The latest ABC figures were released last week, recording the period July – December 2015. We give you the rundown of the headline figures and what they mean for the sector.


The biggest growth of any magazine came from Cosmopolitan. The stand out magazine during this period, Cosmopolitan managed a very impressive 56.8% increase in sales period on period and 57.3% year on year. Elsewhere OK! magazine also managed impressive growth, with sales up by almost 38% and a movement from 10 to 3 among the Women’s Weeklies. Free title John Lewis cemented its position as the popular title in the Women’s Lifestyle market after a positive period. The freebie registered an increase in circulation of 17% having distributed 572,400 copies


Of the Men’s Lifestyle results Forever Sports reported a healthy circulation of results again during this period, with a 15.9% period on period increase, and up 16.5% year on year. Meanwhile the free title Shortlist magazine continued to rule the roost of Men’s Lifestyle magazines with a small boost in circulation of 0.7% over the period, distributing just shy of 506,000 copies.


On the flip-side to these more positive results HomeStyle found itself at the receiving end of the poorest period, recording a decline of -22.4%, while of the Men’s Lifestyle market, Men’s Fitness didn’t fair much better seeing a decrease in sales of -18% over the period and -32.3% over the year.


Magazine circulations remain very healthy 


The latest ABC figures show another positive period for magazines with 60 titles seeing an increase in circulation.


As we saw in the latest NRS PADD results from late November last year consumers are still willing to spend money on print magazines in the face of the ever-increasing ease of access to publications online. While the NRS PADD results showed that mobile was a huge driver of growth in the sector, print magazines more than held their own with Heat magazine, Top Gear and Men’s Health all registering high print figures.


As we explained all the way back in October of last year, print publications offer a number of attributes that provide additional value to consumers beyond that which can be experienced online. Whether this be in there higher production values – a component that is particularly true of independent magazines – or in the perception that published material is a more trustworthy source than online material, print magazines retain a certain value to consumers that is reflected in consistent high circulation figures in the ABC charts.


The success of Cosmopolitan during this period is an example of this perceived extra value being given to the consumer. While Cosmopolitan, like many of the other 60 growth titles over this period, achieved positive results (at least in part) due to a drop in their cover price from £3.80 to £1, their success is fundamentally as a result of a perceived additional value that cannot be matched elsewhere.


Magazines have been pushed by online to rethink the way they market and sell print copies of their publications. The clever publications such as Cosmopolitan in this latest period have understood this pressure and put in place a dedicated plan for their print publications.


This pressure of how to market and sell print magazines in an increasingly digital – and more specifically, mobile – market, is however a pressure that is primarily one for the publishers. The audience for print magazines remains strong and circulation figures steady, while online publications also thrive. As publishers battle it out in attempting to create value for the consumer, brands and advertisers retain plenty of opportunities to advertise in numerous publications with high readership and a level of choice greater than ever before.


If you are interested in advertising across print or online magazine publications but don’t know where to start get in touch with us today and our expert media planners will guide you through your best options.


By Paul Gregson