The overall market for women's weeklies performed badly, with Northern & Shell's OK! Magazine and IPC Connect's Now the only two titles boasting substantial sales increases.
As predicted in Campaign last week, OK! Magazine overtook its rival, Hello! for the first time, with a 37.7% leap in sales to 551,019. This rise, which can largely be attributed to the huge demand for the issues that featured the wedding of Posh Spice and David Beckham, helping the magazine to leapfrog up the table from the eleventh biggest title during the last ABC period, to fifth place.
Hello!, which held steady period-on-period at 495,349, has signalled its intention to fight its position with the appointment of Market Force to distribute its titles.
Although IPC Connect boasted a 12.9 per cent jump in Now's sales to 396,303 and steady sales for Chat, it continues to struggle with its older brands, Woman, Woman's Own and Woman's Realm. The latter two posted declines of 13.1 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively year-on-year.
Despite a soft market Linda Lancaster-Gaye, managing director of IPC Connect, is set to launch a new weekly title later this year, which she claims will develop a new sector within the market. She said: "We've got something we are putting out to research, which will be creating a new sector."
Verdict: The performance of celebrity magazines continues to dominate and outperform the more traditional titles, which are failing toincrease their respective readerships. Publishers need to take a long hard look at how they can manage, and if possible, stop the erosion of this large market.