TOXIC comic sales up, but bad news for other news stand titles in latest ABCs

Sainsbury's Lancaster Comic Rack, February 2013

There’s good news and bad news for British news stand publishers lurking in the latest ABC sales figures for January – June 2103 for comics and related magazines, with some titles on sale in WH Smiths and other newsagents celebrating uplifts despite the economic climate, including Egmont’s own brand TOXIC, but bad news for others, such as Simpsons Comics and Bin Weevils – the latter seeing a massive sales drop.

While many adventure titles such as 2000AD, Commando and the soon-to-be cancelled CLiNT are not ABC registered – and the sales figures for The Beano are now published yearly in February rather than every six months – it’s possible to make some analysis of market share for comics and junior magazines.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations is the industry body for media measurement. The organisation brings the newspaper and magazine industry together to agree measurement and process Reporting Standards, a process that is constantly evolving to keep pace with industry developments.

Pre-school titles still seem to be holding steady, with some of Redan’s Fun to Learn titles increasing sales (such as Peppa Pig), but humour titles seem to have taken a big hit this time around, with Egmont’s Bin Weevils dropping from its previous 42,098 recorded monthly sale in the June – December 2012 period to 26,004, down 44 per cent.

It’s too early to know what kind of sales success the new Dennis the Menace title has achieved, but Immediate Media’s relatively new boys title, Mega, has debuted with an impressive 27,856 average sale.

Skyjack’s Moshi Monsters has also seen a smaller dip in sales, but is still selling an average 208,535 copies a month.

The figures for the sector include the first online data for one ‘title’ – Tuner’s Cartoon Network, audited at an impressive 31,143  Daily Average Unique Browsers.

TOXIC Comic 224

TOXIC © 2013 Egmont Publishing Group

But there’s good news for Egmont in other areas, with TOXIC still Britain’s number one tween boy’s magazine.

Elsewhere, Immediate Media, which publish many BBC tie-ins, is seeing steady sales on titles such as Octonauts and Horrible Histories, but has taken a hit on Doctor Who Adventures, down from 31,935 to 24,497. Panini’s Doctor Who Magazine, which includes a regular comic strip, is up from 28.743 to 31,692.

Commenting on the group’s overall sales success – not just for its junior titles – Immediate Media CEO, Tom Bureau, said: “I am delighted that Immediate continues to lead the consumer magazine market with our portfolio-wide performance.

“As the special interest content and platform company, our focus is to create brands and content that inspire our consumers’ passions. Exclusively focusing on special interest brands is a good place to be, was these results show. We are less than one per cent down year over year.

“Our brands continue to thrive as print products, at the same time as we develop them into multi-platform businesses.”

With TOXIC leading its circulation increases, Egmont Magazines will be pleased with their overall ABC results, showing a fourth consecutive period of growth.

Go Girl, Egmont’s own brand title for pre-teen girls has also reported consecutive periods of growth, with circulation increases of 6.6 per cent year on year – reflecting the resilience of sales for girls magazines overall, despite a lack of any true girls comic (the closest, perhaps, being the relatively new Monster High, which has also experienced an increase in sales).

“We’re really proud of this set of ABC results for Egmont’s magazine portfolio,” commented Debbie Cook, director of magazines at the Egmont Publishing Group, “and in particular it’s great to see our own brand titles continue to thrive in such a tough market.

“It’s brilliant that our continued investment in digital extensions to our magazines, as well as in new launches, has yielded success, and both of these areas will remain a priority for us.

“These results prove that we remain the leading experts in both the pre-tween boys and girls markets, which is something we really value.”

View the downthetubes British Comic Sales figures data
Please note these figures do not include all comic titles on the UK new stand – you would be amazed just how difficult it is to find out which titles are being published by some companies!

ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations), the industry body for media measurement

TOXIC © 2013 Egmont Publishing Group

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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2 replies

  1. Tom Spilsbury, editor of Doctor Who Magazine, is chuffed by their ongoing success.

    “…even holding steady is always a major achievement in the current magazine
    climate, he told Doctor Who News. “For us to have increased by more than 10 per cent since the last report is staggering, and also highlights our strong sales in North America, due to the increasing popularity of Doctor Who there.

    “So are the bumper sales are down to our trans-Atlantic cousins getting in on Who’s official periodical? A quick nosey at the certificate from the Audit Bureau of Circulations reveals that around a third of all DWM sales were overseas…

    “It does raise an eyebrow (my left one) that Doctor Who Adventures is falling behind while DWM is doing so well. Again, a quick glance at the certificate shows that DWA isn’t sold overseas which would make sense if the boost is coming from
    American interest. Moffat’s era has embraced the American audience in a big way with The Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon giving a yank-soaked love-letter to 1960s USA and the Ponds’ farewell set in film noir Manhattan.”

    “After changing frequency, Doctor Who Adventures magazine is now the top-selling boys’ fortnightly title in a tough and challenging market,” says Jaynie Bye of Immediate Media.

    “With a new Doctor just announced, the 50th anniversary of the programme, and renewed interest in the Time Lord, we are very optimistic about the future of this well-established magazine.”

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