The battle between National Magazines and IPC for supremacy in the home interest market has produced a surprising result. The long-standing market leader, House Beautiful has been bumped off the top spot by IPC's Ideal Home. This is despite NatMags re-launch of the title in September.
The difference in performance is massive, with Ideal Home up 27.2 per cent year on year and House Beautiful down 22.9 per cent year on year. The figures mean that IPC now has 36 per cent of the home interest sector, according to Georgina Crace, advertising sales director at IPC Southbank.
The sector appears on the surface to have grown, with top-line results up six per cent. However, ABCs were recorded for the first time in four years for Home and House & Home which has skewed the figures. The market is up only two per cent without these titles and several have had a tough time.
BBC Homes & Antiques and IPC's Homes & Ideas both fell by six per cent and and G&J's Your Home declined 10 per cent year on year.
And NatMags had another victim - Country Living which fell by 17.1 per cent. According to Terry Mansfield, managing director, the sector is ferocious with a number of titles in head to head struggles. "There are 27 titles in the home interest sector, 11 of which are head to head with House Beautiful. When this launched in 1989, it was original. We now have to be better than these 11 titles which look the same and we will do this by content," he said.
Country Living will also be marketed more forcibly by means of exhibitions, special events and programming.
Verdict Greater differentiation is clearly needed in this crowded sector but the market is by no means saturated. "There will be new launches because the demand is still there but these will become more niche - reflecting a sector rather than age or lifestyle," said Caroline Simpson managing partner at Zenith Media.