IPC Media Brands Resilient in Challenging Market Conditions
IPC Media – the UK’s biggest consumer magazine publisher – today unveils a robust set of magazine circulation figures in challenging market conditions, while continuing to make strong progress in driving its digital business.
The latest ABC figures (January to June, 2007) highlight strong performances for key IPC brands, while this year has also seen the successful launch of a raft of powerful new online brands, including www.instylemagazine.co.uk, www.housetohome.co.uk, and our latest launch, www.goodtoknow.co.uk.
IPC chief executive Sylvia Auton says: "This is a sterling set of figures for a range of true power brands. While it’s clear remorseless year-on-year growth is no longer a realistic ambition for any publisher, brilliantly conceived and skillfully executed new launches will always find a big audience – as we’ve demonstrated with our new star weekly, Look.
“Beyond print, we’re delivering on our promise in the digital arena – leveraging the power of IPC brands through multi-platform growth will continue to be at the heart of our business strategy. Housetohome and – most recently – goodtoknow are clear examples of how we are harnessing our peerless market knowledge to create powerful online destinations.”
Highlights from this round of ABCs include:
- Look, the UK’s first and only high street fashion and celebrity weekly, delivers a stunning debut ABC of 318,907, far exceeding expectations and making it the biggest selling fashion magazine in the UK in volume terms
- Pick Me Up, which re-invented the real life sector when it launched in January 2005, delivers a phenomenal 5.3% growth on the period, up 0.4% on the year to 447,100
- Nuts, the men’s weekly publishing phenomenon from IPC Ignite, extends its lead over rival Zoo to a new record of 90,537 copies.
Nuts now sells more copies in a week on the UK newsstand (269,498) than FHM sells in a month (253,171)
- Essentials is reaping the benefits of its new look in January, turning in a sparkling ABC of 100,047, up a massive 37% on the period and 34.9% on the year
- In the soap sector, TX’s Soaplife is once again celebrating an increase in sales, with an ABC of 109,427. Up 12.2% on the period and 18.2% on the year, this is Soaplife’s 5th consecutive year-on-year ABC increase
- Southbank’s market-leading portfolio of homes titles continues to shine, with Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors and 25 Beautiful Homes all up on the period and the year.
- Ideal Home maintains its number one position in the homes sector for the sixteenth consecutive period, delivering an ABC of 233,630, up 0.9% period-on-period
- In the competitive monthly fashion sector, Marie Claire is rock solid, delivering an ABC of 332,705, up 0.5% year-on-year.
- Amateur Gardening posts an ABC of 48,362, up 7.1% period-on-period, outperforming the market, and widening its lead over rival Garden News to 4,315
- Golf Monthly also delivers an impressive ABC result of 74,801, up 1.4% year-on-year
Today IPC Ignite publishes ABC audited Group Product Reports for the first time across NME, Nuts and Loaded. The audited results reveal for the first time the true scale of the brands online, highlighting their cross channel reach both in the UK and beyond.
IPC Ignite managing director Eric Fuller says: “NME, Nuts and Loaded are three of the most potent brands in UK media. Their audiences are sophisticated users of a variety of different media channels so it is important for us to ensure we provide them with unique branded experiences online. These ABC Group Product Reports underline our commitment to providing meaningful, audited data on the real strength of these powerful brands.”
In print, IPC Ignite titles continue to lead innovation in the highly competitive men’s market.
Ground-breaking men’s weekly Nuts continues to extend its lead over rival, Zoo. Nuts is now selling 90,537 more copies every week than Zoo – the biggest sales gap ever, and up from 76,761 a year ago – and delivers an ABC of 277,269, 6% down on the period and 9% down on the year. Worth £19.2million in RSV on the UK newsstand – 48% more than Zoo – the magazine has a 60% share of the weeklies market, selling over 6.9 million copies in the period.
