Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

BBC Magazines' performance up almost 3% in Jul-Dec ABCs

BBC Magazines has delivered strong circulation figures in the past six months (July-December 2009) according to the latest ABC results, out today, 11 February.

BBC Magazines' overall performance is up 2.8% period on period and stable year on year*, as a result of several new launches, strong performances by its specialist brands and the closure of some poor-performing titles.

The highlights from BBC Magazines results are:

  • Subscriptions to BBC titles are up 13.7% year on year, at an all-time high of 827,837;
  • Radio Times' circulation is back over a million to 1,000,648, up 3.6% period on period, increasing its share of the quality listings market for the 11th consecutive ABC period;
  • BBC Magazines' food titles continue to perform very well, particularly in the face of increased competition: Good Food magazine remains the market leader with an impressive circulation of 351,430 (down marginally year on year); and olive magazine delivers a record circulation of 93,300, up 4.9% year on year;
  • Top Gear magazine stays on track with a circulation of 200,796 (stable year on year), its 14th consecutive increase period on period;
  • Newcomer Lonely Planet Magazine (launched December 2008) has achieved an audited circulation of 45,052 in its second ABC posting, and an impressive 10.7% period on period increase with 92% of copies actively purchased. The award-winning travel title has also grown its subscribers to 20,613;
  • Gardeners' World magazine is down slightly year on year, but retains its position as the market-leading paid-for gardening title (for the 19th year) with a strong monthly circulation of 216,936;
  • BBC History magazine continues its rise, up 6.6% year on year at 64,712, its 8th successive period on period increase;
  • Science title Focus is up 2.1% year on year, delivering an impressive ABC of 71,783; enjoying its 5th consecutive year on year increase;
  • and Gardens Illustrated is up 9.5% year on year, at 32,101.
  • BBC Children's Magazines are up period on period across the portfolio, with notably strong performances in some pre-school titles following a restructure and marketing review:
    • Bob the Builder magazine is up 21% year on year, and up 2.0% period on period, at 49,183;
    • New pre-school magazine Waybuloo demonstrates a solid debut at 38,908, as the title establishes itself in a busy and tough market;
    • CBeebies Weekly is up slightly year on year at 54,158.

Peter Phippen, MD of BBC Magazines, said: "This is a terrific set of results which demonstrate that demand for magazines remains as strong as ever when publishers understand their readers and offer quality editorial. Whilst the recession has had some impact on ad revenues in the short-term, it has really had no discernible effect on our circulations at all, which are stable year on year and up almost 3% on the last period. A number of our magazines have recorded all-time record sales."

ABC results for Jul-Dec 09


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change Year on Year (YOY)
Change Period on Period (POP)
Radio Times

Kathy Day, Publishing Director, Radio Times: 
“The arrival of new editor Ben Preston in September has kick-started a reinvigoration of Radio Times, driving copy sales up 3.6% period on period, to exceed 1 million again. This performance is the best in the market, increasing Radio Times’ share of the premium market for the 11th successive ABC period.

"Radio Times also remains the UK's biggest selling weekly title on subscription, with subscriptions growing by 3.8% period on period to a record 174,463.

"I am thrilled that the editorial changes introduced by Ben have been justly rewarded with increasing sales. This is just the start of an exciting period of editorial development for Radio Times, and I confidently expect this resurgence to continue.

"The magazine's success is reflected across the Radio Times brand, with achieving record figures in December of 20.2 million page impressions from 1.42 million unique users (source: Google Analytics), and with the Radio Times iPhone app now having sold in excess of 43,000 units."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
Good Food
Easy Cook
Good Food Home Cooking

Alfie Lewis, Publishing Director, BBC Food Group:
"This has been a record-breaking year for Good Food. A record number of subscriptions (154,483) underpins an ABC of 351,430 for the magazine, keeping the title way out in front as market leader, a position it has held since its launch 20 years ago. The trend for people cooking from scratch continues and Good Food's promise to help people 'eat well, spend less' remains as compelling as ever. We have made further innovations in print with easycook and our Good Food Home Cooking series and we will be expanding this further next year.

"Online, too, we have seen a growth in fans of, now with over 2m unique users a month, up over 80% on last year. We have also developed and sold thousands of our first two iPhone apps, one for Christmas and a follow-up on healthy eating.

