Updated 16th February to add comment from Generation Media
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) sales figures for titles registered with the organisation have just been published this week and while many comics or young children’s magazines have taken a hit for the reporting period (June – December 2015), there’s cheer for some, including the The Beano, which saw a modest rise in sales from its 2014 figures.
We’ve updated our spreadsheet of sales figures we think will most interest downthetubes readers here. These figures combine print circulation with digital edition sales.
The Press Gazette notes that overall, the 422 UK magazines audited by ABC lost circulation by an average of four per cent year on year in the last six months of 2015 – but consumer magazine circulation is still faring better than the newspaper sector.
The Top 100 best-seling consumer magazines includes Disney’s Frozen (gaining an 8.8 per cent increase year on year with average sales of 99,005), Disney Star Wars Lego, The Beano and TOXIC, while the Top 200 titles features some 40 titles with comic content or content aimed at the youth market – many of them comics. It’s no wonder there’s still such faith in the sector, despite sales figures being a pale shadow of decades past. Even titles with relatively low circulations of 20,000 are still profitable.
In the young children’s magazines, the CBeebies-rleated titles continue to perform for Immediate Media, although CBeebies Magazine‘s sales have slipped; REdan’s Peppa Pig titles continue to perform well, although other Fun to Learn sales have dropped.
The big growth seems to be in the various LEGO-related titles for young children and older. While Lego – Lands of Chima sales have dropped, but the more recently-launched LEGO Ninjago enjoyed strong sales. Comparing reported sales figures for January – June 2015 to this period, July – December 2015 There’s a slight decline for Egmont’s TOXIC but year on year, the title saw a rise in sales, and the decline is nothing catastrophic compared with other magazines in the sector.
Doctor Who Adventures is still finding its feet at Panini with a drop to just over 17,000 copies an issue, but Doctor Who Magazine sales have risen, which is good news for the team there. (Year on year, though, sales have declined by just over 20%). Titan don’t provide ABC data for Doctor Who Comic, so we don’t know how the launch of that title might be impacting on DWA’s sales.
Once again, the only superhero title that is ABC listed is Panini’s Ultimate Spider-Man, which has seen a drop in sales, but is still over the 30,000 mark and considered ‘static’ as opposed to ‘declining’ in the statistics. Let’s hope other superhero-related titles are doing as well.
Over in the once bouyant girls magazine sector, while Egmont’s Disney Frozen, leads the pack with stellar sales, most titles sales are down.
Commenting on Egmont’s success with Frozen Jo Doubtfire, publisher of Egmont’s Disney magazines portfolio, said: “Excitement about the Frozen story continues to grow and in the magazine Frozen fans find all the elements of the story that resonate with them.
“They enjoy interacting with their favourite characters off screen and our strong creative treatment and our exciting covermount programme really support this.”
“I am very proud of our performance in this round of ABCs,” said Cally Poplak, managing director of Egmont Publisher UK, noting significant year on year increases for TOXIC and Disney & Me.
“Realising growth in our challenging and highly competitive sector of the market is a real achievement.”
Last year, the Press Gazette noted that children’s magazines were among the best performing in the ABC figures for the first half of 2015, according to a sector-by-sector breakdown – and that doesn’t seem to have changed in any marked way with these new figures.
Generation Media, in a report on LicensingBiz, notes the sector demonstrating the biggest growth was Primary Boys, with TOXIC (+3.9 per cent Year on Year) and LEGO Ninjago (+10.5 per cent) still proving popular. The launch of three new Star Wars titles were also launched, culminating in a total 21.7 per cent year on year increase for boys titles. “While Ninjago remains the top Boys press property, with LEGO titles now restricting advertising to only LEGO products, we can expect to see advertisers turn to other titles to reach the primary boys audience.
“Pre-school remains the largest kids’ press sector, with these titles accounting for 44 per cent share of the total children’s press market. Peppa Pig remains untouchable accounting for the top two pre-school titles, with Fun to Learn Peppa Pig remaining the most sought after pre-school title for the fourth consecutive year. CBeebies Art has recovered from last year’s seven per cent decline, demonstrating a 16.6 per cent year on year growth.”
Outside the children’s sectors, of interest to downthetubes readers Private Eye‘s sales are still rising (229,777, up 4.9%), and The Oldie has also gained some ground (46,415, up 1.9%). Both feature cartoons and strips as well as humour features. VIZ has seen a small sales rise from its 2014 figures, too (50,029, up 0.4%).
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.
Not every comic or children’s magazine is ABC listed, so as usual there are, sadly, no figures for 2000AD, Commando or The Phoenix in the public domain.
• Campaign: Top 100 Magazines At A Glance (July – December 2015)
• Press Gazette Top 200 Titles (July – December 2015)
Thanks to Lew Stringer for feedback