ABC figures show recession has hit consumer magazines

The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures for January-June 2009 make gloomy reading for most in the magazine industry.

Music titles: NME affected
Music titles: NME affected

Music titles were hit particularly hard, with IPC's music magazine NME seeing a year-on-year circulation slump of 27.2 per cent to 40,948, Bauer Media's Kerrang! fell 28.3 per cent year on year to 42,253, while Future Publishing's Metal Hammer lost 5.2 per cent of sales but tops the pile with 46,004.

The men's lifestyle magazine sector did not fare much better, but saw Men's Health beat previous leader FHM for the first time in 13 years. NatMag Rodale's Men's Health sold on-average 250,247 in the first six months of 2009 - an increase of 2.1 per cent. This is compared with Bauer's FHM's figures of 235,027 - a 16.2 per cent decrease.

Women's magazines had one significant success story in Bauer's celeb and fashion title More!, which recorded a 17.3 per cent increase to 190,708. Fellow weekly fashion title Look rose by 2.6 per cent to 315,410, but overall the women's lifestyle and fashion magazines fell by 2.8 per cent year on year.

Despite the tough sales and advertising environment for the magazine industry, the overall circulation for the UK consumer titles was down just 1.9 per cent on the previous period.

Jonathan Shephard, PPA chief executive, said:  ‘It is no surprise in a recession that different sectors are performing in different ways. The industry continues to innovate, and there are signs of encouragement from better economic indicators.'

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