ABC REPORT: TV LISTINGS TITLES

The TV listings market overall saw a slight fall in ABCs but the budget titles performed well.

The TV listings market saw an overall 0.3 per cent year-on-year decline but magazines increasing their frequency and the launch of Total TV Guide by H Bauer suggests the market is still open for growth.

IPC's What's on TV retained its market-leading position despite a period-on-period decline. The title has maintained a cover price higher than that of its rival TV Choice.

BBC Magazines' Radio Times saw a 0.3 per cent decline but Marcus Arthur, the publishing director of Radio Times, describes the magazine's performance as "robust" in the face of increased competition. For the first time, however, What's on TV outsold Radio Times at Christmas, registering a sale 146,000 higher than the BBC title.

The budget end of the listings market continued to do well and H Bauer's TV Choice experienced steady growth, nudging its sales over the one million mark.

Growth of low-priced titles has hit sales of the mid-priced range. IPC's TV Times and TV & Satellite Week both saw declines. Pippa Pollard, the publishing director at IPC tx, explains that the market has been highly competitive this year with the launch of Total TV Guide in September, which is in direct competition with TV & Satellite Week. Pollard says TV & Satellite Week has not been dented as much as feared. Total TV Guide has yet to post an ABC figure, but is said to be selling just in excess of 100,000.

In the soaps market, Hachette Filipacchi's All About Soap performed well with a 10.6 per cent increase in sales. Inside Soap remained the market-leader. Grace Stewart, the publisher of All About Soap and Inside Soap, explained that its 19 per cent period-on-period drop is because the magazine has doubled its frequency from fortnightly to weekly. "Year-on-year sales of Inside Soap have gone from 247,699 to 200,582, while its frequency has doubled. This means 153,000 additional copies are being sold in each fortnightly period," she says.

Verdict The television listings market is bearing up to challenges from listings in newspapers and women's magazines. The soaps sector looks particularly healthy and with IPC's Soaplife increasing its circulation from monthly to fortnightly and Treble Media launching Into Soap on 11 February, this appears to be one market where growth and innovation will occur.

TV LISTINGS

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period Year

on period on year

% change % change

What's on TV IPC 1,654,843 -2.10 1.50

Radio Times BBC Magazines 1,157,481 -0.30 -0.30

TV Choice H Bauer 1,017,468 5.10 12.70

TV Times IPC 524,131 -1.00 -7.50

TV Quick H Bauer 375,780 -4.70 -10.00

TV & Satellite Week IPC 224,003 -12.00 -9.50

Inside Soap Hachette Filipacchi 200,582 -19.00 -15.50

All About Soap Hachette Filipacchi 112,127 5.70 10.60

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

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