British News Stand Comic Sales see surge for pre-school, dips for humour titles

A snapshot of WH SMiths Lancaster's childrens' comics and magazines section. Titles such as 2000AD, Commando and Titan and Panini's superhero titles are racked separately with film, TV and gaming magazines.

A snapshot of WH SMiths Lancaster’s childrens’ comics and magazines section. Titles such as 2000AD, Commando and Titan and Panini’s superhero titles are racked separately with film, TV and gaming magazines.


(Updated 20th August 2014)

The Audit Bureau of Circulations reported sales figures for January – June 2014 have been released, which include subscription sales, with Redan’s Peppa Pig and Immediate Media’s CBeebies Weekly titles continuing to do well in the pre-school market. Egmont, too, are seeing success with their Disney tie-ins such as Disney Pixar.

But while Egmont’s TOXIC has held fairly steady, both Doctor Who Adventures and MEGA have seen a slip in sales for the reporting period. The youth magazine sector as a whole has seen further declines across the market, down 7.5 per cent PoP and 12.8 per cent Year on Year.


Peppa Pig Digital Magazine


In the pre-school sector Redan’s star is on the rise, with the publisher’s Peppa Pig magazine taking the number one spot for the seventh consecutive reporting period. The pre-school title secured an average sale of 98,057 copies, an average of five per cent year on year, and its sister title, Fun to Learn Peppa Pig Bag-O-Fun continued to grow in second place, with an average sale of 75,046 copies per issue. Fun To Learn Friends took third place with an average sale of 58,404.

It should be noted that while many of the titles considered comics by the publishing industry actually have very little strip content, especially pre-school titles, which are more feature and activity based.

Carat, a leading independent media planning and buying specialist and the market-leader in digital and non-traditional media solutions, also points out in their analysis of all the magazine sales reports for this period that we still do not have the full picture of magazines’ total brand reach as mobile, social, web and other brand extensions are not included. However, the recent announcement that the NRS has been served notice illustrates that publishers are striving to find a more comprehensive system to measure audiences cross-platform.

As we’ve also previously noted, many adventure titles such as 2000AD and Commando are not ABC registered, so it’s difficult to say exactly how well this sector is faring. While both Panini and Titan publish a raft of superhero comics, only one, Panini’s Ultimate Spider-Man, has ABC data, indicating average sales of 29,8509, up slightly on the previous six months from 28,709. Doctor Who Adventures sales have dropped from 28,443 to 19,966 (which might be in part down to change of sales frequency) and Doctor Who Magazine has dropped slightly from 36,151 to 33,538.

In the humour sector, again many titles are also no longer registered with ABC and neither The Beano or Dennis & Gnasher‘s figures have been updated from previously released figures of 32,028 and 20,502 respectively. The Phoenix Comic – which featured both humour and adventure strips but is only on sale in Waitrose supermarket and some select other stores, as well as via subscription – does not publish its sales figures. Titan can’t be looking favourably at the figures for Simpsons Comics, though, down from 32,073 to 26,029.

Redan’s company’s girls’ title, Sparkle World, reported a year on year increase of 12 per cent with an average sale of 48,747. That’s good news for the sector as, although these days most don’t feature comic strip (if any) some titles such as Hello Kitty and  Monster High have experienced a sales drop – although Barbie and Disney Princess have seen sales rises.

Commenting on the reported figure, Immediate Media says that it remains the number one publisher in the overall Children’s market, with Cbeebies Magazine a success at its new fortnightly frequency. Overall, the company’s Youth & Children’s portfolio delivered an ABC up 2.2 per cent year on year.

In their analysis of the Youth Sector, Rob Clarke at Carat argues movement onto digital platforms is becoming increasingly important to younger consumers, who are growing up with the web at their fingertips and “have come to expect a certain level of progressive innovation. As print numbers continue to steadily decline, it is becoming all the more essential for these brands to embrace the ever-dominant digital world.”

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.

• British Comic Sales Figures (Google Doc)

View our report on Sales Figures for July – December 2013

Read Carat’s Analysis of the Magazines Sector Figures as a whole (January – June 2014)

Categories: British Comics

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