The brand is also driving innovation in men’s media. Last month IPC Ignite announced a long-term partnership with Turner Broadcasting System to launch NUTSTV, which will go live on Freeview in September, accessing an eight million-strong audience. And earlier this week www.nuts.co.uk unveiled its first ABCe, delivering a fantastic audited 631,467 unique users monthly. Earlier this year, www.nuts.co.uk launched a range of free Bedroom Babe video podcasts exclusively on iTunes, instantly crashing into the iTunes UK download chart. Elsewhere, Nuts has launched a very successful off portal mobile channel, and partnered with WKD and ITV4 for the televised WKD Nuts Football Awards. And in May Nuts publishing director Jo Smalley was awarded the prestigious Publisher of the Year accolade at the PPA Awards.
Eric says: “Nuts is rapidly becoming the definitive modern men’s media brand. It sells almost 1.2 million copies every month and, for the first time, now sells more copies in a week than FHM sells in a month on the UK newsstand*. Add to that the growing power of www.nuts.co.uk online – and the vast additional audience NUTSTV will deliver after launch next month – and it’s clear the Nuts brand is fulfilling its massive potential.”
Elsewhere, Loaded continues to be buffeted by the tough conditions in the men’s monthly market – which has seen all three mainstream monthlies in significant decline. With an ABC of 120,492, Loaded is down 25.9% on the period, but maintains its number two position on the UK newsstand. Loaded has continued with its strategy of developing the brand – delivering true marketing innovation with its highly targeted and successful 3D DVD giveaway and the recent inflatable Loaded beer barrel – and www.loaded.co.uk this week unveils its debut ABCe, delivering 206,952 unique users every month.
Eric adds: "Loaded created the modern men’s market, and despite tough conditions for all the mainstream monthlies, Loaded continues to innovate. Loaded remains one of the most iconic brands in men’s media – and the strength of its personality continues to resonate with readers and advertisers.
“Overall, this round of circulation figures illustrates that, by volume, IPC Ignite now sells more than half of all men’s lifestyle magazines on the UK newsstand.”
Iconic music title NME, delivers a weekly sale of 68,151, down slightly on the period by 6.7%. Last month saw the magazine, under award-winning editor Conor McNicholas, unveil a major refresh to further connect with Britain’s fast-moving music fans. In the ABC period NME unveiled a series of truly innovative marketing initiatives through the magazine – including its first ever NME Awards DVD, an exclusive Muse-curated CD and a very special partnership with White Stripes to deliver a limited edition vinyl cover mount, which was being traded on eBay before the magazine even hit the newsstand!
The NME brand continues to thrive across a range of other platforms, with the award-winning www.nme.com announcing earlier this week an incredibly strong ABCe of 1,693,196 unique users. This sterling result underlines the growing importance of www.nme.com as an international brand, breaking music news 24 hours a day, while also allowing consumers access to reviews, blogs, exclusive video content and music. Earlier this month NME also unveiled NME Mobile, an off portal site allowing users to access a range of NME content, as well as download over one million full music tracks direct to handsets and PCs.
Eric says: “NME is an internationally iconic music brand. The magazine has refreshed and is in great shape; the website reaches ever-greater heights – delivering well over one million page impressions a day during this year’s Glastonbury Festival. And with a rich mobile offering, vibrant roster of live music tours and best-selling retail CDs the NME brand is one of the most successful in UK media.”
Music and movie monthly Uncut, under editor Allan Jones, has delivered an ABC of 85,884, down 3.2% on the year but increasing its market share to 20%. July saw the title celebrate its tenth anniversary with a very special Bob Dylan-themed issue and a party headlined by critically acclaimed US rockers The Hold Steady at IPC’s new home the Blue Fin Building. This year has also seen Uncut extend its relationship with the Mean Fiddler’s new music and arts festival, Latitude.
Eric adds: “Uncut is quite rightly considered the UK’s most authoritative music and movie magazine. Allan Jones and his team can be justifiably proud of everything they have achieved in the last ten years, and the magazine’s current exclusive Paul Weller-curated CD typifies the peerless quality of artist access we consistently achieve.”
