British Comic Sales Figures, Winners and Losers (July – December 2018): Beano continues to shine

Beano 3972 - CoverThe latest sales figures for some comics and children’s magazines available on the UK news stand for the second half of 2018 have been published by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) – and there’s good news in particular for the Beano and VIZ, but overall, we have to express some continued disappointment that comics and children’s magazines publishers seem increasingly reluctant to share sales data.

There are winners and losers as ever, as consumer magazines continue to battle for readers, and the marked drop off in comic-related and children’s magazine-related titles actually registered for ABC reporting has accelerated, perhaps as a result of publishers assessing the value of registration, long used as a guide by advertisers on placement decisions.

As mentioned before, the growing number of advertisements no longer acceptable in titles aimed at children, there seems to be very little of it. Long gone are the days when you could plug a new chocolate bar, ice cream or Sugar Smacks in a comic – and gone with it is that revenue stream, meaning publishers are far more dependent on cover price and subscriptions to generate revenue.

2000AD, Commando and all news stand superhero titles – from publishers such as Panini and Titan Comics – are not ABC registered.

There's no chance of seeing ads like this in a kids comic today, even if they are illustrated by Thelwell. From Buster cover dated 11th July 1970

There’s no chance of seeing ads like this in a kids comic today, even if they are illustrated by Thelwell. From Buster cover dated 11th July 1970

Despite a decline in sales reports, there’s no fall off in the number of titles out there aimed at children and teenagers – as you’ll see from our snapshot of publications on sale now in all good newsagents and supermarkets below. There continue to be new launches, including the new, non-polybagged Munch Cats! Let’s hope that decision to Say No To Plastic – regularly practiced by Beano and the upcoming Cor! & Buster Special, out in April – is taken up more widely by publishers.

The highlight of these figures is of course the ten per cent rise in sales for Beano – now selling an average of over 41,000 copies a week, up from just over 38,000 in the last reporting cycle. Of course, that’s still less than it was selling in 2006 when we first started collecting figures, when sales were reported at over 74,000 a week. But the figures for the humour comic haven’t been this good since 2010, when a gradual decline set in. That’s testament to the hard work of the creators working on the title, Beano Studios and, of course, having a hit TV series – Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed – can’t hurt, either!

Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!

Helping Beano sales? The Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed TV show, recently renewed. Image courtesy Beano Studios

Sadly, another DC Thomson title, EPIC, has not fared as well and is soon to close with Issue 157 next month. Along with Immediate Media’s Mega (sales at over 29,000) and TOXIC (steady at around 35,000), it’s one of several titles aimed primarily at boys and the competition, taking into account other similar titles in the arena such as 110% Gaming (which has also dropped in sales), Download and Fortnite, has simply proven to fierce, or the offering just simply didn’t gel with potential readers.

Cancelled - EPIC ceases publication next month

Cancelled – EPIC ceases publication next month

There’s good news for adult humour comic VIZ as it enters its 40th year of publication, with a combined sales increase of 4.3%, with 43,647 print circulation and 4,941 digital.

The reporting period perhaps comes too soon to see what, if any, effect a new Doctor has for Doctor Who Magazine, with reported sales up only slightly on the previous period at over 20,000.

We’ve updated our spreadsheet of sales figures we think will most interest downthetubes readers here. These figures, which we’ve been compiling since 2006, combine print circulation with digital edition and subscription sales.

As with the last set of figures, these reflect changes to the way the way ABC reports on consumer magazines and regional publications, in a bid to make it easier for media buyers and owners to use its data. Aiming to make it easier for media buyers and owners to use the reports for trading changes highlight key ABC census metrics, the reports incorporate graphs and charts for easy comparison and simplify reporting processes.

