Dramatic swings in the celebrity magazine market are the most
striking feature of the women's weeklies sector.
The extensive sampling and promotions carried out by Hello! and its
rival OK! in the first half of the year does not seem to have paid off
by winning either title extra readers.
However, both Heat and Now continue to experience spectacular growth -
Now has overtaken OK! and Hello!, despite increasing its cover price to
Heat's editor, Mark Frith, said: "Now is the market leader because it
sells for £1 while Heat retails at £1.40. Hello! has had
some reinvigoration in its output, which has not been reflected in its
He added that the celebrity market is buoyant and that both Hello! and
OK! seem to have been too concerned fighting battles between themselves
to notice Heat and Now advancing on the inside.
"Heat is a magazine that we relaunched as a title you don't have to feel
ashamed about reading - the sector has used too many stars that were
purely of interest to your auntie and there are only so many celebrity
weddings to go around. The battle is now on between Heat and Now for
supremacy," he added.
Universal McCann's group account director, Sophie Avery, said Heat seems
to have been taking readers from OK!, which has prompted Northern &
Shell to launch an OK! supplement, Hot.
Elsewhere, H Bauer's titles remain strong, particularly Take a Break and
That's Life. IPC's Woman and The National Magazine Company's Best have
also held up reasonably well in a market that seems to have
"With some titles falling out of the sector last year, the women's
weeklies sector seems to have reached a more viable level," Avery
IPC Connect's managing director, Linda Lancaster-Gaye, said: "The sector
has had its best result for years, confirming it as the lifeblood of the
Verdict: The battle for celebrity supremacy will continue, with Heat
being the strongest challenger to Now. A solid performance from
traditional weeklies could tempt publishers to invest more in promoting
Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on
period % year
Take a Break H Bauer 1,148,634 -1.5 0.9
Woman IPC 646,643 -2.1 1.6
That's Life H Bauer 584,221 2.5 2.5
Now IPC 552,744 6.6 16.2
Hello! Hello! Ltd 526,947 -37.5 4.8
Woman's Own IPC 518,495 -3.7 -6.4
Woman's Weekly IPC 504,531 0.2 1.7
OK! N&S 486,858 -25.3 -16.9
Chat IPC 478,230 2.5 1.8
Bella H Bauer 468,937 -3.3 -12.0
Best NatMags 430,433 -0.4 -0.2
People's Friend DC Thomson 397,080 -1.2 -0.6
Heat Emap 355,304 50.9 106.2
My Weekly DC Thomson 305,407 -3.4 -4.0
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2001).