MAGAZINE ABCs: Brands continue to invest in print despite Sky retreat

Customer publishing, once dismissed as vanity publishing, accounted for six of the top 10 largest circulating magazines in the first six months of the year, and a quarter of all titles in the Top 100.

Consumer titles: brands continue to invest despite Sky retreat
Consumer titles: brands continue to invest despite Sky retreat

Over the past two years, magazines controlled by brands have slightly loosened their grip on the UK’s magazine landscape in terms of volume and entries. In February 2010, customer magazines filled the top seven places in the ABC table, and accounted for a third of all Top 100 entries.

By far the most high profile retreat from customer publishing was that of Sky Magazine earlier this year. This week's ABC report marks the first time in more than 10 years Sky has not topped the ABC table of largest circulating magazines in the country, since February 2001.

However, where Sky retreats, others advance. In this week's report for the first six months of the year a number of customer magazines make their debut in the report, including Virgin Media's Electric!, BM by Bonmarché and Harrods Magazine.

This continued investment in print by brands, despite rising production and distribution costs, is testament to the deep levels of engagement brands still equate to the medium.

Julia Hutchison, chief operating officer of the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA), is keen to point out that nearly two-thirds of customer titles in the Top 100 are new entries or have increased year-on-year circulation.

Hutchison said: "Customer magazines continue to offer a tangibility and engagement that no-other medium affords, which is why it is called the 25-minute medium. That's almost half an hour with a customer; in today's deluge of information it is an extraordinary amount of time to hold a customer’s attention.

"In context that's the same as 50 30-second TV slots or 187.5 poster views, 75 radio ads and 3,000 web views."


Top 10 customer publishing titles
Title Publisher Jan-Jun 2011 prd/prd yr/yr
      % change % change
Asda Magazine Publicis Blueprint  1,980,740 -16.8% 1.7%
Tesco Magazine Cedar Communications  1,928,687 -2.8% -3.5%
Tesco Real Food Cedar Communications  1,216,875 4.1% -2.7%
Morrisons Magazine Result Customer Communications  1,137,383 1.8% 10.4%
Sense Magazine John Brown  834,954 5.2% -5.4%
Saga Magazine Saga Publishing  617,411 -1.5% -5.9%
John Lewis Edition John Brown  474,579 -2.2% -2.0%  452,000 0.1% 0.5%
Electric! Redwood  400,000 n/a n/a
Emma's Diary Pregnancy Guide Lifecycle Marketing (Mother & Baby)  396,815 3.6% 10.7%

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