Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be room for another women's weekly along comes IPC's Look, described as the UK's first high street fashion and celebrity title. Its launch is backed by an £18m spend and IPC Connect's managing director Evelyn Webster says it's already "setting a blistering pace at the UK news stand".
However when it comes to established titles the star performer, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation's figures for July to December 2006, was actually Star magazine with a 26% increase year on year in actively purchased copies. This puts the magazine at number 35 in the top 100 newstrade titles with an annualised retail value of just over £12m. Grazia was no slouch either on sales, recording an increase of just under 22%. It comes further down the top 100 at number 45, but its £1.80 cover price gives it an annualised retail sales value of £17.4m.
Sticking with women's weeklies, Hello! was up 9.2% in actively purchased copies in the latter part of 2006; New! was up 6.5%; Closer up 5.4%; and Heat up 4.2%.
OK!'s circulation was down - however it retains its position as the title with the biggest annualised retail value, worth £54m on the news stand.
Its closest rival remains the Radio Times, worth £50.5m. Elsewhere in the TV listings category, TV Choice performed very well in the final six months of 2006, with an 11.7% rise in actively purchased copies. It is also the number two best selling magazine in the newstrade, behind What's on TV.
Back to women's titles and in the monthlies, Psychologies performed well, up 20% in actively purchased copies. Upmarket Vanity Fair was on the up too, with an increase of 15% while Vogue enjoyed growth of 8.5%.
The men's sector did not have it so easy. ABC analysis by Seymour Marketing Services reports that men's monthlies saw an overall newstrade decline of 22.6% year on year, with seven of the 12 titles audited reporting year-on-year declines. Arena was down by 34%, FHM by 29%, Loaded by 35% and Maxim by 25%.
Seymour reports that Dennis Publishing's Men's Fitness showed a healthy increase of 9.3% in newstrade sales and says titles like this, that focus more on looking after yourself than mainstream lifestyle content, are generally reporting better performances.
The relatively new category of men's weeklies is having a hard time with the circulations of both Nuts and Zoo down in the period from July to December 2006.
Meanwhile, men's gadget-based titles are in growth with Stuff For Men up nearly 7% in the newstrade and T3 up 5%. Recent research by MarketForce, using Tesco Clubcard information, found that people who have stopped buying men's magazines have moved onto specialist leisure and sport titles.
That's probably one of the reasons why Top Gear continues its growth with circulation up 8.5%, making it the biggest motoring title in the UK. It has also overtaken Loaded to become the number three men's monthly behind FHM and Men's Health.
Despite the widespread availability of satellite TV, DVDs and games consoles, comics are still a hit with kids. Indeed the children's magazine market is now worth £107m a year and is expected to grow as new titles are launched.
Seymour Marketing Services reports that pre-school mags saw a news trade drop of 9% at the end of last year but predicts a boost from the soon-to-be-launched Underground Ernie and Charlie and Lola, both from BBC Magazines. However within the current market there was one star performer - Noddy Magazine which saw a 44% rise in actively purchased copies.
Disney's Princess also did well with 22% year-on-year growth.
Free flight in a snap
Exchange & Mart (E&M) has launched a retailer loyalty programme in London and the South East in a bid to raise the magazine's profile in the independent trade. The initiative coincides with a £5m advertising campaign in the region.
The 'Win Free Flights In A Snap' incentive scheme sees stockists of the magazine entered into a prize draw. They have the chance of winning £1,000-worth of flight vouchers - the incentive being that the more effort they put into merchandising E&M, the greater their chance of winning.
To help retailers with their merchandising, E&M is sending out shelf wobblers and tent cards that can be used to promote a second display of the title - ideally near the till. E&M marketing manager David Owen explains: "Display of the shelf wobbler will qualify the retailer for an extra entry into the draw and the tent card will receive a reward of five extra entries as E&M is really keen for the retailers to promote the magazine outside its usual shelf space."
Retailers receive the extra entries by sending a photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org or by camera phone to 07786 202404, starting the message with the word 'flight'.
They need to include their name and the name of their shop in both cases. The prize draw will take place on May 8.
Owen says London and the South East was chosen for the activity because it is the magazine's heartland.
Top10 Best Selling Magazines
(by single newstrade copies sold July-Dec 2006)
Title/cover price/copies/annualised retail value
1. What's on TV
2. TV Choice
3. Take a Break
4. Radio Times
Martin Smyth of Spar Clarawood in Belfast says he wouldn't be without newspapers and magazines because they are such a good footfall driver in the mornings.
"Profit-wise they are not that good but for footfall you can't get better," he says.
His best sellers are the women's weeklies and the TV guides and he says he usually gets enough copies of these to satisfy demand. There has been talk in the industry of sales-based replenishment where wholesalers allocate supplies by anticipating the number of copies a retailer will sell. Martin is hopeful that this might put an end to him getting titles that he won't sell full stop. He explains: "At the moment I get copies of magazines that I don't want - it seems the wholesalers want to keep your money and keep the magazines' circulations up. For example, I got sent six copies of a title called Flying in Ireland, which cost £4.99 each. My shop is in the middle of a housing estate so those copies were never going to sell. All it meant was that I had £30 tied up in stock that wouldn't sell and I had to wait two weeks to get my money back. When things like that happen I try to get the supplies of those titles cut off completely. They do stop for a while but as soon as the title is on promotion I get it again."