ABC FIGURES: Celebrity magazines enjoy sales increase

Celebrity magazines continued to drive sales across the women's weekly sector with large circulation increases for the three leading titles.

However, mature women's weeklies fared less well, contributing to an overall year-on-year decline in the sector of 1.5 per cent

Northern & Shell's OK! climbed to the top of the celebrity weekly pile with a period-on-period increase of 18.2 per cent. However, just 422,023 copies of the magazine were actively purchased.

Emap's Heat achieved year-on-year growth of more than 100 per cent for the second period running. It added 123,000 sales over the past six months.

IPC's Now continued its steady growth with a 3.2 per cent period-on-period increase, its eighth in a row. Hello continued on a downward spiral, dropping 1.7 per cent period on period.

H Bauer's Take A Break continued to grow on the back of an aggressive cover-price policy, as did its That's Life title.

IPC's Woman and Woman's Weekly titles suffered slight declines, but the publisher said this was because of a deliberate policy of reducing bulk copies.

Chat continued to outperform the market with a 7.7 per cent period-on-period increase.

Bella, Bauer's third title in the market, had a tough time with a 5.2 per cent fall across the period.

The success of IPC's series of women's weekly specials, such as its Chat Passion Series, up 8 per cent to 189,854, and Woman's Own Lifestyle Series, up 85.9 per cent to 242,340, suggest that more brand spin-offs will appear over the next period.

VERDICT: The boom in sales of celebrity titles shows no sign of ending, backed by aggressive pricing and marketing support. Traditional women's weeklies are faring less well and will remain flat across the next period.

TITLE              PUBLISHER        TOTAL ABC     PERIOD ON      YEAR ON
                                                   PERIOD %         YEAR
Take a Break       H Bauer          1,207,384           5.1          3.5
Woman              IPC                631,451          -2.3         -4.4
That's Life        H Bauer            590,162           1.0          3.6
OK!                N&S                575,307          18.2        -11.7
Now                IPC                570,279           3.2         10.0
Woman's Own        IPC                518,861           0.1         -3.6
Hello              Hello              517,883          -1.7        -38.5
Chat               IPC                515,000           7.7         10.4
Woman's Weekly     IPC                498,268          -1.2         -1.1
Heat               Emap               478,924          34.8        103.4
Bella              H Bauer            444,622          -5.2         -8.3
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2002).


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