As the hype surrounding ’lads’ magazines’ has subsided, sales have
taken a corresponding downturn. And ’me too’ launches in this
increasingly homogenised sector have meant that established players,
such as Loaded, FHM and Men’s Health, have suffered slumps in
IPC’s Loaded was among the most disappointing performances, experiencing
an 18.8 per cent year-on-year sales decline. The biggest fall occurred
at the beginning of the year, with sales stabilising in the second half,
as revealed by the less dramatic 3 per cent period-on-period drop.
Andy McDuff, a managing director of IPC, said that the market was ’full
of followers’, and that sales will improve as Loaded returns to its
’setting the agenda’ roots.
Emap’s FHM maintained its position, but was down 6.5 per cent year on
year. It continued to sell more than 700,000 copies, however, and is
ahead of its nearest rival, Loaded, by more than 330,000.
Of greater concern to the publisher is Sky magazine, which fell by 24.2
per cent year on year to an ABC figure of just over 100,000. Its move to
become more ’laddish’ has not paid off.
According to Paul Keenan, the chief executive of Emap Elan Network, it
will ’return to a more unisex approach and be aggressively
Although Maxim lost some readers, its fall of 2.1 per cent was
insignificant compared with its nearest rivals and with magazines such
as Men’s Health, Arena and Esquire.
New launches, including IPC’s Later and Cabal’s Front, helped the sector
as a whole grow by almost 4 per cent to 2.6 million copies. John Brown’s
Bizarre and Time’s Wallpaper were star performers with 26.7 per cent and
23.3 per cent growth respectively.
Verdict Existing players will seek greater differentiation in a bid to
appeal to jaded readers. Publishers will also be more cautious about new
launches in this increasingly tough market. Brand spin-offs,
particularly in new media, look set to continue.
Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on
period % year
FHM Emap 702,514 0.2 -6.5
Loaded IPC 371,548 -3.3 -18.8
Maxim Dennis 315,102 1.6 -2.1
Men’s Health Rodale Press 233,653 6.8 -17.5
GQ Conde Nast 142,162 -2.0 7.5
Front Cabal 141,742 1.1 n/a
Wallpaper Time 125,984 10.7 23.3
Bizarre John Brown 120,534 11.8 26.7
Esquire NatMags 100,482 0.1 -7.2
Sky Emap 100,400 -13.2 -24.2
Later IPC 90,555 n/a n/a
FHM Collections Emap 81,849 n/a n/a
The Face Wagadon 61,341 5.9 -14.1
Stuff Haymarket 52,403 n/a n/a
Arena Wagadon 47,096 0.7 -22.7
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 1999)