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10 things you need to know about the latest consumer magazine ABCs for the second half of 2015

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  • Cosmopolitan laughed in the face of falling circulations across the industry with an emphatic 56.8% increase on the last period to 405,308 after dropping its cover price and boosting the number of free copies. Elsewhere in the Women’s Lifestyle/Fashion category there were gains for HELLO! (up 2.3% to 267,299), Good Housekeeping (up 1.4% to 409,696) and Woman & Home (1.8% to 336, 192) – but heavier falls for titles including Look (down 12.0% to 116,024) and Essentials (down 14.5% to 89,068).


  • The Women’s Weekly sector suffered falls across most of its titles, with the most notable exception being a fantastic performance from OK!. Northern & Shell’s OK! Increased its circulation by 37.5% from the last period, offsetting a heavy drop last time around - although year on year performance remains down by 5.7%. The sector’s top seller remains Take A Break which suffered a 3.2% fall to 589,495, while rivals Heat and Now both recorded decreases, of 11.8% to 163,392 and 9.5% to 126,921 respectively. The sector has a whole fell 11.4% year on year to 4,160,049.
  • Overall, the highest-circulating paid-for title is still TV Choice, which suffered a slight decline of 0.6% to 1,268,265. Fellow TV guides What’s On TV and Radio times remain the second and third highest-selling titles. What’s On TV recorded a 1.8% fall to 997,160, while Immediate Media will be pleased with Radio Times’s performance, increasing 2.8% from the last period to 732,765.
  • Some good news for the Men’s Lifestyle sector which saw more increases than falls in this audit, although overall the sector fell by 0.9% year on year to 1,630,181. Freely distributed Shortlist stays top after growing its distribution by 0.7% to 505,562, while the number one seller remains Men’s Health, managing a slight increase of 0.4% to 194,682. Haymarket’s Forever Sports boasts the biggest gain in the sector, up 15.9% on the last audit period to 104,974. The release didn’t bring good news to all Men’s Lifestyle brands though, with Dennis Publishing’s Men Fitness suffering a substantial decrease to 30,998, down 18.0% on last period and 32.3% year on year.
  • News & Current Affairs retains its title as the sector most immune to changes in media consumption with another positive audit. The Spectator celebrates a 28.8% increase to 71,707, while the top seller remains Private Eye which increased circulation by 0.7% on the last audit period to 229,777.
  • NME’s move to shed its cover price has seen the brand record its highest ever ABC, reporting a circulation of 307,217 in its first audit as a free magazine. Bauer hasn’t lost its Mojo with the magazine still the highest selling in the Music: Rock market, and posting the biggest increase of paid-for titles in the market, up 4.7% to 70,445. The biggest faller in the sector is Kerrang! down 12.5% on the last period to a concerning 24,207 and down 20.1% year on year. 
  • The latest audit will be hard to stomach at the Reader’s Digest, with the independent title being the biggest (non-children’s) faller from the last audit period. The 78 year old title decreased its circulation by 33.0% to 102,701 (down 27.3% year on year).
  • While adults continue to turn away from magazines, children are continuing to read more. The Children’s Magazines: Primary – Boys sector grew by 51.3% on last year to 578,361 copies, while Primary – Girls expanded by 24.4% to 455,279. Children’s magazine publisher Egmont UK will be particularly pleased with this trend having increased their own total circulation for the year by 41.5% to 639,706.
  • Two other publishers that had a strong audit were Hearst Magazines and Immediate Media. Hearst Magazines were the highest circulating publisher to increase sales year on year, up 0.8% to 4,571,543, helped in no small part by the fantastic performance of Cosmopolitan. Immediate Media increased their circulations by 1.8% on last year to 2,426,915, boosted by gains across its children’s portfolio.
  • Time Inc. UK remains the country’s biggest consumer publisher with a total circulation of 4,912,351, but will be less pleased with how it fared, down 2.5% on last year and suffering decreased circulations across many of its key titles, including What’s On TV, Woman’s Weekly, Chat, Woman and Woman’s Own.

*where not indicated all figures are for combined print and digital audits.