ABC FIGURES: IPC's Now heads celebrity sector

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

£1.



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

ABCs."



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

stabilised.



"With some titles falling out of the sector last year, the women's

weeklies sector seems to have reached a more viable level," Avery

said.



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

magazine industry."



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

their titles.



WOMEN'S WEEKLIES

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).



Topics