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29 October 2014
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BBC Magazines ABC figures

  • Top Gear increases lead over nearest rival by 12,000 copies and celebrates its 24th consecutive period as market leader and 6th consecutive period increase
  • Good Homes Britain's fastest growing Homes title for 3rd consecutive period
  • We sell almost half a million food magazines each month
  • Radio Times remains the UK's biggest selling premium-priced listings title
  • Top of the Pops magazine still the UK's number one teen entertainment title
  • Focus magazine grows newsstand and subs - up 8%
  • Subscriptions up 8% year on year


Peter Phippen, Managing Director says: "I'm really pleased to see our magazines continuing to play to their core strengths this period in some crucial markets. Top Gear has increased its lead over nearest rival What Car? by over 12,000 copies in the motoring market this period alone; Good Homes continues to grow faster than any other title in its sector - and has been for the last 18 months; our food group continues to sell a staggering half a million monthly copies despite two new competitors appearing this period; and Radio Times is still the UK's biggest magazine brand with an outstanding performance in the fierce paid-for listings market.


"This year will be a busy and exciting year for BBC Magazines with the expected launch of a number of new titles in addition to our recent announcement about plans for our very first pre-school weekly, CBeebies Weekly, in March and Doctor Who Adventures magazine in April."






ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

change yoy

Top Gear





Adam Waddell, Publisher, Top Gear magazine says: "The momentum behind Top Gear magazine continued this period as we deliver our sixth successive ABC increase with a total figure of 175,218. This represents an increase of 5% on the same period last year and 22% over the past three years.


"The quality of our editorial and the strength of our promotions seem to be pressing all the right buttons. We've got an ever growing lead in the sector and in terms of scale we are now competing outside motoring and vying with more general male interest titles for the attention of readers.


"According to latest NRS figures, of all male-targeted consumer magazines only FHM can boast a larger readership of ABC1 men. In our February issue we announced that 2006 would be the most exciting year ever for new model launches. A new Audi TT, Jaguar XK, and Porsche 997 Turbo are just the tip of the iceberg.


"Pretty much every car manufacturer has something new on the cards and in most cases they look like genuinely thrilling designs. That's good news for car magazines in general and coupled with the interest generated by the bi-annual motorshow in London this July, 2006 should be a bumper year."  






ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

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Good Homes




Homes & Antiques





Brian Whittaker, Publisher, Homes Group says: "Good Homes relentlessly continues its rise in circulation in a market that is one of the most crowded of any sector, celebrating its fifth consecutive ABC increase (up 5% y-o-y), and maintaining its status as the fastest growing homes magazine for the third consecutive period.


The gap between Good Homes and its closest competitors House Beautiful and Ideal Home has narrowed considerably - a comparative improvement of around 62,000 copies. We've maintained a high level of marketing activity coupled with a strong editorial proposition. We are delighted with its sustained success and are very proud of the progress we have achieved on this title since re-launch in spring 2004.


"Homes & Antiques meanwhile continues to compete closely with Homes & Gardens and House & Garden in the UK with a difference of just 34,500 between them. Editor Bernie O'Herlihy has overseen a fabulous redesign for the February 2006 edition with the focus on broadening the magazine's appeal with a warmer, more accessible and involving approach. Coupled with a 50% increase in marketing support, this will definitely be the magazine to watch for 2006."



Radio Times



ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

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Radio Times





Kathy Day, Publisher Radio Times says: "Radio Times has delivered another rock solid ABC figure, selling an impressive 1,093,850 copies per week and driving the biggest increase in retail sales value of any magazine in the market. Whilst the budget titles slug it out, Radio Times is the clear winner in the premium sector.


"Our strategy of delivering the most innovative magazine in the market has made Radio Times a brand that readers and advertisers alike want to be involved with. In this ABC period alone, Radio Times created an astonishing eight covers to celebrate Live 8, a unique gatefold cover for Bleak House that Vanity Fair would have been proud of, and a Narnia CD promotion for the Christmas double issue.


"The Christmas issue of Radio Times was not just the best seller in this crucial market, it was also the biggest selling single issue of any magazine in 2005.


"A wider Radio Times audience is served by the award winning website, now reaching over a million unique users a month, plus mobile phone and PDA services and a new EPG all of which extend the reach of the brand as well as attracting additional readers to the magazine."






ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

change yoy

Good Food








Easy Cook





Alfie Lewis, Publisher, Food Group says: "In a period that saw two new food titles enter the sector, Good Food remained unphased by the launches of Fresh and You Are What You Eat . Instead, it reaffirmed its position as the UK's number one food magazine and is the star performer in the independent food sector - managing to outsell its nearest rival by four to one.


"olive meanwhile puts in a terrific performance too and has gained ground on Delicious. In the face of unprecedented activity within the market it continues to cater for people who not only love cooking but also enjoy eating out regularly both in the UK and when abroad.


"Easy Cook has extended our Food Group's reach even further as a title offering simple advice through inspirational everyday cooking, whereas our annual Good Food Vegetarian Christmas special notched up a staggering 70,000 sales - an amazing figure given the competition at this key time of the year for food titles."






ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

change yoy

Gardeners' World




Easy Gardening





Dominic Murray, Publisher, Gardening Group says:

"Our continued investment in the gardening portfolio this period has really paid dividends, with Gardeners' World rate of decline slowing, and at a lower rate than our competitors.


The recent news that the UK's second largest-selling title, Gardenlife, has closed is testament to the trading conditions in this market this year.


"I'm delighted that Easy Gardening is now the No.2 monthly title in this market. We are investing to reach a distinct and valuable segment of the category all year round, and this Jul-Dec ABC period is the first to reflect the new frequency of 10 issues per year.


