ABC FIGURES: Talent TV revitalises teen market

The teenage entertainment market has bounced back, buoyed in part by the wealth of interest generated from the ubiquitous find-a-star television shows.

"The likes of Pop Idol, Fame Academy and Popstars: The Rivals have been massive for teen mags," Alfie Lewis, the publisher of teen titles at BBC Magazines, said.

The sector had previously showed a large dependence on content from US artists such as Eminem and Justin Timberlake, which was often replicated elsewhere or difficult to get permission to run. The UK shows have provided a large range of local acts and content for readers.

"Only two years ago, the sector relied on record companies and if they weren't focusing on the market we had content problems," Lewis added.

Large readership decreases at titles such as Mizz and Shout have opened the door for new titles such as BBC's It's Hot and Emap's Sneak to perform well. Much of Cosmo Girl's success can be put down to the decision to start cover-mounting, something the title eschewed at launch.

Verdict The results of significant marketing spend and changing formats in the slightly flat lifestyle market will become clear. The success of new titles in the entertainment sector, such as It's Hot, indicates that there is still room for innovative launches with no sign of teenagers' thirst abating. BBC plans a launch in the autumn. It currently has the working title Project April and will hope to emulate Sneak in posting sales of more than 100,000.


TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period on Year on

period % year

Sugar Hachette 326,185 1.50 -5.80

Top of the Pops BBC 252,410 3.30 7.40

More Emap 250,869 1.90 -4.40

Bliss Emap 250,543 -3.70 0.10

Cosmo Girl NatMags 188,249 32.50 7.40

Smash Hits Emap 150,042 3.40 3.40

TV Hits Hachette 143,842 -6.20 0.40

J-17 Emap 134,433 -6.20 2.50

It's Hot BBC 115,163 10.70 n/a

Mizz IPC 114,141 -12.00 -18.60

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