Men’s mags rely on fitness for healthy figures

ABC: Fitness and sport titles have managed to retain readers amid a general plummet for men’s lifestyle magazines, according to the latest ABC data.

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The overall Men’s Lifestyle sector saw average net circulation fall 5.1% to 2.39m in the six months from July to 30 December, year on year.

Bright spots include Dennis Publishing’s Men’s Fitness up 1.2% year on year to 68,843, while River publishing’s Healthy For Men jumped 16.8% to 59,992. NatMag Rodales’ Men’s Health is down 1.9% for the period, year on year, to 245,923.

Free weekly title Sport, owned by UTV, saw distribution stay flat at 306,540

Tech-based titles also continue to thrive with Condé Nast’s Wired up 3.7% to 50,044, year on year. Veteran title GQ held steady with an average net circulation of 120,087 year on year while National Magazine’s Esquire inched up 0.4% to 59,382, year on year.

The so-called lads’ magazines have continued their decline with Bauer’s monthly FHM dropping 23.3% to 177,261 for the period, year on year. The title’s editor quit last month and a redesign is in the works.

Former IPC monthly Loaded, now owned by Vitality Publishing, posted a fall of 30.6% year on year to drop below 50,000 to 49, 448. Front, now owned by Kane, is down 7.9% to 38,645.

The independent publishers need a game plan for these titles if they are to reap the rewards of their investment.

IPC’s weekly Nuts posted a 19.6 % drop for the period, year on year, to 142,212, while Bauer’s Zoo fell 32.8% to 68,610.

Publishers operating in the men’s lifestyle sector will be watching to see how the new men’s supplement to be launched by News of The World on 6 March impacts on the sector and which audience it intends to target.Amy King, head of press at MPG, posits that the NoW will try to tap into the original lads’ mag audience that has grown up.

There is also speculation whether Bauer will launch its men’s mag, Gaz7etta, first sampled last October, as a permanent title.

Free men’s weekly Shortlist, from Shortlist Media, has established itself in this space and looks a tough competitor. Its distribution was up 1.7% to 521, 713 for the period, year on year.

Music magazines continue to struggle with the overall total down 10% year on year, although the print products are essential to springboarding the brands into live events and on to other lucrative platforms.

IPC’s weekly NME fell 16.4% year on year to 32,166 while monthly title Uncut dropped 3.9% to 72, 586.

Bauer’s Mojo and Q fell 3.9% to 94,617 and 6.9% to 88,240 respectively.

Metal retains a loyal audience with Future’s Metal Hammer holding steady at 41,626 and Bauer’s Kerrang! up 4.5% to 42,967.

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