Some of the many titles aimed at younger readers. on sale in Sainsbury’s, Lancaster in February 2019. Most come bagged with a toy as an incentive, but parents seem increasingly uncomfortable at the amount of plastic included

Some of the many titles aimed at younger readers. on sale in Sainsbury’s, Lancaster in February 2019. Most come bagged with a toy as an incentive, but parents seem increasingly uncomfortable at the amount of plastic included


DC Thomson Media

Mike Watson, CEO of DC Thomson Media, said: “It’s heartening to see DC Thomson magazine titles outperforming the market, and in the case of Beano, increasing sales year on year by an incredible 10%. This truly is a stand out performance and one that we are incredibly proud of. Our magazine teams work extremely hard to deliver quality, engaging content that readers really enjoy. Testament to this is The People’s Friend which is this year celebrating 150 years of publication. This top selling women’s weekly title totals nearly 700,000 copy sales each and every month, reaching over 1 million readers. This is an incredible feat for the longest running women’s magazine, as recognised by Guinness World Record.”

VIZ Issue 283Dennis Publishing

VIZ sales are up 4.3% Year on Year to 48,588 combined. As VIZ enters its 40th year of publication, it reports an ABC combined increase of 4.3%, with 43,647 print circulation and 4,941 digital.

Dharmesh Mistry, Publishing Director, Lifestyle division, said: “VIZ is a great example of how brands can stand the test of time and appeal to a new, younger audience whilst keeping their loyal fans. 2019, Viz’s 40th anniversary year, promises to be an exciting one with brand extensions and commemorative merchandise, all done in true Viz style.”

Fortean Times is also up 8.6% YOY, reporting a strong ABC period, with a combined circulation of 14,816.

Immediate Media Co

Immediate Media Co, the special interest content and platform company, has posted a combined print and digital circulation of 2,244,751 up 27.8% period-on-period, for titles reporting July to December 2018. The company’s ABC-audited print circulation is 2,167,231 – up 25.6% period-on-period and down 3.2% year-on-year.

Immediate’s ABC-audited digital circulation also continues to rise, reporting a total circulation of 77,520, up 143.2% period-on-period and up 0.4% year-on-year. With a total audience of 1.076 million subscribers, the company remains the leading magazine publishing company for subscriptions.

Tom Bureau, CEO of Immediate Media, says: “In a tough market, our specialist interest brands continue to perform well, generating over £122m in Retail Sales Value on the newsstand in 2018. In addition to strong performances in print, our digital portfolio continues to break digital records. The Radio Times and BBCGoodFood brands have cemented their positions as having the highest total brand reach of all weekly and monthly magazines brands in the UK. Whilst BBC History magazine and our Youth and Children portfolio have performed phenomenally well growing market share and reach.

Andy's Amazing Adventures Issue 27Elsewhere we continue to transform our business model to offer our highly engaged and growing audience content, products and services focused on their special interest passions, through print, digital, ecommerce, and now with our recent acquisition of Upper Street, in live events.”

Immediate continues to be the number one publisher in the Children’s market, reflecting the strength of its titles and breadth of portfolio, with a combined ABC circulation of 751,791 up 4.65% year-on-year and 9.78% period-on-period.

Highlights include: CBeebies posting an ABC of 56,201 up 11.4% period-on-period and up 4.8% year-on-year; Toybox up 15.0% period-on-period and up 11.8% year-on-year to 32,341; and Andy’s Amazing Adventures recording a 3.2% increase period-on-period and a 5.5% increase year-on-year to 41,720.

• 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.

