IPC's Nuts tipped as victor in ABC for mens' weeklies

LONDON - IPC's Nuts is expected to trounce Emap's Zoo when the Audit Bureau of Circulations releases the two rival magazines' debut readership figures next week.

Early ABC predictions suggest Nuts will enter at number two below the market-leading monthly, FHM, with a circulation as large as 280,000 copies.

Zoo, its Emap competitor, has been shifting between 150,000 and 200,000 copies in its first six months and is on target to achieve the 160,000 sales target it set itself at launch in January.

It is understood that early issues of Nuts sold up to 500,000 copies, but sales over the past six months have declined to the 200,000 mark.

Zoo is relaunching in an attempt to assert itself. Backed by increased marketing spend, the revamp will include a new football section and a larger format with an increased pagination.

There will be new entrants into the market over the next six months. Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers will join the fray with the launch of KO! in the autumn.

Northern & Shell, Express Newspapers' parent company, registered the KO! name with the Patent Office in June, where it appears as a black-and-white masthead in the style of Desmond's monthly celebrity title OK!.

However, it is not certain whether KO! will be the title's eventual name. An Express spokesman said: "We have registered the trademark but we are currently looking at a number of concepts."

The launch of the title will follow the entrance of H Bauer's Cut into the men's weekly market on 12 August.

Dharmash Mistry, the managing director of Emap East, which publishes Zoo, said: "Just six months ago, media 'experts' were debating whether there was a space for the men's weekly market but now the debate is how big the space will be."

Eric Fuller, the group publishing director of IPC Ignite!, added: "The men's weekly sector is so new that nobody yet knows how many magazines it is able to support.

"Nuts is Time Inc's first launch through IPC. We are delighted with the immediate success it has achieved in creating the men's weekly sector and with our position as the market leader."

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