Motoring and fitness show the way for men’s magazine titles

ABCs: Men’s titles overall continue to decline in circulation but specialist titles with wider appeal, such as Top Gear, are just holding steady in the recession.

Men ' magazines

BBC Worldwide’s Top Gear, now helmed by former NME editor Conor McNicholas, stayed flat period on period and year on year, with an average net circulation figure of 200,796.

McNicholas has stated that he sees Top Gear having a broader men’s lifestyle appeal and is keen to leverage the brand across many media platforms.

The men’s fitness sector also remains stable with NatMag Rodale’s Men’ Health posting a rise of 0.2% year on year to 250,577 and Dennis Publishing’s Men’s Fitness up 0.1 % year on year to 68.037. Gadget titles still remain buoyant with Haymarket Consumer Media’s Stuff up 0.7% year on year and 13.2% period on period to 95,695.

Industry observers suggest that in the recession men see magazines as a discretionary purchase that can be cut, unlike women who see them as a cheap luxury and important indulgence. This has accelerated the collapse of the “lads’ mag.” print circulations.

Dennis Perks, press manager at Total Media, says: “The men’s market, full stop, is in a dire situation. People just aren’t buying as many magazines as they use to, so I think the market will continue to decline. It’s the ones that are identifying new markets or investing in their mags that will do quite well out of things.

“I think the recession has had a big impact. Some of the magazines are so expensive these days people do stop buying them, especially in the men’s market. With so much content online, why spend money on FHM for example, when you can spend nothing and get it all online?”

IPC weekly Nuts is down 24.4% year on year to 176,835 and Bauer Consumer Media’s Zoo has dropped 29.9% year on year to 102,043, with a slide below 100,000 beckoning for the next ABCs.

The monthlies continue to struggle with Bauer’s FHM falling 15.2% year on year to 231,235, although it arrested the decline period on period, dropping only 1.6%. The magazine has just had another revamp, as has IPC’s Loaded, which fell 20.9% year on year to 71,251 but fell only 2% period on period.

Both will be hoping that the overhaul, new columnists and associated marketing will restore fortunes.

NatMags’ Esquire dropped 1.5% year on year to 59.160 but rose 12.2% period on period.

Front, now owned by independent publisher Kane, posted a circulation of 41,946 , up 10.4% period on period; it has no year on year figure.

Music magazines also continue to flounder. IPC’s NME, under the editorship of Krissi Murison for the period, saw circulation drop 20.6% year on year to 38,486, although it fell 6% period on period. An NME spokesperson does point out across all platforms the NME brand has a weekly reach of well over one million.

Monthly sister title Uncut fell13.3 % year on year to 75,518 but. Bauer’s monthly Mojo managed a 0.8% rise period on period and a drop of only 2% year on year to 98,484.

The winner in the sector remains the legacy rock magazine Classic Rock, with Future Publishing’s title up 1.5% year on year to 71,242. Bauer’s weekly Kerrang! fell 21.3% year on year to 41.125.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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