The National Readership Survey has revealed disappointing average
readership figures for the magazine sector for the first half of 1998.
The data was unveiled just days before the six-monthly magazine Audit
Bureau of Circulations figures are due to be released on Friday.
With the exception of the men’s magazine market, most sectors have
performed badly, with the majority of magazines reporting a slump in
readership year on year and period on period.
The NRS figures, combined with an anticipated mixed bag of ABC results,
are causing concern among agencies that the magazine sector is
struggling in its quest to increase its total audience.
The men’s market ABCs will continue to show growth, with IPC’s Loaded,
Dennis Publishing’s Maxim and Emap Metro’s FHM all up. NRS figures show
a 17.7 per cent increase in readership for FHM, 20 per cent for Loaded
and more than 3 per cent for GQ.
NRS figures for the women’s market show a decline in readership across
the board, with Looks down 23 per cent and IPC’s 19 and Woman’s Journal
down 21 per cent.
However, Emap Elan and the National Magazine Company are expected to
reveal a healthy ABC performance, with increases for New Woman, Elle and
Cosmopolitan. This year’s newcomer to the market from Emap Elan, Red, is
understood to have topped its target of 180,000.
NRS paints a bleak picture for the TV weeklies and listings sector. With
the exception of IPC’s What’s On TV, all titles suffered a decline in
readership. Time Out was the worst hit with a 24.8 per cent fall year on
year and 14 per cent drop period on period.
NRS also unveiled the much-contested figures for newspapers and
newspaper supplements after a change in methodology. They were described
by one media head as ’a disastrous set of figures’.
All newspapers and supplements have registered a decline in readership
with the exception of the Times, the Mirror and Daily Record.