* based on average issue sales
The women’s weeklies market remains the biggest category in magazine publishing. Selling over nine million copies each week at the UK newsstand, the sector has grown massively in recent years – driven both organically and by intense launch activity.
IPC Connect is the clear market leader – with its seven reporting brands delivering 2.9 million copy sales every week, generating £128m in annual retail sales value at the UK newsstand.
IPC Connect managing director Evelyn Webster says: “The women’s weekly market is as dynamic, competitive and exciting as ever, and Connect is in fantastic shape. With this latest round of circulation figures we’ve increased market share in both value and volume terms, and Look’s success is the icing on the cake.”
Launched in February and backed by an £18million investment, ground breaking high street fashion and celebrity weekly Look delivers an incredible debut ABC of 318,907 – smashing sales expectations and proving it’s the hottest title on the UK newsstand. With sales of over 1.3 million copies every month, the magazine is on target to deliver £21million in annual retail sales value, making an instant debut in the UK newsstand RSV top ten.
Evelyn adds: “Look has stormed the UK newsstand and in total volume terms has instantly become the biggest selling fashion magazine in the UK. The high street fashion market has never been hotter – young women are relishing their decade of indulgence and Look is their perfect weekly fashion fix. Editor Ali Hall and her amazing team have brought genuine innovation to the weeklies sector, and they’re rightly reaping the rewards.”
In the hotly contested real life sector, Connect’s Pick Me Up and Chat have shown incredible brand loyalty, despite extensive and sustained marketing activity from rivals.
Pick Me Up, delivering its fifth ABC result since launching in January 2005 under editor June Smith-Sheppard, shows a fantastic circulation hike to 447,100 – up an amazing 5.3% on the period and 0.4% on the year. Meanwhile under editor Gilly Sinclair, sister title Chat has consolidated its number two position in the market, delivering an ABC of 511,510, down 4.8% on the period. Both titles have also driven RSV in the period, Pick Me Up increasing cover price from 60p to 65p, while Chat has driven cover price from 76p to 78p.
Evelyn says: “Despite two high profile launches coming into the sector head-to-head with Chat and Pick Me Up in 2006, our titles continue to show huge brand power. While others are spending millions on propping up circulations – and consequently delivering tens of thousands of lower rate sales – our brands continue to sell almost one million copies every week, generating an annual RSV of £34.5m.”
In the celebrity sector, Now delivers an ABC of 494,229, down 8.5% on the period and the year. While rivals have ploughed millions into TV advertising across the period, Connect has invested in the magazine product and new channels like www.nowmagazine.co.uk. New editor Helen Johnston unveiled a comprehensive refresh of the magazine earlier this month, and since re-launching last summer, the website has seen unique users up fifty-fold and page impressions up a hundred-and-fifty-fold.
Evelyn says: “Under new editor Helen Johnston Now has been given a new lease of life. She’s created a stunning, contemporary celebrity weekly with a sharp, amusing tone of voice and unrivalled breadth of celebrity content. Whether it’s on the newsstand or online, Now is the UK’s premier one-stop resource for up-to-the-minute celebrity and style news.”
In the mainstream weeklies category, Woman and Woman’s Own both continue to exhibit improving sales trends on the year – and increase their UK newsstand share of the mainstream sector by 2.4 percentage points to 54.6% - their biggest share for three years.
Woman, under editor Jackie Hatton, delivers an ABC of 369,982, down 4.9% on the period, and is driving fantastic retail sales growth, following a major redesign and a cover price increase from 78p to 85p last year. Sister title Woman’s Own also unveiled a £2million editorial reinvention in April under new editor Karen Livermore, similarly driving cover price from 78p to 85p. The magazine delivers an ABC of 344,765, down 3.4% on the year. The two magazines together deliver a combined RSV of £30.4m.
Evelyn adds: “Woman and Woman’s Own are huge brands. Both have unveiled major redesigns over the last year, under the fantastic Jackie Hatton and Karen Livermore – and are perfectly in tune with their readers. Both titles are clearly stemming previous negative sales trends – and driving RSV. This is a strong set of results – and the next will be stronger.”
