The ABC figures reveal that the total number of magazines actively purchased in the past 12 months increased by 1%. This might not sound much but it actually equates to 12.3 million extra copies.
And, once again, it's the weeklies market that continues to show the most impressive results. Despite a circulation drop, What's on TV remains Britain's top-selling title, selling 1.5 million copies in the six months from January to June this year. The 40p title's total annual sales are worth just over £30m. However, on annual sales alone OK! beats it hands down with sales worth £51m a year.
Here we take a look at what's going on in several of the magazine categories.
Women's weeklies
The women's weeklies market remains the biggest category in magazines, with titles selling more than nine million copies each week on the UK news stand.
Star performers for the first half of 2006 include Reveal, up 25% year on year; New, up 23%; and Star, up a whopping 47.4%, but from a much smaller base, selling 239,000 copies in the six months against New's 428,000. Closer also put in a strong performance, with a 9.3% increase.
IPC Connect claims market leadership of women's weeklies, with six of its titles delivering 2.7 million copy sales each week, generating £104m in annual retail sales value.
IPC Connect managing director Evelyn Webster says: "There is an amazing appetite among UK women for weekly magazines and the sector remains incredibly competitive, with rival publishers throwing millions into new launches and sustaining their titles' circulations."
In the celebrity sector, Now delivered disappointing figures. However, Webster is upbeat, saying the magazine has avoided a strategy of rolling TV advertising, focusing instead on investment in both the editorial product and new channels - the most recent being the launch of Nowmagazine.co.uk.
She says: "Now is the textbook definition of a big brand. We're building more opportunities for readers to enjoy the brand on different platforms in different ways - and the website is only the beginning."
Woman and Woman's Own both recorded decreases in circulation, but both titles have been given make-overs in recent months. Woman, for instance, has been redesigned with 16 pages of additional regular content. The two magazines deliver a combined retail sales value of £31m.
TV weeklies
The TV weeklies market is an important one, not least of all because it includes Britain's number-one selling magazine, What's on TV. Despite the widespread availability of teletext and TV listings in all the national papers, five million copies of TV weeklies are sold each week.
IPC tx has announced cover price increases for What's on TV and TV easy, which it reckons will deliver almost £1.85m more in retail sales value. From September both titles will increase by 2p - from 40p to 42p and 38p to 40p respectively.
In addition, What's on TV has just announced the launch of What's on TV mobile, which means TV fans can access the latest TV news and programme listings through their mobile phone.
TV Quick has a cover price rise, too, from 70p to 75p, which coincides with a new look. According to publisher H Bauer,
this will build on existing strengths so will include more TV gossip, extra feature pages devoted to soaps, an extended celebrity fashion section as well as an increased focus on true life.
TV Choice moves up the overall rankings from third to the second biggest actively purchased title. Sales have increased by 130,000 copies year on year to 1.3 million copies, a rise of 11.2%.
Of course, you can't talk about TV listings without mentioning the Radio Times. Its circulation figures are slightly down but it still sold 985,000 copies on the news stand and delivers annual retail sales of £48.6m.
Radio Times publisher Kathy Day comments: "Radio Times remains the most trusted premium listings title in a fiercely competitive and volatile market."

Women's monthlies



Women's monthly magazines put in a pretty lacklustre performance, with most titles in decline. The one title really bucking the trend was Easy Living, with circulation up 17% to 200,000. Spirit & Destiny also had a good six months, with circulation up 10%. And Elle was another title that did well in this volatile market, with its highest ABC figure in five years. However, the biggest-selling women's monthly is Glamour, which is the 13th best selling magazine on the news stand, bringing in sales of £11m a year.

Men's lifestyle



Nuts is the best-selling men's weekly lifestyle title, worth £19.5m to news retailers. Its circulation figures for January to June were flat, which is not good but better than Zoo, whose figures were down 12%. But despite this the title delivers £15m-worth of sales a year.
In monthlies, Stuff recorded the biggest circulation growth but from a small base - so its figures for January to June were up 20% to 92,6000, while market leader FHM's figure was down 25%. It still managed a circulation of 421,000, though. As such, FHM is the most valuable men's monthly on the news stand, worth £15m a year.
The two men's healthy lifestyle titles - Men's Fitness and Men's Health - both recorded circulation gains.
IPC ignite! publishes Nuts. Managing director Tim Brooks says: "In June 2003, 1.45 million men's magazines were being sold each month. By June 2006, this figure had rocketed to 3.1 million each month, fuelled by the weekly genre that Nuts created. It's not yet three years since the magazine launched, yet two out of every five magazines
sold in the category are now copies of Nuts."

