Fears that the National Lottery could damage the UK’s consumer magazine market have been rebutted by a robust set of Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, which show circulation has increased by more than six per cent in the past six months, year on year.
The ABC data, released simultaneously for the first time across 231 titles, shows an increase of 6.3 per cent year-on-year – a rise of 2.1 million copies.
Periodical Publishers Association chief executive Ian Locks says the rise that has taken place over the past five years continued despite the arrival of the National Lottery and magazine cover price increases.
Nigel Davidson, group managing director of IPC’s Weeklies Group and Southbank Publishing Group, agreed that the impact from the lottery had had no drastic effect on magazine sales as was previously predicted.
Separately, the Office for National Statistics has released figures showing a rise in consumer magazine expenditure of 8.5 per cent in the first quarter of 1996.
In the first six months of 1996, the biggest circulation movements were posted in the men’s magazine market, where FHM and Loaded both experienced increases of over 85 per cent compared with the same period last year, making them the fastest growing titles in the six-month period. They were followed by the Cable Guide with a 74 per cent year-on-year rise to 625,019.
In the teenage market, Attic Futura’s Sugar had the biggest rise, coming out on top with 361,764 – a rise of 37.8 per cent.
Smash Hits, which has been at the top of the teenage market for some time, had a significant drop of 33 per cent to 202,202 behind Sugar, It’s Bliss and TV Hits.
IPC Magazines still leads the women’s weekly magazine market. Its top two women’s weekly titles, Woman and Woman’s Own, increased slightly to 819,205 and 789,732.
Davidson says that recent price cuts for the two titles were used as an aggressive tactic in the face of major competition from Gruner & Jahr’s launch of Here!
The two biggest drops in the women’s sector were G&J’s OK! Magazine with a 44.9 per cent slump to 110,116, and IPC’s redesigned Eva, which dropped 23.3 per cent to 302,336.
IPC’s What’s on TV was the top-selling magazine according to the ABC figures, with a circulation of 1,692,070, up two per cent for the six- month period, while Reader’s Digest’s figures slid more than six per cent to 1,649,520.
See Media Analysis, page 16