Woman’s Weekly continues to lead the mature sector of the weeklies, delivering an ABC of 369,926, showing an improving sales trend, down only 5.5% year-on-year and retaining its position as one of the UK’s top 20 women’s weekly titles.
Meanwhile, August sees the launch of www.goodtoknow.co.uk from the IPC Connect portfolio. Connecting women with the best practical and inspirational ideas, tips and advice to help them with their busy lives, www.goodtoknow.co.uk will grow to become an indispensable online destination for UK women.
IPC TX continues to lead the competitive TV weeklies market, where sales remain buoyant at more than five million copies every week. TX maintains its commitment to increasing cover prices and driving innovation in its print and digital portfolios.
TX’s flagship title, What’s on TV, reports an ABC of 1,422,486, down 1.1% on the period and 5.8% on the year, a reflection of the competitive market. What’s on TV’s cover price increase to 43p in April makes it 23% higher than its value sector rival TV Choice at 35p, and has boosted retail sales value for the title by 1.3%, both on the period and on the year.
Meanwhile, www.whatsontv.co.uk, which launched in January this year, is outperforming expectations, already reaching 240,000 users and beating page impression targets by 100%.
Fiona Dent, managing director of IPC TX, says: “What’s on TV provides a quality editorial package that sells more than 1.4 million copies every week. With its cover price a sizeable 23% higher than its closest competitor, What’s on TV delivers millions more in RSV for retailers and an attractive, higher spending audience for advertisers. To top it off, whatsontv.co.uk is flying – increasing the brand’s reach to a far greater level than ever before.”
Sister title TV easy delivers an ABC of 284,867, which, against a heavily promoted launch phase, is down 2.9% period-on-period and 5.5% year-on-year. TV easy’s cover price increase from 40p to 42p in April has grown its RSV by 4.4% on the year and 2% on the period.
Fiona says: “With its innovative compact format, TV easy has grown the market and attracted a new, younger audience to the TV weeklies sector. This quick-flick guide has clearly established itself as an armchair favourite in homes across the UK.”
In the premium sector, TVTimes posts an ABC of 353,014, down 5.3% on the year – its lowest decline since 1999. The results highlight an improving underlying sales trend, as TVTimes continues to benefit from a major redesign last year.
Fiona says: “TVTimes is a much-loved magazine and is performing exactly as we hoped, achieving an improving year-on-year trend for the third time since its redesign.”
Meanwhile, TV & Satellite Week is the clear number one in the multi-channel market, delivering an ABC of 201,532, down 2.8% on the period and 4.9% on the year. TV & Satellite Week has outperformed the premium sector period-on-period and it continues to deliver for retailers, achieving 92% more RSV than its nearest rival.
In the soap sector, TX title Soaplife is once again celebrating an increase in sales, with an ABC of 109,427. Up 12.2% on the period and 18.2% on the year, this is Soaplife’s 5th consecutive year-on-year ABC increase.
Fiona says: “Soaplife has performed brilliantly – yet again. It is a fantastic proposition and soap fans in the UK clearly love it!”
* IPC TX is committed to driving RSV in the TV weeklies sector over the long-term and has increased cover price across its portfolio. In the value sector, What’s on TV’s cover price increased by 1p from 42p to 43p in April 2007 and at the same time TV easy increased cover price by 2p from 40p to 42p. Competitor TV Choice remains at 35p.
In the premium sector, TVTimes increased its cover price by 3p to 93p and TV & Satellite Week increased by 5p to £1.05 in December 2006.
In the competitive women’s monthlies market, IPC Southbank is delivering excellent ABC performances especially with its recently-evolved brands, and it continues to develop innovative properties in the digital space.
Southbank’s entire home interest portfolio has demonstrated once again why it is the outright market leader in this sector, with all five titles showing ABC increases on the period and four rising on the year.
