MAGAZINE ABCs: Bauer's Zoo crashes 14% in failing lads' sector

Bauer Consumer Media will be licking its wounds today as its weekly magazine Zoo tumbled 14.1%, losing 11,416 copies over the last six months of 2010, as the zeitgeist in men's taste shifts further from the age of the lad.

Zoo: further declines indicative of lads' mag sector
Zoo: further declines indicative of lads' mag sector

During the last half of the year, the weekly title fell from 80,026 copies in the first six months of 2010, to its current 68,610 mark, according to the latest ABCs.

In the period June to December 2009, the magazine, which features regular glamour girl cover stars, was selling a healthy 102,043 copies.

The magazine, once one of the flag bearers for the weekly men's market, is now resting 33,433 copies lower than during the same period last year, having lost just under a third (32.8%) of its circulation.

Geoff Campbell, managing director of Zoo, said: "In recent weeks we have redeveloped Zoo to re-energise the brand among its audience of fun-loving young men. We are proud of Zoo’s new direction, and our readers and advertisers have already told us that it's now more relevant and more exciting than ever before."

Lesser drops in the lads sector included IPC Media’s weekly Nuts, which fell a relatively small 3.3% in the last six months of 2010 from 147,134 copies to 142,212 copies. Its fall from the last six months of 2009 was more severe, at 19.6%. This time last year, the magazine was selling 176,835 copies.

Paul Williams, IPC Inspire managing director, said: "Since launch, Nuts has sold over 85 million copies at the UK newsstand, generating £120.7m in RSV. The magazine saw 7.3 million copies in circulation last year alone. We continue to invest in brand development – in print and digitally – and Nuts remains the pre-eminent media channel to reach the UK’s young men."

Dominic Williams, press director at Carat, is of the opinion that the men’s weekly sector has had its day.

Sounding the death knell, he said: "Men are simply not picking up Zoo and Nuts anymore. Those two magazines, although harsh, I would be surprised if they are around in a year’s time.

"Not one client rings me up and says: ‘I need to be in Zoo, I need to be in Nuts’."

Williams added: "I think that in the weekly men’s sector, what with the cost of paper going up by 20%, both Bauer and IPC will jog them on."

Neil Allen, press trading director at Starcom MediaVest Group, said: "We’ve been saying that it is the end [of the men’s weekly sector] for a long time, but everyone is persevering with them. It has just become a very small sector now."

The trailblazing lads' mag monthly Loaded, which was sold by IPC Media to specialist publisher Vitality in October last year, continues to dive in circulation, down 7.7% in last six months of 2010, from 53,591 copies to 49,448 copies, dropping below the crucial 50,000 barrier.

It also recorded a calamitous drop of 30.6% from 71,251 the same time last year.

Allen said: "Loaded has now dropped below 50,000, and when it went below 100,000 we were saying that IPC were going to close it. You’ve got to assume that Vitality having bought it, have some sort of plan for it, but I don’t think anyone is quite sure what that plan is. Whether it is to take the brand name and do something online, I’m not sure."

Bauer’s monthly FHM also took a dip of 8% in the last six months of 2010 from 192,586 copies to 177,261, while year on year it dropped 23.3%. This time last year, it was nudging the quarter-of-a-million figure on 231,235 copies.

The title also gave away a total of 20,000 copies during the final six months of 2010, which affected the figures.

Fellow lads' mag monthly Front also lost its way, dropping 5.7% from 40,971 six months ago to its current total of 38,645 copies for the Kane publishing title. Its yearly drop was 7.9%, from a figure of 41,946 at the same time last year.

At the more refined end of the men’s magazine spectrum, GQ, the high-end monthly edited by Dylan Jones, stayed steady during the period, with stability in the men’s sector being the new growth.

In the last six months of 2010, the magazine added 24 copies skipping up from 120,063 copies to 120,087 sales. The magazine also was stable in comparison to this time last year, when it recorded a figure of 120,057 copies.

