ABC FIGURES: TV guides still suffer from the impact of newspaper listings

There were no major surprises in the TV listings sector over the past six months, although IPC’s What’s on TV posted a record circulation to keep hold of its position as the biggest-selling magazine on the newsstands.

There were no major surprises in the TV listings sector over the

past six months, although IPC’s What’s on TV posted a record circulation

to keep hold of its position as the biggest-selling magazine on the

newsstands.



Last week’s ABC figures were generally a story of more of the same. The

giveaway cable and satellite titles, for example, continued to expand

their circulation in line with subscriber numbers. Sky TV Guide was a

good illustration, rising by 2.3 per cent year on year to 3,571,949,

while its cable rival, the Cable Guide, soared by a staggering 45.6 per

cent, although from a much smaller base of 1,101,251.



In contrast, guides to terrestrial TV listings continued to stagnate or

decline, still reeling from the arrival of weekly TV supplements in the

daily newspapers in 1996. However, the tale was not exclusively gloomy;

the BBC’s Radio Times managed to check its past decline to keep sales on

an even keel with those of the past six months. Its closest rival, IPC’s

TV Times, also fared better year on year, managing to arrest declines of

9.1 per cent last year to 6.4 per cent in the latest figures.



Kathy Day, IPC’s publishing director on TV weeklies, said she was

delighted that the attrition had slowed and added that she expected this

trend to continue. ’The 6.4 per cent belies what’s going on with the

magazine.



We entered the period with declines of around 10 per cent and we are

leaving it at around 3 to 4 per cent,’ she said.



Day added that ongoing improvements to the editorial and a new

advertising campaign breaking this autumn would help circulation in

coming months.





TV LISTINGS MAGAZINES

Title               Publisher         Total ABC     Period on    Year on

                                                     period %     year %

Sky TV Guide        Redwood           3,571,949           1.6        2.3

What’s on TV        IPC               1,750,167           3.3        2.8

Cable Guide         Cable Guide       1,603,006           2.7       45.6

Radio Times         BBC               1,400,095          -0.4        0.0

TV Times            IPC                 835,560          -5.4       -6.4

Inside Soap         Attic Futura        202,384           0.3          -

TV & Sat Week       IPC                 198,049           2.2        1.5

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations.



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