Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines

February 26, 2009

Gimme shelter

Filed under: consumer magazines,figures — privatefraser @ 1:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

With strong rumours swirling around of a high profile closure in the ‘homes and lifestyle’ category, I thought it might be useful to pick the bones of last week’s ABC figures and see how the major titles are faring. Yon Americans call this wee group of titles the ‘shelter’ category – a term we associate with a charity for the destitute. Based on the circulation trends, some big names could find themselves bothyless pretty soon.

I’ve used the actively purchased circulations here as they’re less susceptible to being massaged by panicking publishers (although it’s worth noting the increase in ‘below full price’ sales for some of these mags) and I’m comparing year-on-year figures rather than period-on-period.

The titles suffering most pain belong to the BBC, with Good Homes losing over 25% of its actively purchased circulation (more than 29,000 copies) and Homes and Antiques a relatively modest 17.5% (down 12,195 copies). Either these titles have seriously lost their way or Worldwide has given up on them.

What seems to have slipped under most peoples’ radar is the fall at Wallpaper. The headline decline is only 4.3%, but if we look at the actively purchased copies that becomes an almost heroic 23% drop. Losing a quarter of your paid-for copies in one year ain’t good; the stuff that surrounds Wallpaper might not be quite as sweet-smelling as it once was.

Other IPC titles are a mixed bag. Country Homes and Interiors showed a small increase and Homes & Gardens was flat (although this was due to a sudden overseas interest in the magazine), but Ideal Home lost over 8%, Living Etc nearly 10% and 25 Beautiful Homes an impressive 14%. All in all, the IPC titles lost a very creditable 73,000 sales.

Conde Nast’s two magazines showed very slight falls, although the situation would have been significantly worse if overseas newsstand buyers hadn’t developed a sudden yearning for upmarket English property titles. House & Garden found another 3,000 overseas buyers and World of Interiors another 2,400. Who would have thought there was such pent-up demand around the world?

Natmags had a 14,000 copy (8%) fall in the actively purchased figures for House Beautiful and 6,000 (3%) off the Country Living total; Elle Dec dropped 7.4% and Real Homes 11.2%; Centaur‘s woes aren’t confined to B2B, because Period Living lost 11.6% of its actively purchased copies.

At the bottom of the pile not even a constant loop of Grand Designs on More4 can prop up the magazine. It’s lost nearly 15% of its paid circulation (4,200 copies), with newsstand and subs both going down.

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