Magazine ABCs Jan-June 2006: Home and garden

Market conditions in the home-interest sector remained tough but there were signs of improvement, which are linked to renewed buoyancy in the housing market.

Competition intensified in March with News International's News Magazine division launching the monthly title Inside Out. The title, which has yet to publish a circulation figure, does not appear to have hit more established magazines to a great extent.

The market leader, IPC Media's Ideal Home, posted a small fall in its circulation and its sister title Living etc increased sales during the past six months. The home-interest sector as a whole has grown by 2 per cent since the beginning of this year.

Titles at the premium end of the market, such as Country Living and House & Garden, also grew their sales.

Jackie Newcombe, the managing director of IPC Southbank, says: "The home-interest magazine sector continues to be tough, but there are signs of improvement."

Gardening titles experienced their usual springtime uplift in sales, with the sector growing 11 per cent. However, it was down 4.7 per cent on the same period in 2005. The market leader, BBC Gardeners' World, is investing in editorial changes under its new editor, Bernie Herlihy.

Verdict The home interest sector, especially home improvement titles, will grow in line with the busy autumn housing market. Publishers hope that the Inside Out launch will help to grow the market rather than cannibalise sales. Gardening titles must do all they can to offset the seasonal sales declines of the winter months.

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on Year-on
-period -year
% chg % chg
Ideal Home IPC Media 237,525 -3.3 -3.8
House Beautiful NatMags 195,450 -1.3 -2.8
Country Living NatMags 192,250 0.5 1.3
House & Garden Conde Nast 140,527 0.1 0.3
Homes & Gardens IPC Media 139,017 2.2 -5.0
BBC Good Homes BBC Magazines 135,954 0.2 0.2
Your Home Essential 121,859 0.8 -6.5
25 Beautiful Homes IPC Media 114,301 0.9 6.6
BBC Homes & Antiques BBC Magazines 101,121 0.1 -11.3
Living etc IPC Media 90,487 2.5 -3.8
Source Audit Bureau of Circulations, January-June 2006.

TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on Year-on
-period -year
% chg % chg
BBC Gardeners' World BBC Magazines 300,418 27.4 -8.0
BBC Easy Gardening BBC Magazines 50,173 25.1 -7.1
Amateur Gardening IPC Media 49,681 8.3 -3.1
Garden News Emap 49,629 5.1 -8.9
Garden Answers Emap 45,052 16.4 -18.8
The English Garden (UK) Archant 35,527 8.5 -6.3
Source Audit Bureau of Circulations, January-June 2006.