MAGAZINE ABCs: Heat turns cold following loss of editor

Bauer Media-owned Heat has reported the steepest circulation drop in the celebrity weekly sector, falling to improve since the loss of editor Sam Delaney, and down more than a fifth since the first six months of 2010.

Heat: circulation is down 21.7% year on year according to latest ABC data
Heat: circulation is down 21.7% year on year according to latest ABC data

According to this latest circulation figures published by the Audit Bureau of Circulations this afternoon, Heat had an average circulation of 326,677 in the first six months of 2011, down 21.7% year on year and 11.7% period on period.

Heat has struggled in recent years to replicate its success of the early noughties. Delaney joined the magazine in September 2009, but he left the title in December last year to explore new opportunities. He has not been replaced permanently and Heat's executive editor, Lucie Cave, is standing in as acting editor.

Bauer Media's other celebrity title, Closer, suffered the second-greatest drop year on year in the competitive celebrity market, down 12.7% year on year to 459,693. Compared to the final six months of 2010, Closer’s circulation was down 7.8%.

Dom Williams, print and radio director at Aegis Media, said: "Bauer Media definitely needs to invest in their product. Closer and Heat have seen double-digit declines and so they need to invest. And we’re getting that from clients as well."

Nicky Holt, publisher of Closer, rejected the suggestion that Bauer Media was not investing in its product and said Heat was "well placed to do well" from the start of 'Big Brother' and 'The X Factor' this week.

Holt said: "Everyone worries about increasing price, but Closer has performed well since we increased its cover price during the period. For Closer, it’s about focusing on the product, investing in editorial and getting the best exclusives."

Interest in the Royal Wedding helped Hello! to record the celebrity sector's only year on year circulation increase. Hello! had an average circulation of 413,311 in the first six months of 2011, up 0.3% year on year and an increase of 1.9% period on period.

Hello! made the shock move of announcing its newsstand figures ahead of the 12pm embargo today and Jan Pitt, group executive director of client services at ABC, said a formal process was in place for any publishers who break the embargo.

Northern & Shell’s flagship weekly OK! reported an average circulation of 473,167, ahead of its main rival Hello!, but a decrease of 1.2% year on year – an increase of 4.9% when compared to the last six months of 2010.

New!, which is also owned by Northern & Shell, reported the third-steepest circulation fall of the celebrity market, down 10.7% year on year to 515,975, but retaining its position as the biggest seller in the sector. When compared to the last six months of 2010, the circulation of New! represented a decline of 8.2%.

IPC Media-owned Now had a circulation of 309,202 in the first six months of 2011, down 8.5% when compared to the first six months of 2010, and down 8.6% on the period.

Elsewhere, Northern & Shell’s Star reported a circulation of 405,688 in the first six months of 2011, down 8% year on year and a fall of 5.7% period on period. Hearst Magazines’ Reveal had a circulation of 311,176, down 6.3% year on year and 4.1% period on period.

Williams said: "If you look at the celebrity sector, the market is too busy. We will probably lose some magazines. Publishers need to invest in their product to stand out and that’s brand extensions such as mobile, websites and iPad apps, as well as the magazine."


Top 8 celebrity magazines
Title Publisher Jan - Jul Prd/prd Yr/yr
    2011 change change
New! Northern & Shell Magazines  515,975 -8.2% -10.7%
OK! Northern & Shell Magazines 
473,167 4.9% -1.2%
Closer Bauer Consumer Media  459,693 -7.8% -12.7%
Hello! Hello!  413,311 1.9% 0.3%
Star Northern & Shell Magazines
405,688 -5.7% -8.0%
Heat Bauer Consumer Media  326,677 -11.7% -21.7%
Reveal Hearst Magazines  311,176 -4.1% -6.3%
Now IPC Media  309,202 -8.6% -8.5%

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