small business sectors -
are expected. As long as PlayStation is popular, the magazines will
Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on
period % year
PlayStation Future 351,775 -8.8 -7.5
Computeractive VNU 325,836 n/a 45.7
Computer Shopper Future 173,539 n/a 2.5
PC Pro Future 165,957 n/a 13.6
PC World VNU 146,704 8.3 -0.5
PC Plus Future 111,054 -12.4 -7.7
PC Format Future 102,810 5.3 7.8
PC Gamer Future 83,669 8.3 22.6
the net Haymarket 66,220 n/a n/a
What PC VNU 55,077 -12.4 -2.8
.Net Future 47,702 2.2 n/a
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 1999)