Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

BBC Magazines shows growth of 1.1% in latest ABCs

BBC Magazines grew its circulation in the first six months of this year, according to audited circulations figures published today, 18 August 2011.

In the latest report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), BBC Worldwide's consumer magazine publishing business posted an overall circulation of 2,980,025, up 1.1% year on year, positioning BBC Magazines as one of the UK's top performing publishing houses. In addition, subscriptions to BBC Magazines’ titles are also up 6.1% year on year, at 940,440.

Highlights from BBC Magazines' results include the following year-on-year changes:

  • Lonely Planet magazine delivers another impressive increase, up 13.7% at 62,204 and retains its number one spot at the UK’s best-selling travel magazine;
  • A strong debut from pre-school title Something Special, with a circulation of 61,748;
  • Countryfile magazine delivers a circulation of 39,461, up 16.6%;
  • Sky at Night magazine reports at 22,803, up 8.2%;
  • Homes & Antiques is up 6.5% at 58,701;
  • All titles in the CBeebies portfolio reporting year on year growth, with CBeebies Weekly up 3.3% at 56,644, cementing its position as the UK's best-selling children's magazine, in monthly volume terms;
  • Gardeners' World magazine, in its 20th anniversary year, increases circulation by 2.0% at 265,328;
  • Top Gear magazine is up 0.1% at 190,535;
  • Good Food retains its market-leading position in the food sector, at 294,720, down 3.6% - a strong performance in the context of growing competition;
  • Radio Times retains its market-leading position in the quality TV-listings sector, at 901,036, down 4.9%; It also retains its position as the UK's biggest selling weekly magazine by subscription, increasing its subs by 9.6% to a record 206,372.

Peter Phippen, MD of BBC Magazines, said: "I am delighted with these strong circulation figures. This is BBC Magazines' third consecutive set of ABC results showing annual growth, with particularly strong performances from our pre-school titles and from Lonely Planet magazine, which goes from strength to strength. In its 20th anniversary year, it's also great to see Gardeners' World magazine continuing to grow. Our market-leading brands, the quality of our journalism and the loyalty of our valued customers underpin our success, contributing to our portfolio out-performing the market once again."

BBC Magazines' results and publishers’ statements, by brand

Food Group


ABC Jan-Jun

ABC Jan-Jun



Good Food










Easy Cook*





BBC Home Cooking Series





*Frequency change from 5 issues this year in the period vs. only 4 issues last year.

Alfie Lewis, Publishing Director of BBC Magazines’ Food Group:
"The cookery market is increasingly competitive, with further new launches giving consumers more choice than ever before. Good Food is still the clear market leader, selling over three times as many copies as its closest direct competitor.  We continue to invest in our new formats: the magazine’s  iPad edition has now enjoyed over 100,000 downloads and we recently launched subscriptions for the iPad version, expanding further the existing relationship users have with the brand.

"olive magazine continues to perform in line with the paid-for cookery category, in terms of year on year performance. Subscriptions to olive remain at a high level, at 40,279 accounting for 48.7% of total circulation, driven by a loyal readership, strategic investment and strong customer relationship management.

"The practical end of the food category has had a challenging time due to intense competition and the increased prevalence of supermarket free titles.  Easy Cook increased its frequency to 10 issues per year in response to feedback from readers, retailers and advertisers: the new shorter on-sale dates however have impacted sales, contributing to the ABC average circulation decline."

Radio Times


ABC Jan-Jun

ABC Jan-Jun



Radio Times





Kathy Day, Publishing Director of Radio Times:
"Radio Times' ABC figure of 901,036 sees it retain its position as the UK’s biggest selling quality magazine as well as being the third biggest selling magazine across all markets. Within the premium TV listings market, Radio Times’ share has grown year on year to 60.7%, meaning that it now outsells the rest of the premium titles put together by over 316k copies a week.

"Radio Times also retains its market leading position as the UK’s biggest selling weekly magazine by subscription, increasing subs by 9.6% to a record 206,372.

"With the redeveloped (which went live today) set to deliver the UK’s most sophisticated personalised TV listings service, our Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) reaching 11 million people and the Radio Times Guide to Films about to publish its 11th edition, this is a brand in extraordinarily rude health."