Kids' titles



There were two new launches from BBC Magazines - CBeebies Weekly and Doctor Who Adventures, both of which sold very well. Their debut circulation figures exceeded all expectations with 80,000-plus and 77,000-plus weekly/fortnightly sales respectively. Indeed, CBeebies Weekly made it into the top 100 news stand titles at number 99, with annualised sales worth £4.2m. BBC Children's Magazines joint managing director Toni Round comments: "The success of CBeebies Weekly has prompted spontaneous emails and letters from hundreds of satisfied parents who find the magazine's interactive features indispensable to their child's development. As well as supporting other BBC pre-school titles, it has grown the pre-school market by introducing new readers to the benefits of magazines for young children.
"Doctor Who Adventures has also been one of our most successful launches, particularly as its target market includes six- to 12-year-old boys - a challenging group to bring to the news stand. The title has also benefited from some of the best quality and exclusive Doctor Who-themed covermounted gifts."
The teenage magazine sector had a disastrous six months, with circulations down all round. But, that said, Bliss still had a circulation of 213,000, delivering £7m a year in news stand sales, while Sugar's circulation was 200,000, which delivers £5m of sales in a year.

What the symbols say...


Spar trading director licensed, Chris Lewis, reckons the magazine market is weak with too much focus on the weeklies and too little on monthlies: "Weeklies are the area in which all the focus is. This is having an impact on the value of titles and on closures. For instance, teenagers are reading magazines such as Heat rather than Sneak and Smash Hits. That said, some publishers are doing well, such as Hachette, because they are focusing on key titles and investing in them. Publishers need to seize the opportunities that events provide to revive the market, such as the PS3 launch. The motoring sector is a major concern, as is kids, but innovation is being seen in markets such as puzzles.
"In retail, the ranges are driven by shoppers so our focus is on creating the range that best suits them. We need to have a fixed range because of the issues within the supply chain, such as unauthorised product being delivered, but at the same time we need to provide the customer with the flexibility to get what they want. This can be provided through Shop Save or home delivery."

In brief


? Top Gear released another set of strong figures, with circulation up nearly 10% to 182,000, which is its highest ever figure. The title is worth £6.5m a year in sales to news retailers.
? Rock music titles have had a good year.
The outstanding performers, all showing double-digit growth, are Classic Rock, up 26.4% year
on year, Kerrang!, up 24.2%, and Metal Hammer, up 12.7%.
? The home interest category is a crowded one, with more and more TV tie-in titles being launched. However, despite a circulation dip of 4%, the best-selling news stand title is Ideal Home, worth just over £7m a year. Better performers in the January to June period included Real Homes Magazine with a circulation up 15% and 25 Beautiful Homes, up 7%.
? IPC SouthBank is closing Family Circle from the December 2006 issue, on sale November 9. In its heyday, the title was one of Britain's biggest-selling monthlies, but sales have been in decline for some time.
? BBC Good Food is still the UK's number one food title, outselling its nearest rival by more than three to one. For its October issue, on sale now, it gets a new look including a bolder logo for better on-shelf stand out. In addition, the title's flagship feature, Make it Tonight, has 25 recipes a month with bigger, bolder photographs.
? News Magazines' debut title Love It! posted its first ABC circulation figure of 405,441. Prior to the launch, the company said that it was aiming for a circulation of 400,000. It is expected to introduce another women's weekly title early next year.
? The best-selling supermarket title is Sainsbury's: The Magazine, with an annual retail sales value of nearly £5m.

Best-selling newspapers


Dailies:
1. The Sun - circulation 3.2 million
2. The Daily Mail - circulation 2.4 million
3. Daily Mirror - circulation 1.6 million
4. The Daily Telegraph - circulation 897,500
5. Daily Express - circulation 833,000
Sundays:
1. News of the World - circulation 3.5 million
2. The Mail on Sunday - circulation 2.2 million
3. Sunday Mirror - circulation 1.5 million
4. The Sunday Times - circulation 1.3 million
5. The People - circulation 840,000
Figures for July 3-30, 2006

Top 10 Best selling magazines


1. What's on TV
2. TV Choice
3. Take a Break
4. Radio Times
5. Closer
6. Heat
7. Chat
8. Now
9. OK!
10. That's life

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