ABC FIGURES: What's on TV remains unbeaten by its rivals

The television listings market has had a tough ride during this ABC period, with all titles except TV & Satellite Week experiencing falls in circulation.

The television listings market has had a tough ride during this ABC period, with all titles except TV & Satellite Week experiencing falls in circulation.

IPC.tx's What's On TV, the market leader, was down 2.3 per cent year on year to 1,701,064. It has stabilised its sales decline from the last ABC period and remains well ahead of BBC Magazine's Radio Times, however.

Referring to the threat posed to What's on TV last year by the new arrival TV Choice, Caroline Ward, IPC.tx's managing director, said: 'Rocks don't get more solid. No matter what you throw at it, you just can't shake it.'

The Radio Times registered a year-on-year drop of 5.4 per cent to 1,264,315, which included a bulk sale of 32,183, the highest recorded bulk in the TV listings category.

H Bauer's TV Choice still holds a substantial chunk of the market, with a sale of 732,259, but suffered a fall in circulation of just under 7 per cent. This may have been caused, in part, by the refusal of retailers such as WH Smith to stock the title because they argued that they did not have sufficient shelf space.

IPC's TV & Satellite Week bucked the overall market trend, with a generous rise of 22.4 per cent to 221,018. TV Times, meanwhile, had a tougher time with a drop of 12.9 per cent to 689,137. Despite this, Ward remained bullish about the title's future: 'We'll drive it back to stability and growth. We did it once and we'll do it again.'

Niche titles, such as Attic Futura's Inside Soap and All About Soap, dropped by 8.5 per cent and 14.6 per cent respectively indicating that this market has also reached maturation.

Verdict The television titles suffered an overall decline in sales, with the top four titles losing sales of more than 300,000 per issue, but the growth of TV & Satellite Week indicates that in the multi-channel TV market there is still demand for magazines over electronic programme guides.


Title                 Publisher     Total ABC   Period on   Yr on yr

                                                 period %

What''s on TV          IPC           1,701,064        -0.4       -2.3

Radio Times           BBC           1,264,315         1.1       -5.4

TV Choice             H Bauer         732,259        -6.7        n/a

TV Times              IPC             689,137        -2.3      -12.9

TV Quick              H Bauer         553,148        -4.4      -13.4

Inside Soap           Attic Futura    241,328        -5.7       -8.5

TV & Satellite Week   IPC             221,018         4.5       22.4

Soaplife              IPC             131,100         5.6        n/a

All About Soap        Attic Futura    111,099        -8.3      -14.6

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2000)


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