• View our spreadsheet of ABC figures here (2006 – 2018)

• Having trouble finding your favourite title? offers over 4000 UK titles:

Munch Cats! - saying No To Plastic

Munch Cats! is one title aimed at children saying No To Plastic

Some of the titles aimed at teenagers on the British news stand in February 2019. Photo: David McDonald

Some of the titles aimed at teenagers on the British news stand in February 2019. Photo: David McDonald


Headings are those allocated by the National File Title


2000AD Prog 2119 - Cover2000AD
Adventure Time
All Star Batman
Astonishing Spider-Man
Avengers Universe
Comic Scene
Commando (offered in four strands – Action Adventure, Gold Collection Home of Heroes and Silver Collection)
DC Spotlight
DC Superheroes (UK)
DC Team Up
DC Universe Presents
Deadpool Unleashed
Doctor Who: Tales from the TARDIS
Essential X-Men
I Love…
Judge Dredd Megazine
Mad (USA)
Marvel Legends
Mighty World of Marvel
Pony World
Rick Morty Magazine
Sniper Elite
Top Model
Walking Dead
Wolverine and Deadpool


321 Go
321 Go Special
Andy’s Amazing Adventures
Blaze Monster Mach
Bob The Builder
Busy Time
Cbeebies Art
Charlie & Lola
Disney Art
Disney Stars
Early Learning Play Pack
Fantastic Funworld
Ftl In The Night Garden
Fun To Learn Bag Of Fun
Fun To Learn Favourites
Fun To Learn Friends
Fun To Learn Peppa Pig
Fun With…
Get Busy Special
Glitter Princess Goody Bag
Go Jetters
Hey Duggee
Let’s Play
Little Princess Activity Pack
Lucky Dip
Mister Maker
Mr Men Little Miss
Mr Tumble Something Special
My Favourite Fairytales
Party Princess Megapack
Paw Patrol
Peppa Pig Bag O Fun
Peter Rabbit
PJ Masks
Rescue Bots
Shimmer Shine
Tellytime Favourites
Thomas & Friends
Toy Box
Wild Wheels

Cancelled: Fun Learn Friends Art
Cancelled: Marvel Play Time
Cancelled: Read Me A Story


Munch Cats! Issue OneActivity Fun
Activity Series
Awesome Guides
Batman Rebirth
Batman Superman
Be Rugby
First News
Futurama Specials
Go Girl
Kick Extra
Lego Specials
Minecraft World
MLP Equestrian Girls
Munch Cats!
National Geographic Kids
Phoenix Weekly
This Is…
Top Of The Pops
Ultimate Fortnite Challenge


Dinosaur Attack Issue 86110% Gaming
Action Combat
Action GTX
Ben 10
Dino Friends
Dinosaur Action
Dinosaur Attack
Get Busy
Horrible Histories
It’s Time For…
Lego City
Lego Comic Specials
Lego Giant Series
Lego Ninjago
Lego Star Wars
Monster Megapack
Pokemon Essential Guide
Simpsons Comic
Spider-Man Magazine
Strike It
Strike It Presents Fifa 365 Ad
Superzings Official Magaziine
Transformers Rid
WWE Kids

Cancelled: Epic Magazine
Cancelled: Marvel Heroes
Suspended (Not Yet Cancelled): Lego Nexo Knights


Frozen Issue 71Angelina
Animal Friends
Animals And You
Beautiful Mermaid
Build A Bear Workshop
Cuddles Baby Animals
Cute Cuddly
Disney Presents
Disney Princess
Fairy Princess
Favourite Friends
Girl Talk
Girl Talk Art
Hasbro Wow
Hello Kitty Magazine
Holiday Goodie Pack Girls
Jacqueline Wilson
Lego Friends
Littlest Pet Shop
Lol Surprise
Lol Surprise Special
Love From
Mad About Animals
Mad About Unicorns
Magical Unicorns
Mia And Me
My Beautiful Princess
My Little Pony
My Little Pony Bumper Pack
My Little Pony Special
Num Noms
Pets 2 Collect
Pikmi Pops Surprise
Pony Friends
Princess Colouring Time
Princess Friends
Princess Secrets
Princess Storytime
Princess World
Princess World Special
Rainbow Princess Colouring
So Magical
Sparkle World
Star Girl
Unicorn Universe
We Love

• View our spreadsheet of ABC figures here (2006 – 2018)

• Having trouble finding your favourite title? offers over 4000 UK titles:

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. 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 "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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