MAGAZINE ABCs: Kerrang! only high note in music and film

Bauer Consumer Media's rock magazine Kerrang! was the only paid-for magazine in the music and film sectors to improve its circulation in the first six months of 2010, according to figures from ABC.

Kerrang!: circulation up 7% period on period
Kerrang!: circulation up 7% period on period

Kerrang!’s circulation reached an average of 44,013 copies in the six months to 30 June, behind its highest circulation to date of 85,377 in July to December 2006. However, it was up 1.8% compared with the first six months of 2009, and 7% period on period.

Stuart Williams, managing director of Bauer Media’s music and film portfolio, said much of Kerrang!’s success could be attributed to its editor Nichola Browne, who started in August last year. He said: "It’s now much fresher and more exciting."

However, Rob Lynam, head of press trading at MEC, said Kerrang! was coming from a low base: "If you look at where it was, its circulation is just over half what it used to be. The whole music sector has been struggling for a while."

IPC Media-owned New Musical Express’s high profile redesign in April this year failed to stem the influential magazine’s circulation decline. NME’s circulation was 33,875, down 17.3% year on year and 12% period on period.

Despite NME’s numbers Paul Williams, managing director of IPC Inspire, IPC Media’s men’s division, was confident about the iconic music brand’s future and said NME now reached more than 1.2 million people through its different formats.

Williams said: "NME’s circulation decline this year is less than it has been previously. The redesign in April made the magazine more relevant and gave it real energy, but as it was half was through the period, it is not truly reflected in this figure."

The biggest paid-for music magazine is Bauer Media’s Mojo, with an average issue circulation of 91,678, down 6.2% when compared with the same period of 2009, and down 6.9% when compared with the final six months of 2009.

Q, also published by Bauer Media, saw its circulation fall, but it closed the gap with Mojo. Q had an average issue circulation of 89,450, down 10.7% year on year and 5.7% period on period.

Film magazines also struggled during the period, which Amy King, deputy head of press at MPG Media Contacts, said was a reflection of the lack of big blockbusters.

King said: "When there are no big blockbusters, films magazines see circulation decline. I don’t think the publishers will be worried. It will only be if it happens again when there are big films that it might be a problem."

Bauer Media’s Empire is still the biggest magazine in the film and music sector, but its circulation of 179,064 in the first six months of 2010 was down 7.7% year on year and 7.8% period on period.

Williams said: "This half-year’s result is a blip, not a trend. The music market is similar to film. Both sectors have had a quiet year. Next year there will be many more major releases. These results don’t reflect our passion for music and film."

Future Publishing’s Total Film’s circulation also declined to 76,088 in the six months to 30 June, down 10.5% year on year and 6.1% period on period.

The Top 9 Film and Music Magazines
  Title Publisher Jan-Jun 2010 Prd/prd change Yr/yr change
1 Empire  Bauer Media 179,064 -7.8% -7.7%
2 Mojo  Bauer Media 91,678 -6.9% -6.2%
3 Q  Bauer Media 89,450 -5.7% -10.7%
4 Total Film  Future 76,088 -6.1% -10.5%
5 Uncut  IPC 74,067 -1.9% -3.2%
6 Classic Rock  Future 70,323 -1.3% 0.0%
7 Metal Hammer  Future 44,034 5.4% -4.3%
8 Kerrang!  Bauer Media 44,013 7.0% 1.8%
9 New Musical Express  IPC 33,875 -12.0% -17.3%