Despite industry speculation about the fate of The National Magazine Company's monthly title Esquire, the title rallied in the final six months of 2010 and was up by 2.1%, from 58,151 to 59,382 copies at the end of the year, although it too handed out an average of 6,694 copies a month during the final six months of 2010. The title recorded an increase of 0.4% on the same period during 2009.

The clear winner in terms of relative growth was gadget and technology magazine Stuff, published each month by the Consumer Media division of Media Week’s publisher, Haymarket, which jumped 8.9% in the last six months of 2010, from 85,370 to 92,959 copies. The title was down 2.9% on the same period last year.

Martyn Jones, publishing director of Stuff, said: "Stuff has shown a healthy period-on-period increase, and remains the best-selling gadget magazine. Stuff is well ahead of T3, its nearest competitor, and, with the brand launching a new look website recently, we are confident that we will deliver more success in 2011."

Condé Nast’s monthly Wired remained stable, rising 0.1% from 50,009 copies to 50,044 in the final six months of 2010. However, it was up 3.7% on the same period during 2009.

Wired also distributed 10,000 copies free during the last six months of last year, although it is not clear whether this was spread throughout the period or as a giveaway with one issue of the monthly title.

Fellow tech magazine T3, published by Future Publishing, showed a 3.8% dip from the last six months of 2009 to the last six months of 2010, from 59,143 copies to a figure of 56,878. The title only reports year-on-year figures.

The male health market stayed stable as men remained interested in their fitness and general wellbeing.

Mens Fitness, the monthly published by Dennis Publishing went up 1.1% in the last six months of 2010, from 68,123 copies to a figure of 68,843.

Men’s Health, published each month by Natmag Rodale, went up in the final six months of 2010 from 245,754 copies to 245,923 magazines, while it recorded a bearable drop of 1.9% in comparison to the same period during 2009.

Carat's Williams said: "The only upside in the men’s sector is the fitness magazines, which are up or on par, but I’m not surprised about that, as everyone is concentrating on their fitness and health. They are going out less because they’ve got less money and there is certainly an element of cutting back and concentrating on your wellbeing."

In the free sector, ShortList, the weekly started by former Emap executive Mike Soutar, was up 0.7% in the last six months of 2010, from 518,222 copies to 521,713 handed out on the streets of the UK. Its rise on the same period of 2009 was 1.7%, up from 513,148 copies.

Fellow free weekly title Sport also rose, by 0.3% in the six months at the end of 2010, up from 305,479 copies to 306,540 copies at the end of the year. It was also stable on the same period in 2009.


Top 15 Men's Lifestyle Magazines
  Title Publisher Jul-Dec 10 Prd/prd Change Yr/yr Change
1 Shortlist * Shortlist Media 521,713 0.7% 1.7%
2 Sport * UTV Media 306,540 0.3% 0.0%
3 Men's Health   Natmag Rodale 245,923 0.1% -1.9%
4 FHM   Bauer Consumer Media 177,261 -8.0% -23.3%
5 Nuts   IPC Media 142,212 -3.3% -19.6%
6 GQ   Condé Nast Publications 120,087 0.0% 0.0%
7 Stuff   Haymarket Consumer Media 92,959 8.9% -2.9%
8 BBC Focus   BBC Worldwide 72,183 -1.9% 0.6%
9 Men's Fitness   Dennis Publishing 68,843 1.1% 1.2%
10 Zoo   Bauer Consumer Media 68,610 -14.3% -32.8%
11 Healthy for Men   River Publishing 59,992 6.5% 16.8%
12 Esquire   The National Magazine Company 59,382 2.1% 0.4%
13 T3   Future Publishing 56,878 N/A -3.8%
14 Wired   Condé Nast Publications 50,044 0.1% 3.7%
15 Loaded   IPC Media 49,448 -7.7% -30.6%

* Shortlist and Sport are free men's weekly titles


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