- The men's magazine market appears to be in terminal decline with two thirds of the titles in the sector experiencing a year on year slump in circulation in the latest round of ABC figures.
The sector leader, lads magazine FHM from Emap Metro, posted a 9.6 per cent decline year on year to 701,089, and period on period was down 6.7 per cent. Loaded, the IPC magazine that founded the lads' magazine market, witnessed a 15.8 per cent year on year fall in circulation to 384,351.
Robert Tame, publishing director of IPC Music & Sport, said: "The market has become very competitive. It's still growing, but there's more switching going on." He added that he hoped to increase sales of Loaded through additional marketing which would take place later this year.
In the men's health market the only audited magazine in the sector, Men's Health from Rodale Publishing, which had undergone a period of dynamic growth during the last ABC audit period, also became a casualty of declining sales, with an 11 per cent year on year drop to 218,724.
Conde Nast's GQ turned in one of its healthiest set of ABC figures for a while under new editor Dylan Jones. The magazine saw an 11.5 per cent rise in circulation year on year to 145,144. Dennis Publishing's Maxim managed to pull a 3.1 per cent rise in sales year on year to 310,096 while John Brown Publishing's Bizarre recorded the largest increase in the entire sector, with a 27.4 per cent jump in sales year on year to 106,305.
While Emap Metro is facing a tough time with FHM, it also posted a 33.5 per cent drop in sales for Sky, which now has a circulation of 113,702. Its recently acquired Wagadon titles The Face and Arena also witnessed substantial circulation drops.
Verdict: The dynamic growth of the men's magazine market has reached its peak, and titles will continue to struggle in an increasingly crowded market. Overall it is unlikely that the market will recover although new titles, such as the IPC Music & Sport title Later, aimed at men who have outgrown the lads' magazines, are seeking to exploit new niches.