Ideal Home maintains its number one position for the sixteenth consecutive period, delivering an ABC of 233,630, up 0.9% period-on-period and down 1.6% year-on-year. There is development in the pipeline for the title under new editorial director Isobel McKenzie-Price.
25 Beautiful Homes goes from strength to strength, increasing its circulation once again, up 1.9% on the year, with an ABC of 116,521. Country Homes & Interiors continues to benefit from its 2006 new look, posting an ABC of 82,345, which is up 5.9% year-on-year.
Homes & Gardens reports a stable ABC of 139,100, up 0.6% period-on-period and 0.1% year-on-year, and Livingetc, Britain’s biggest-selling modern homes magazine, posts an ABC of 90,664, up 1.8% on the period and 0.2% on the year.
Jackie Newcombe, IPC Southbank managing director, says: “IPC Southbank has shown its authority in the home interest market once again, with our strong brands performing well in a competitive market. Our new stand-alone website, housetohome.co.uk, capitalises on our home interest expertise, and is already extremely popular with consumers and advertisers.”
In the competitive monthly fashion sector, Marie Claire is rock solid, delivering an ABC of 332,705, up 0.5% year-on-year. In October 2006, Marie Claire revealed a more grown-up, elegant new look that focuses on the magazine’s core strengths of fashion, beauty, real life reportage, celebrity and trusted advice.
Jackie says: "Marie Claire’s new look has proven to be a great success with readers and advertisers alike.
“At the same time, marieclaire.co.uk is performing tremendously and we will continue to invest in the site, which has become one of the fastest growing in the UK women’s fashion market.”
In Style, the upmarket fashion and style bible, reports an ABC of 178,699, down 1.8% period-on-period (down 9.3% year-on-year).
Jackie says: “Editor Trish Halpin has done a fantastic job of developing In Style since joining the magazine. Her new look took effect from the April issue, half way through the ABC period. We’re delighted with the results, which, coupled with the launch of the hugely successful instylemagazine.co.uk, make us extremely excited about the brand’s future.” Essentials is benefiting from its new look, turning in an ABC of 100,047, up a massive 37% on the period and 34.9% on the year.
Jackie says: “I’m thrilled with this ABC result for Essentials. With investment in a new look, the team has delivered everything that was asked of them and more, producing a compelling read for Essentials readers; young mums with kids. What’s more, retail sales value for Essentials is up a staggering 44%.”
In the 40-plus market, woman&home reports an ABC of 320,934, up 1.6% period-on-period (down 1.3% year-on-year).
Jackie says: “This is a great performance from woman&home, delivering a solid circulation in a highly competitive market. woman&home is selling well on the newsstand and we have had very pleasing results from the travel-size edition launched in April.”
In the IPC Inspire portfolio two titles are reporting this period – Amateur Gardening and Golf Monthly.
Amateur Gardening posts an ABC of 48,362, up 7.1% period-on period. Outperforming the market, it retains its title as the number one gardening weekly ahead of Garden News for the third consecutive period and widens the gap to 4,315 copies.
Golf Monthly also delivers an impressive ABC result of 74,801, up 1.4% year-on-year, with UK newsstand trading up 0.8% year-on-year. Golf Monthly is the only title in the sector posting both a positive newsstand and year-on-year increase. It is also the only title with a significant market share movement of 2.7%, with 36.3% share of the market.
Publishing director Hamish Dawson says: “Both of these results are very pleasing. Anyone working in the gardening market this year will know just how challenging it’s been, so it’s great to see that the editorial changes we made to Amateur Gardening in January, supported by some brilliant marketing, are really paying off. Likewise with Golf Monthly: a brilliant, refreshed editorial package, coupled with compelling added value promotions has delivered a second successive year-on-year ABC increase, making a total of seven year-on-year ABC increases since 2002.”
IPC Inspire managing director Paul Williams says: “These results reflect the fantastic work carried out by the editorial teams. Both titles are significantly outperforming their markets and we’re in a great position to continue to grow circulation.”
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