The massive media interest surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, slowed the dramatic decline in the women’s weekly market in the six months from July to December but failed to turn it round, according to agency press buyers.
Figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, released once every six months for the magazine market, show the circulation of all the top five women’s weeklies fell over the six-month period.
IPC’s Eva showed the sharpest decline, of 17.4 per cent, down to a circulation of 216,575. Two other IPC titles, Woman and Woman’s Own, were down by 11.6 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively.
Colin Gottlieb, managing partner of Manning Gottlieb Media, says: “Circulations are down for the women’s weeklies but they would have been down further had it not been for the death of Diana. You have to look at the broader picture. There are more newspapers geared towards women and to an extent the newspapers are stealing the weeklies’ market.”
OK! Magazine, published by Northern Shell, and Hello!, published by Hello! Limited in the UK, were the only magazines to buck the trend in this sector. OK! circulation was up a massive 87.2 per cent to 226,504, and Hello! up 7.1 per cent to 574,585.
Steve Goodman, director of press at the Media Business in London, says: “A lot of the titles such as OK! did very well out of the death of Diana, but this points the finger at the ones that did not do so well, including titles such as Condé Nast’s Vogue and Vanity Fair.”
Vanity Fair and Vogue showed small increases of 2.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.
The stellar performers in other magazine sectors were EMAP’s FHM, which showed an increase of 76.3 per cent to 644,110, a positive trend echoed by many other men’s titles. However, Condé Nast’s GQ magazine was down 13.0 per cent to 129,294, although this has been blamed by some buyers on the launch of GQ Active. National Magazine Company’s Esquire was also down, by 4.3 per cent to 106,203.
The burgeoning computer magazines market recorded four out of the top five year-on-year gains including Future’s Official Play Station Magazine, the market leader, which increased by 156.4 per cent to 205,619.