ABC FIGURES: Sky win consolidates John Brown Citrus' lead position

John Brown Citrus continues to dominate the customer magazine market, publishing the top three titles. Although clients largely dictate what happens to the distribution of customer magazines, there were some notable ups and downs in the ABC figures.

Most evident is the continued growth in the distribution of Sky's magazine, mirroring the digital satellite platform's growing penetration.

John Brown Citrus won the £1 million Sky Customer Magazine contract from Redwood Publishing in June. It introduced a revamped version in October.

"With all due respect to the previous publisher, the magazine had become a bit lethargic. Sky is all about energy, and we try to reflect this," Andrew Hirsch, John Brown Citrus' chief executive, said.

Hirsch said Sky Customer Magazine had reduced Sky's churn rate; Sky announced it had fallen beneath 10 per cent, the lowest level since the introduction of Sky Digital.

Also of note was the decline of Redwood's Boots Health & Beauty magazine, which fell 14 per cent period on period, and 43 per cent year on year.

Orange's customer title O Magazine was flat period on period, but down 31 per cent year on year. Hirsch said that O would be redesigned in the coming months. The redesign will coincide with a new advertising campaign from Mother.

The rest of the titles in the sector were stable.

Verdict The turnover from the contract publishing industry grew by 7.5 per cent last year and there is a compelling argument that more advertisers could use the market as a relatively cost-efficient way to talk directly to customers. Sky has ambitious distribution figures and will expand.


Title Publisher Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year %

Sky Customer JB Citrus 5,795,091 8.0 14.0

AA Magazine JB Citrus 4,961,341 -2.0 12.0

O Magazine JB Citrus 2,498,361 0.0 -31.0

Boots Health & Beauty Redwood 1,895,208 -14.0 -43.0

Safeway Magazine Redwood 1,748,316 -1.0 -3.0

Asda Magazine Publicis 1,740,533 15.0 20.0

National Trust Nat Trust 1,471,352 n/a 4.0

Somerfield Magazine AMD 1,379,290 1.0 1.0

Spirit of Superdrug River 1,000,000 0.0 0.0

Ford Magazine JB Citrus 584,725 0.0 -14.0

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