Gardeners' World


ABC Jan-June

ABC Jan –June



Gardeners' World





Dominic Murray, Publishing Director, Gardeners’ World:
"Gardeners’ World Magazine delivers a great ABC circulation performance for Jan-Jun 2011 of 265,328 - an increase of 2.0% year-on-year. The magazine continues to evolve and having invested in an editorial, marketing and promotional campaign to celebrate our 20th year, we have enjoyed one of our most successful spring seasons ever.

"We are delighted to have achieved year-on-year growth and it shows our readers have really responded to the refreshed design for the magazine, which we unveiled in our special 20th anniversary issue in March. The loyalty and support from readers is reflected particularly in the growth of our subscription sales, which are now at an all time high of 154,394, up 6.7% year-on-year.

"Subscribers now receive a special subscriber edition, with an exclusive cover, dedicated pages of content and offers, and special discounts on all reader offers in the magazine – all of which help to increase their engagement and participation as well as their enjoyment and passion for gardening."

Lonely Planet Magazine


ABC Jan-June

ABC Jan –June



Lonely Planet





Dominic Murray, Publishing Director, Lonely Planet Magazine:
"Another very strong ABC performance from the UK’s number one actively-purchased travel magazine, as Lonely Planet Magazine’s sensational circulation growth story continues, up a further 13.7% year-on-year to 62,204. In almost three years since launch, we have built a loyal and engaged subscriber base of 31,409, and continue to appeal to new readers at the newsstand with every issue.

"Regular feedback tells us that the editorial and marketing formula is working well for our whole readership, combining inspirational themes such as '52 best weekends away' and '25 easy adventures' with genuine added-value content including ‘best places to stay’ guides to Britain and France. The magazine continues to go from strength to strength - we have recently announced the launch of a new website for the magazine at, and with new editions launching in Thailand and Taiwan this summer we now have an international network of 10 editions."

Top Gear Magazine


ABC Jan-Jun

ABC Jan-Jun



Top Gear





Simon Carrington, Publisher of Top Gear Magazine:
"We are very pleased to have delivered a stable year on year ABC for Top Gear magazine, at 190,535.

"With a 49.1% share of the monthly motoring magazine market, over 58,000 subscribers and an NRS figure of almost 2 million, we lead the motoring market and have more readers than any other men’s monthly in the UK.

"Our new Editor in Chief, Charlie Turner, has been introducing a host of editorial changes over the past six months, with more cars, more authority and more entertainment, and we are pleased that readers and the industry have reacted positively.

"It’s not just in the UK that Top Gear is performing well. Exports of the UK edition have grown by 41.2% year on year and so far in 2011 we’ve signed deals for seven new licensed editions, bringing the total of international editions to 26 and making it one of the world’s biggest magazine brands."

Youth & Children's
Pre-teen and teen titles


ABC Jan-Jun 2011

ABC Jan-Jun



Doctor Who Adventures





Girl Talk





Top of the Pops





Match of the Day

(annual ABC)

Toni Round, joint MD of BBC Youth & Children’s Magazines:
"Overall this is a strong set of results for our Youth and Children's titles. I am delighted with the performance of our pre-school titles, particularly the strong debut from Something Special.

"The teen and pre-teen market continues to be a tough sector but despite this, Top Of The Pops magazine has posted a tremendous ABC performance of 98,030, up 4.0% period on period, and 25,028 copies ahead of its nearest competitor.  The result is testament to the recent focus on the editorial product which culminated with the title’s redesign in December and increased investment in premium gifts on the cover.

"Doctor Who Adventures benefited from the return of the TV show to our screens midway through this period, resulting in an up-lift in sales. We look forward to the new raft of programmes and great storylines coming in the new TV series this autumn, which is likely to have a similar impact. I’m also pleased with Girl Talk’s performance, with the title remaining relatively steady and retaining its loyal following in this very competitive market, which has seen several new launches in this period."

Pre-school titles


ABC Jan-Jun

ABC Jan-Jun



CBeebies Weekly





CBeebies Animals





CBeebies Art





CBeebies Specials (monthly)





Something Special magazine








n/a -


Pauline Cooke, Publisher, BBC Pre-school Magazines, says:
"BBC Magazines’ pre-school portfolio has had an amazing year, up 29.3% year on year and up 17.8% period on period.  Investment in our pre-school titles has paid off as we see sales holding up across the portfolio, with only small declines in existing stand-alone titles.

