ABC REPORT: HOME AND GARDEN

A calmer housing market has induced levelling off in the home-interest market. Claire Billings reports.

The home-interest magazine market has levelled off in line with the slowdown in property market inflation.

Excluding the customer titles Ikea Rooms and Homebase Ideas, the home-interest market is down 0.8 per cent year on year. It's still a robust sector, though, with a total circulation of 2,303,266.

The star performer in the period between July and December was The National Magazine Company's House Beautiful, which posted a year-on-year rise of 7.1 per cent following its relaunch in October.

Jessica Burley, the group publishing director of women's home and lifestyle at NatMags, said the outlook for the title was good, as it attempts to attack the lead of rival IPC's Ideal Home.

Ideal Home fell slightly but IPC is bullish about its lead, and doesn't see the number two as a threat.

"While NatMags is a very worthy opponent, its relaunch is very different to Ideal Home," Yvonne Ramsden, the publishing director of Ideal Home and Homes & Garden at IPC, says.

The surprise success was Your Home, which NatMags closed last year. The title was bought and relaunched by Essential Publishing and posted a 6.9 per cent increase on its circulation a year ago.

In the gardening sector, BBC Magazines' Gardeners' World still dominates.

Its circulation fall was a reflection of the appalling gardening conditions brought on by the hot summer, according to BBC Magazines' publisher, Dominic Murray.

Verdict The entry of the BBC's Easy Gardening, which will publish seven times next year as opposed to just three this year, is likely to encourage growth, while a new editor at Ideal Home should add spice to the home interest sector as IPC responds to the gauntlet thrown down by NatMags' House Beautiful.

HOME INTEREST

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period Year

on period on year

% change % change

Ideal Home IPC 274,488 0.40 -0.90

House Beautiful NatMags 182,025 6.90 7.10

Country Living NatMags 174,538 2.60 6.40

Homes & Gardens IPC 162,817 0.80 3.10

House & Garden Conde Nast 148,716 0.10 0.10

BBC Homes & Antiques BBC Magazines 141,077 -6.80 -6.20

The Real Homes Magazine Highbury Cabal 130,510 12.40 -5.10

25 Beautiful Homes IPC 128,829 -3.00 -4.20

Your Home Essential

Publishing 123,024 n/a 6.90

Ideal Homes

(Guide to Xmas) IPC 118,468 n/a -8.20

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July - December 2003.

GARDENING

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period Year

on period on year

% change % change

BBC Gardeners' World BBC Magazines 285,772 -20.70 -3.20

BBC Easy Gardening BBC Magazines 61,274 n/a n/a

Garden Answers Emap 60,589 -30.40 -11.10

Amateur Gardening IPC 56,827 -11.40 1.10

Garden News Emap 53,203 -6.70 2.30

The English Garden (UK) Romsey 32,228 -21.00 -12.30

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July - December 2003.

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