"The ambition for olive to reach a six figure circulation is now tantalisingly close to being realised with its current - and highest ever - ABC of 93,300. There is year on year growth on the newsstand in UK and Eire (7.0%) and in subscriptions where a 14.3% increase on last year gives the title its highest ever subs total of 38,194. olive prides itself on keeping close to its readers and this incredible success story is entirely down to how the team have interpreted the needs of readers on every page of the magazine."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
Gardeners' World

Dominic Murray, Publishing Director, Gardeners’ World Magazine:
"Gardeners' World magazine continues to lead the paid-for gardening category by a huge margin, after 19 years at number one. With a Jul-Dec 2009 ABC of 216,936, we have outperformed the market again, with 64.4% of the total paid-for circulation in this category. I am confident that Gardeners' World has turned a corner despite the trading conditions, with an improved performance in the second half of 2009 and some exciting developments to come in 2010. We have had some particularly good results within garden centres, and subscriptions are up over the past six months.

"Following some extensive research during 2009 we have made some subtle editorial changes, with a renewed focus on the core gardening audience at the heart of the brand. We have already kicked off a spring 'Grow Yourself Healthy' campaign, with a wall planner in January's issue, and we will be launching a stand-alone special 'Grow Your Own' edition in February. As Gardeners' World magazine approaches its 20th anniversary, the outlook is very positive."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
Lonely Planet Magazine

Dominic Murray, Publishing Director, Lonely Planet Magazine:
"We are very pleased with Lonely Planet Magazine’s continued growth for this ABC period. At 45,052, ABC circulation is up an impressive 10.7% period on period, with a notable 92% of copies actively purchased, demonstrating a loyal and growing readership that keeps us on course to become the no.1 paid-for magazine in the sector. Growth in subscriptions is further evidence of the commitment from our readers and their response to our award-winning editorial. The last period saw Lonely Planet Magazine bring new readers into the travel magazine market and we are delighted that our sales increase this period has again contributed to the overall growth in the category."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
Top Gear

Simon Carrington, Associate Publisher, Top Gear Magazine:
"I am delighted that Top Gear has maintained momentum over the past six months and recorded another ABC in excess of 200,000. In view of the latest figures from the men's lifestyle sector, our ABC figure is even more pleasing and is testament to the strength of the brand and the quality of the magazine we publish every month.

"Top Gear is now the UK's third highest selling men's monthly magazine and with a new editor on board we look forward to more success in 2010."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
Bob the Builder
CBeebies Art
Doctor Who Adventures
Girl Talk
Match of the Day Weekly
Top of the Pops



Jaynie Bye, joint MD of BBC Children's Magazines and publisher of Match of the Day:
"The past six months have been a very busy period for BBC Children's titles: we finalised our restructure, re-launched several titles and introduced new ones into the portfolio. Given the challenges of the recession, I'm delighted that our overall performance is up period on period, which reflects the hard work of the team and our understanding of this competitive area of the market.

"The older end of the market has had a particularly difficult time, but in that context we are pleased with many of our pre-teen titles: Girl Talk is up period on period; Top of the Pops continues to deliver a strong circulation (107,576); Doctor Who Adventures is down year on year, as anticipated, but is still performing well given the absence of the show from the schedules for most of this period. We are confident that circulation will increase with the return of the Doctor to our screens in 2010. Two years after its launch, Match of the Day weekly magazine performs soundly at 63,980, delivering in line with the market, and we’re optimistic that it will benefit from the huge interest in the game in World Cup year."

Pauline Cooke, Publisher, BBC Pre-school magazines, said:
"We re-launched some of our preschool titles during this period and are particularly pleased with the strong performance from Bob the Builder, up by a massive 21.0% year on year and the continued strong performance by CBeebies Weekly, up slightly year on year and up over 11% period on period at 54,158. CBeebies Art continues to offer children and parents a lot for their money and while it is down slightly year on year, it is up nearly 25% period on period at 52,361. The debut ABC for Waybuloo magazine, at 38,908, is a solid performance for a title now establishing itself in a busy and tough market."


