The Top 100 Magazines: Teen Magazines

There was scant cheer to be found in the teenage lifestyle and entertainment market this year, with the majority of titles suffering declining ABCs.

Emap's More was the teen sector's only real success story. The title leapedfrogged its sister title Bliss and Hachette Filipacchi's Sugar to become the market leader, with a 1.2 percent increase in sales. Sugar, which long occupied the top spot, posted a significant double-digit period-on-period fall. The title has relaunched in a smaller format this year in an attempt to win back readers.

Emap's Bliss benefited from Sugar's downfall and, despite its own drop, overtook its rival to take the number-two slot. Julie Harris, the general manager of Hachette Filipacchi's women's group, says: "Bliss has done a fantastic job with gifting and price promotions. We chose not to do this but changed Sugar's format, following an editorially added-value route."

Teen entertainment titles showed an overall decline of almost 23 per cent across 2005. Publishers found it increasingly difficult to retain teenage readers, having to compete with the internet, computer games and paid-for mobile phone content.

Marcus Rich, the managing director of Emap Elan, says: "Teenage girls used to be voracious consumers of entertainment magazines. There is now a greater pressure on disposable income as they have access to broadband and multichannel TV. There is no such thing as a teenager anymore - they are mini-adults with access to their parents' celebrity magazines."

As a result, the market has seen a number of title closures. Hachette has suspended publication of its teen spin-off ELLEgirl and Emap closed its teen music title Smash Hits! in January.

The ELLEgirl closure has left COSMOgirl! and Mizz as the only contenders in the "little sister" market.

Since reverting back to a monthly frequency, after a trial as a weekly, COSMOgirl!'s circulation has risen 18.8 per cent year on year.

Reader desertion forced Emap to ditch Smash Hits! after 28 years. In 2005, the title shed 26.7 per cent of its circulation to sell an average 92,398 copies an issue, from 126,100 copies last year. Emap blamed the declining popularity of the magazine on competition from the internet and mobile entertainment, as well as changing tastes in music.

Meanwhile, BBC Magazines' Top of the Pops and It's Hot also experienced circulation declines. Duncan Grey, the associate publisher of teen magazines at BBC Worldwide, says the dominance of rock music and the lack of superstar teen bands contributed to the difficult climate: "There has been a decline in pure pop acts in the music industry. Teenagers have become mad for technology and they are also moving more towards celebrity titles."

He adds: "We are embracing these changes, positioning mobile and web offerings alongside our magazines as well as including scandalous celebrity shots and horoscopes in our content."

Verdict The teenage love affair with magazines is ever dwindling and publishers agree that teenagers seem increasingly to be getting the information they want via the internet, mobile phones and digital TV. To maintain readerships, magazines must continually adapt the focus of their content to current teenage trends.

TEEN MAGAZINES TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on Year-on -period -year % change % change More Emap 277,862 0.8 1.2 Bliss Emap 277,165 0.3 -2.8 Sugar Hachette Filipacchi 250,099 -12.3 -15.3 COSMOgirl! NatMags 173,135 5.8 18.8 Top of the Pops BBC Magazines 96,576 -31.1 -51.9 Smash Hits! Emap 92,398 -23.3 -26.7 Shout DC Thomson 74,409 10.5 10.3 Sneak Emap 74,299 -7.2 -18.3 It's Hot BBC Magazines 64,321 -21.7 -36.7 TV Hits Essential Publishing 63,644 -24.6 -38.6 Mizz IPC 60,425 -9.2 -14.1

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