"Our investment programme to lead the market into recovery will continue throughout 2006, with additional investment in editorial content for Gardeners' World and Easy Gardening plus a series of innovative added-value promotions for the Spring campaign."



Pre-school and Learning



ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

Change yoy

All pre-school and learning





Pauline Cooke, Publisher, Pre-school and Learning Group says: "What's really clear to see from these results is that when parents are deciding which magazine is best for their child's learning development, our pre-school titles remain the most popular and trusted in the market.


"We are still the only publisher to have its own Educational Editor who ensures content of all the children's titles actively reflects and promotes the developmental needs of children, and is aligned to the National Curriculum for Key Stage One.


"Titles that have performed well in this difficult trading period include Balamory, which was 8% up (period on period). We had two new launches - Big Cook Little Cook with a strong ABC of over 45,000 and Fifi and the Flowertots selling around 38,000 copies. Bob the Builder also had an incredibly strong first half of the year with its new revamped TV series showing on CBeebies and it has remained steady year on year.


"In the pre-school market sales are driven primarily by brand popularity and this has been reflected in our performance which was 6% down (period on period). However, we have repositioned our portfolio slightly to reinforce the strength of our remaining magazines in light of our launch of the first ever pre-school weekly, CBeebies Weekly, in March."






ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

change yoy

Top Of The Pops Magazine




It's HOT!




Girl Talk




Girl Talk Specials





Duncan Gray, Associate Publisher, Teen Group says: "I'm really pleased to see that Top of the Pops magazine has retained its lead as the number one teen entertainment title in what has been a turbulent period for the Teen market, ultimately resulting in the closure of our nearest rival Smash Hits.


"Increased competition from new media is one of the main causes and, while we know it's vital to embrace new technology, we still believe there is an exciting future for Top of the Pops magazine. With strong marketing and editorial plans already having been implemented in early 2006, including a return to monthly frequency and an eye-catching redesign, we're confident that the downward sales trend will be significantly reversed over the next year."



BBC Origin



ABC Jul-Dec 2005

ABC Jul-Dec 2004

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Focus Magazine




BBC Wildlife Magazine




BBC HistoryMagazine




BBC Music Magazine*




Gardens Illustrated




Total Group figure




*BBC Music Magazine reports ABC only once a year


Andy Benham, Publishing Director, BBC Origin says: "Focus has gone from strength to strength and has recorded yet another increase this ABC. I'm particularly happy that the growth has come from both the UK newsstand and subs, which shows the build up of trust in the title since the redesign in early 2005.


"BBC Wildlife has recorded an increase of nearly 5% (p-o-p) and naturally we're delighted that the title has done so well since it moved to Bristol. We feel that this is an ideal platform for the title to move forward following its redesign in May. We'll be producing an annual ABC for Sky at Night for the period Jan 06 to Dec 06 as we feel this will best reflect its performance on the newsstand and subs once it has settled down and comes out of launch phase.


"I'm somewhat disappointed with the Gardens Illustrated ABC performance however, with the move to Bristol we've had to concentrate in the short term on returning the title to profitability and ensuring its long term future. Gardens Illustrated will be relaunched in May with an aggressive campaign of covermounts, news trade support, and a media campaign aimed at restoring the title to its rightful place in the parthenon of gardening magazines.


"As well as sorting out the UK newsstand sales, we are also confident that the title can show significant subs growth, particularly in the US market. Naturally it has been a difficult period for all of the titles, with a vast amount of change, but I'm thrilled that the magazines have come through the whole process unscathed and in a far more financially secure situation ready to face the challenges of the coming year."





Ian Watson, International Director says: "Our international business has gone from strength to strength with 13 versions of Top Gear magazine (including the UK edition) selling over 20 million copies worldwide since launch. In addition to the ever increasing list of Top Gear editions, Teletubbies and Girl Talk can now be seen in Europe and the Middle East.


"We also launched the first international edition of Good Food last November in Romania. After our successful joint venture with Times of India, BBC Magazines are now set to invest in more companies across key territories in order to fulfil our plan to rapidly expand our business internationally."



Notes to Editors:

All figures quoted as subscriptions pertain to single copy subscription sales only.


BBC Magazines increased its profit from £16.2m in 2003/04 to £22.0m in 20004/05.


Internationally, we have 26 magazines licensed to around 35 territories including Teletubbies, Top Gear, Top of the Pops, Girl Talk and Fimbles.


Radio Times is the BBC's longest-running commercial activity, launched in 1923 and the UK's most valuable magazine brand.


BBC magazines are distributed through Frontline Ltd, a joint venture with Emap and Haymarket. This partnership was extended in 2005 to include H Bauer, making Frontline the UK's market-leading magazine distribution company.


Over half a million people currently subscribe to a BBC magazine.


Through a very successful joint venture with Haymarket Publishing, BBC Magazines' annual exhibitions extend the enjoyment of its leading magazine brands for readers of titles such as Good Food, Good Homes and Gardeners' World - attracting over 372,000 visitors during the last year.


In India, BBC Worldwide owns 50% of the Times of India's magazines subsidiary including its two best-selling titles, Film Fare and Femina. In August 2005, Top Gear magazine launched in India marking the first BBC magazine from the joint venture.


BBC Magazines is the only UK publisher with its own Educational Editor, Jacqueline Harding, who ensures that the content of all our children's titles actively reflects and promotes the developmental needs of children, and, where appropriate, is aligned to the National Curriculum for Key Stage One.


BBC Magazines is committed to minimising any impact of its operations on the environment. Six of our titles are printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper, which is sourced from well managed forests.




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Date : 16.02.2006
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