ABC FIGURES: Pop Idol effect shores up struggling sector

The teenage magazine sector produced two very different stories this period - lifestyle magazines floundered, while entertainment titles reaped the benefits of the Pop Idol phenomenon.

The teenage lifestyle sector suffered an overall 3.7 per cent decrease period on period. The market leader, Sugar, saw its readership decline by 7.3 per cent. Mizz and Shout also performed badly, as did Cosmo Girl.

However, The National Magazine Company is relaunching the magazine from its May issue in a new handbag-sized format.

J-17 improved its six-month readership figure, despite losing more than 20 per cent of its audience year on year. There was encouragement for Bliss, which is finally seeing benefits from its relaunch with a 3.9 per cent rise period on period.

In the teen entertainment sector, the new entrant Sneak managed to pull in a weekly audience of 86,535 in time for its first ABC audit, while It's Hot boasts a maiden circulation of 104,015. The sector as a whole enjoyed a 40.1 per cent period-on-period increase.

Stephen Palmer, the Emap Performance managing director, said: "The sector is experiencing a stabilising effect after some decline. It's been a good year for the teen pop arena - the Gareth Gates phenomenon has created a wave of excitement. A readership of 100,000 (for Sneak) would be the Holy Grail."

Verdict Teen lifestyle magazines continue to perform badly. When the wheels come off the Pop Idol bandwagon, the entertainment sector may be revealed as overcrowded.


Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year %

Sugar Hachette 321,258 -7.3 -16.6

Bliss Emap 260,102 3.9 1.7

More! More! 246,261 -6.2 -15.1

Top of the Pops BBC 244,241 3.9 -0.5

TV Hits Hachette 153,307 7.0 1.4

Smash Hits Emap 145,174 0.0 -10.8

J-17 Emap 143,308 9.3 -20.5

Cosmo Girl NatMags 142,073 -18.9 n/a

Mizz IPC 129,654 -7.6 -10.5

19 IPC 110,884 3.4 -6.0

It's Hot BBC 104,015 n/a n/a

Shout Thomson 101,010 -16.7 -9.1

Sneak Emap 86,535 n/a n/a

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 2002).