There’s a mixed bag of results for British comics publishers in terms of reported sales for June – December 2013, based on figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations earlier today.
As we’ve previously noted, many adventure titles such as 2000AD and Commando – and, most recently, Titan’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic, which no longer reports its sales – 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 28,709, down slightly on the previous six months from 30,885.
In general, sales for The Beano are down compared to 2012 from a 12 month average sale of 36,081 to 32,028, but its sales may have been affected by the launch of Dennis & Gnasher magazine, which has an average sale of just over 20,000.
One item that caught downthetubes’ contributor Jeremy Briggs’ eye was that while securing Top Gear‘s Richard Hammond as a guest editor for The Beano back in November may have been PR gold, based on the full published ABC figures for The Beano it would appear that success was not matched by the sale figures (which do not include digital sales). These indicate it was the second lowest selling issue of the year at 10.3% below average – 28729 copies against a year average of 32,028. The biggest selling issue of The Beano was as usual its Christmas edition at 43.3% above average i.e. 45,896 copies.
Comic fans have often derided celebrity-promoted marketing, and if these figures are correct it would appear they may have good reason to do so.
There is good news in other areas. Two non-licensed boys comic-magazines, Immediate Media’s Mega and Egmont’s long-running TOXIC, both show a rise in average sales. Sales of both Doctor Who Adventures and Doctor Who Magazine remain bouyant, assisted of course by the huge coverage given over to the show’s 50th anniversary.
Pre-school titles remain fairly strong, with Redan achieving considerable success with its Peppa Pig title, averaging 98,922 sales per issue, but sales across the board, even for well known brands such as Immediate Media’s Octonuats, are down year on year.
In the girls sector, most titles we list are far from what anyone would consider comics (it’s a shame there is nothing like Misty or Bunty still around), but they do indicate continued success for the sector, with Disney Tinkerbell pretty much stable and increased sales for Egmont’s Hello Kitty and DC Thomson’s Jacqueline Wilson title.
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)