Teen magazine sector remains grim after closures

LONDON - The teenage magazine market continues to remain almost devoid of good news, with big hitters such as Sugar and Bliss losing a fifth of their circulation over the past six months.

According to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations today, Emap's Bliss sold an average of 213,466 copies per issue, down by 23% on the figure of 277,165 copies in December 2005.

Hachette Filipacchi's Sugar, formerly the market leader, saw a similar decline, dropping 20% of its circulation since December last year to sell an average of 200,187 copes each issue.

The National Magazine Company's Cosmopolitan spin-off Cosmo Girl was slightly better off, with period-on-period decline of 18% to 142,010. Only DC Thomson's Shout bucked the trend for falls in teenage lifestyle titles, adding 11.5% in sales to record an ABC figure of 82,983.

It has been a grim period for teen entertainment titles, with Emap axing Sneak last week following its closure of Smash Hits in January, thus exiting the sector completely.

This leaves BBC Magazines' Top of the Pops magazine, which carries on publication despite the death of the show from which it spawned.

It recorded a 21% rise in circulation since December 2005, selling an average of 116,858 copies an issue, having reverted to publishing once every four weeks at the beginning of the year.

Duncan Gray, associate publisher of teen magazines at BBC Magazines, said that the boost in circulation was due in part to research it carried out into its readers and the wider market.

"We enhanced some areas of the magazine, such as fashion, real life, gossip and cringe stories, and we have communicated this clearly on the cover. That, along with great gifts, has helped," he said.

It's Hot, also published by BBC Magazines, rose by 2.9% to 66,168 and TV Hits, owned by Essential Publishing, was down 14% for the period to 54,726.

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