ABC Jul-Dec 2009
ABC Jul-Dec 2008
Change YOY
Change POP
BBC History
Gardens Illustrated
Homes & Antiques
BBC Wildlife
Who Do You Think You Are?



Andy Healy, Publisher, BBC History Magazine:
"BBC History Magazine continues to raise the bar, posting its highest ever ABC at 64,712, an increase of 6.6% year on year. This is the eighth consecutive ABC increase for the title, which is a phenomenal achievement, especially in a market blighted by recession. Subscriptions have now passed the 40,000 mark, a further indication of the loyalty of our readers and the strength of the BBC History Magazine brand. One of a few select magazines that has seen continual growth over the past four years, Britain's best-selling history magazine is taking specialist interest to a broader audience, helped along by a superb array of monthly podcasts and newsletters. We're looking forward to breaking new records and gaining new ground this year."

Andy Healy, Publisher, Homes & Antiques:
"This ABC of 60,222 is a really exciting result for Homes & Antiques, with a period on period growth of over 11%. In the current home interest market this is a truly significant increase and one that reflects the buy-in from our readers to the re-launched title. More homes, more antiques and more Antiques Roadshow is a magical mix for this magazine and we'll continue to deliver all of these and much more in 2010."

Andy Healy, Publisher, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine:
"This is a great debut ABC for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and a very strong performance in such a competitive market. Subscriptions now account for over 50% of our circulation which shows we're getting the mix right for our readers and they're more than happy to commit to us. The UK genealogy market is buoyant, and we've got an enthusiastic and growing overseas following, so the predictions for this magazine are all extremely positive. As the sister title to the popular TV show, we're best placed to bring the latest and greatest to an ever-growing audience of family history enthusiasts."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher, Gardens Illustrated:
"Up a fabulous 9.5% and now selling 32,101 copies per issue, Gardens Illustrated continues to win readers and garner industry recognition with its style-setting features. Recently awarded ‘Garden Publication of the Year’ by the Garden Media Guild for a record-breaking fourth time, the title is firmly established as the most beautiful and influential garden magazine, inspiring readers with its painstaking choice of must-have garden products and gorgeous plants from the best specialist nurseries."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher, BBC Wildlife Magazine:
"The home of the best natural history writing and most beautiful wildlife photography in the UK, BBC Wildlife Magazine is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn more about the natural world and find out how they can get out and appreciate it for themselves. With another rock steady ABC performance, BBC Wildlife Magazine continues to prove its ability to command commitment and respect from its army of dedicated readers."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher, Countryfile Magazine:
"With an ABC of 27,833, Countryfile Magazine has demonstrated remarkable stability in a difficult market. With the new-look programme now a regular in the ratings top 10, the magazine will enjoy a campaign of investment next year to introduce it to the show’s legions of new viewers and capitalise on the current growth in UK tourism and interest in local food."

Andrew Davies, Publisher, Focus Magazine:
"This has been yet another incredibly successful period for Focus, posting an ABC of 71,783. While the men's market as a whole remains turbulent, Focus' period on period growth of 5.3% shows that our unrivalled mix of the latest scientific news, groundbreaking features and the hottest new technology is continuing to attract an army of new fans every issue.

"As well as putting in an excellent performance on the newsstand, I am delighted that Focus continues to grow its subscription base considerably on an issue-by-issue basis, confirming that the Focus reader is loyal, dedicated and committed to the brand. With a whole host of new initiatives and brand development plans in the pipeline we look forward to seeing continued growth over the coming months."

BBC Music Magazine, Andrew Davies, Publisher:
"I’m delighted that BBC Music Magazine has maintained its position as the best-selling classical music magazine in the UK and the world, with a strong ABC of 42,810. As well being the readers' classical music magazine of choice, the title remains a firm favourite within the industry."

* The total ABC for BBC Magazines for Jul-Dec 09, excluding titles that only submit circulation figures annually (Match of the Day/BBC Music /BBC Good Food Home Cooking) is 2,944,516, an increase of +2.8% period on period, stable at -0.2% year on year.

The total ABC for BBC Magazines for Jul-Dec 09, including all current titles, is 3,095,278. This is an increase of +8.1% period on period, down -1.3% year on year.

Sarah Williams-Robbins

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