MAGAZINE ABCs: OK! helps shoot New! to first place in celebrity sector

LONDON - Northern & Shell's fortnightly multipacking of New! and Star with OK! has produced a distorted set of figures in the celebrity market with both titles up more than 50% period on period.

New! and Star: combined sales boost circulation
New! and Star: combined sales boost circulation

The magazines were sold with OK! for 12 weeks during the 25 weeks from June to December 2009, as well as individually, in line with ABC rules, pushing New! to the number one slot in the sector with 600,741 copies.

OK!, the only title in the sector to drop copies, was down 1.9% period on period but still up 15.7% year on year. Star moved from seventh to fourth in the table, clocking 492,067 copies, pushing Bauer's Heat down to fifth place.

Neil Allen, press trading director at Starcom MediaVest, dismissed the claim by rival publishers that the multipacking was done to prop up OK!, suggesting instead it was a way of trialling New! and Star with OK! readers.

Allen said: "OK! is driven very much by what or who is on the cover and so sales fluctuate a lot. In the last period its 18% rise coincided with the deaths of Jade Goody and Michael Jackson but its fall in this period is not a major issue."

Allen added it would be down to the agencies to put a value on New! and Star by analysing more specific data showing their individual sales.

Elsewhere in the celebrity stable Bauer's Heat put on 3.1% and Closer added 1.7% in a result David Davies, managing director of the titles, is pleased with.

Davies said: "We've played a straight bat and have had a solid performance from the two titles. Our share of advertising revenue remained good and we're starting the year very well."

After significant falls across the period and year for Hello during the last posting, the title has had a stronger six months, up 2.9% period on period to 409,043 copies, despite being down 3.4% since December 2008.


* In this sector Hello! had 68.7% of copies actively purchased.

Top eight celebrity magazines
TitlePublisherJul-Dec 09Prd/prd changeYr/yr change
1New!  Northern & Shell Magazines Ltd600,74150.1%35.6%
2OK! Magazine  Northern & Shell PLC588,546-1.9%15.7%
3Closer  Bauer Consumer Media539,1351.7%-0.2%
4Star  Northern & Shell PLC492,06754.8%83.4%
5Heat  Bauer Consumer Media458,8583.1%-2.5%
6Hello!  Hello! Ltd409,0432.9%-3.4%
7Now  IPC Media Ltd394,1302.5%-9.1%
8Reveal  The National Magazine Company Ltd330,9114.8%22.6%