ABC FIGURES: Men's sector continues fight for new readers

Sales increases were hard to come by in a stagnant men's market dominated by increased covermounting.

The market leader FHM posted a year-on-year increase, but its sales have fallen over the past six months.

Its second-placed rival, Loaded, suffered significant falls in sales but managed to fight off Dennis' Maxim to maintain its position.

The IPC Ignite managing director, Tim Brooks, admitted "this is not our best performance" before attacking claims from Dennis that it was taking Maxim more up-market and cutting back on cover- mounting. Andy Semple, the group publishing director of Maxim, said: "In terms of the advertising we attract we're very different."

GQ showed healthy growth. Dylan Jones, its editor, said: "In the current market conditions, we're very pleased."

The National Magazine Company supported Esquire's sales with heavy use of bulk and free copies. Just 43,648 of its sales were actively purchased.

Rodale's Men's Health reported a slight rise and a better performance among 30-plus AB men.

The Dennis group publishing director, Bruce Sandell, said that Jack's first ABC was "very competent".

Verdict Readers will continue to be hard to come by in a mature market.

Titles are turning more to above-the-line advertising to win readers but publishers are still seeking the "holy grail" product launch that will grow the market.


TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year

FHM Emap 600,568 -3.20 3.40

Loaded IPC 261,937 -9.70 -15.20

Maxim Dennis 251,117 0.40 -7.00

Men's Health Rodale Press 218,756 0.00 1.00

GQ Conde Nast 120,741 -2.20 3.70

Wallpaper IPC 110,920 0.10 -15.40

Front Highbury Cabal 110,323 -22.50 -21.50

Bizarre Dennis 101,209 -4.20 4.30

Esquire NatMags 69,193 1.60 23.20

Stuff Haymarket 61,977 3.10 9.60

Men's Fitness Dennis 56,315 10.50 12.50

The Face Emap 43,717 3.50 -10.60

Jack Dennis 33,347 n/a n/a

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2003).