ABC FIGURES: TV listings titles face growing competition

The TV listings sector declined 2 per cent year on year as key titles experienced a difficult time.

IPC's market-leading title What's on TV managed to record a slight period-on-period increase but its main competitor, the BBC's Radio Times, declined.

H Bauer's low-price positioning for TV Choice helped it add close to 80,000 to its circulation. Meanwhile, its TV Quick title was down by 9 per cent, losing 43,000 readers.

IPC's mixed fortunes in the sector were darkened by the disappointing performance of TV Times, sales of which were down 9 per cent period on period. However, TV & Satellite Week managed a slight climb.

Its Soaplife title was hardest hit as its main rival, Attic Futura's Inside Soap, climbed 2.8 per cent period on period and 3.7 per cent year on year.

BBC Worldwide claimed to be pleased with Radio Times' performance despite its decline of 3.8 per cent.

Ashley Munday, the Radio Times' publishing director, said: "Consistently strong covers and a fantastic advertising campaign have helped Radio Times maintain its position in the listings market this year, and retailers know that we're still their most important publication."

Caroline Ward, the managing director of IPC tx, said: "We're delighted with our performance. With more than 50 per cent share, we are the clear market leader and are generating consistent revenue growth."

Ward said she was pleased with the growth at What's On TV but said of the TV Times: "I can't deny it's disappointing. She predicted that TV & Satellite Week will continue to grow.

VERDICT: The sector continues to decline in the face of competition from other sources of TV listings information such as newspapers and the internet.

Price reduction does not seem a straightforward solution, as H Bauer's experience has shown.

TITLE                 PUBLISHER       TOTAL ABC    PERIOD ON     YEAR ON
                                                    PERIOD %        YEAR
What's on TV          IPC             1,666,475          0.9        -2.5
Radio Times           BBC             1,155,064         -3.8        -3.8
TV Choice             H Bauer           861,810         10.0        14.7
TV Times              IPC               570,809         -9.0       -10.4
TV Quick              H Bauer           440,080         -9.0       -14.0
Inside Soap           Attic Futura      252,699          2.8         3.7
TV & Satellite Week   IPC               252,082          2.2         0.7
All About Soap        Attic Futura      104,204         -6.6         1.5
Soaplife              IPC               102,784        -13.0       -10.0
TV NOW!               Minjara           34,941           2.7        15.2
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (Jan-June 2002).

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