ABC Figures: IPC’s Woman’s Journal boosts its circulation

When the major publishing houses began their ABC announcements by talking about the women’s market becoming increasingly tough, it was obvious that individual figures were going to be disappointing.

When the major publishing houses began their ABC announcements by

talking about the women’s market becoming increasingly tough, it was

obvious that individual figures were going to be disappointing.

Several of them were. There were double-digit year-on-year losses for

titles such as Gruner & Jahr’s Prima. The title had a dramatic fall from

grace, losing its number one spot with a sales decline of 17.4 per


Emap’s Minx was also down by 18.2 per cent, and National Magazine’s

Company fell by 16.6 per cent.

There were winners, however. IPC Southbank’s Woman’s Journal

demonstrated an amazing turnaround following its relaunch in September.

Registering a miserable 19.8 per cent fall to a 103,209 circulation

during the last round of ABCs, the magazine managed to boost circulation

by 20.4 per cent to 133,407. ’It’s as near a publishing phenomenon as

anything I have witnessed,’ IPC Southbank’s publishing director, Rita

Lewis, said. It remains to be seen whether IPC can maintain the

expensive covermounts that have contributed to the magazine’s


Rumours abounded that IPC’s Marie Claire had outsold Cosmopolitan for

the first time. The figures revealed that this was true only of

newsstand sales, prompting NatMags to draw its claws and accuse IPC of

creating a ’misleading spin’. Cosmopolitan does maintain the number one

slot with a circulation of 470,280, although it is down year on year by

1.3 per cent compared with Marie Claire’s year-on-year gain of 1.1 per


Elsewhere in the NatMags stable, She maintained its strong ties with

thirtysomething women - an increasingly competitive market. The

publisher claims to have ’lots of plans’ including improved content for

Company, which fell by 16.6 per cent.

Attic Futura’s B reported a disappointing 3.5 per cent fall. Its last

figures showed a healthy 11.1 per cent year-on-year rise.

With the exception of Minx, Emap’s glossies all showed growth, with Red

up 4.2 per cent, Elle up 4.8 per cent and New Woman up 5.6 per cent year

on year.

Verdict The market is poised for a wealth of new launches from the BBC,

G&J, John Brown and Parkhill, several of which are believed to be

targeting the thirtysomething woman.

The move comes as editors respond to the changing profile of the female

population. Terry Mansfield, the managing director of NatMags, says:

’The emphasis will be on keeping a date, not finding one.’

Women’s magazines

Title               Publisher      Total ABC    Period on    Year on

                                                 period %       year

Cosmopolitan        NatMags          470,280          0.0       -1.3

Candis              Newhall          450,443          0.2       -1.8

Marie Claire        IPC              450,213          2.8        1.1

Prima               G&J              421,412        -15.2      -17.4

Good Housekeeping   NatMags          400,094          7.4        0.0

Woman & Home        IPC              295,225          0.5      -10.5

New Woman           Emap             276,285          1.2        5.6

Company             NatMags          242,180          0.0      -16.6

She                 NatMags          226,086          6.6        0.0

B                   Attic Futura     223,532         -5.5       -3.5

Family Circle       IPC              218,558         -6.1      -22.1

Elle                Emap             210,076          2.3        4.8

Vogue               Conde Nast       202,668          1.1        0.2

Red                 Emap             180,403          5.7        4.2

Minx                Emap             123,278         -2.8      -18.2

Woman’s Journal     IPC              133,407         22.6       20.4

Harpers & Queen     NatMags           90,101         -2.2       -4.0

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 1999)


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