"This success has been driven, primarily, by the strength of the CBeebies portfolio of titles, which is performing extremely well.  CBeebies Art, in particular, goes from strength to strength with a 22.8% increase year on year. This indicates that during these difficult times parents are looking for value for money, choosing titles that offer quality gifts and a range of educational activities.

"I’m also delighted that Something Special has delivered such a strong debut ABC, at 61,748, demonstrating that this inclusive title is filling a gap in the market."

BBC Magazines Bristol


ABC Jan-June

ABC Jan –June



Homes & Antiques





BBC History Magazine





BBC Countryfile





BBC Wildlife Magazine





Gardens Illustrated





Sky at Night










Andy Healy, Publisher, Homes & Antiques:
"We’re up 6.5% year on year and the world of antiques and retro is back! With an increasing interest in hyper-cool vintage, upcycling and thrifting, second-hand is no longer second-rate. Homes & Antiquescontinues to inspire readers to create great-looking homes using auctions, dealers, fairs and flea markets. It’s a unique proposition in a crowded homes market and one of the few consumer magazines that teaches you how to make money through shopping. By championing antiques and vintage and helping readers to bring interiors to life with a clever retro ‘find’, Homes & Antiques continues to open up a world that was previously intimidating and expensive. I’m extremely pleased with this result."

Andy Healy, Publisher, BBC History Magazine:
"This is another phenomenal achievement for this powerhouse of a brand, as BBC History Magazinecelebrates its eleventh consecutive circulation rise. And as you’d expect from such a popular magazine, it’s now also both digital and global. We’ve launched three international licensed editions, have a digital edition for the iPad, and our award-winning podcast is downloaded across the world by over 200,000 listeners each week. We’ve also boosted our focus on the British heritage market, taking advantage of the fact that many people are now staying at home rather than taking foreign holidays. Subscriptions continue to break volume records and I’m delighted that this magazine is making history mainstream."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher, Countryfile Magazine:
"Countryfile Magazine delivers another impressive circulation increase, up 8.6% period on period and 16.6% year on year – and its fourth consecutive increase. The title has steadily built on the success of the last 18 months with subscriptions showing a particularly strong performance and now accounting for over 75% of circulation, illustrating Countryfile Magazine’s consistent editorial delivery and ability to capture its readers’ imagination."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher,BBC Wildlife Magazine:
"BBC Wildlife remains an incredibly robust magazine with an overall circulation largely in line with recent years. The title will be unveiling a sparkling new look this September, bringing a wealth of wildlife experiences into the living room through stunning photography and authoritative and informative articles from world-renowned experts across a range of fields."

Jemima Ransome, Publisher, Gardens Illustrated:
"Gardens Illustrated’s grip on its up-market audience has further strengthened this period with a gain of 2.5% year on year to an overall circulation of 34,294. Dedicated to quality, style and beauty, Gardens Illustrated is rightly dubbed the Vogue of the gardening world, and is a must-read for anyone with a love of gorgeous gardens and cutting edge plants."

Andrew Davies, Publisher, Sky at Night Magazine:
"I'm delighted with another stellar performance from Sky at Night Magazine which continues to show pleasing growth within its sector. With excellent performances from both the newsstand and subscription channels fuelling an 8.2% year on year increase, Sky at Night Magazine is looking forward to its peak autumn/winter season with confidence and excitement."

Andrew Davies, Publisher,  Focus Magazine:
"Like many other titles within its sector, Focus has had a challenging period on the newsstand although subscription volumes remain consistently high. Along with the ongoing success of the magazine itself, the ever-growing number of successful brand extensions (including the much lauded iPad edition and a collection of innovative bookazines) means that the stock of the Focus brand remains high. In addition, we’ve just recruited a new Editor in Graham Southorn. Formally the Editor of Sky at Night magazine, Graham is one of the UK’s top science journalists and exactly the right man to drive Focus forward."

The total ABC figure for BBC Magazines for January to June 2011 is 2,980,025, up +1.1% year on year and stable period on period (-0.2%).

About BBC Magazines
BBC Magazines is the magazine publishing division of BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC. It publishes over 30 regular consumer titles, including Top Gear, Good Food, Gardeners' World and Radio Times and many children's titles including Doctor Who Adventures and CBeebies Weekly.

On 16 August 2011, BBC Worldwide and Exponent Private Equity announced that they have signed a sale and licensing agreement for the publication of titles currently published by BBC Magazines. Under the terms of the deal Exponent will acquire, in full, Radio Times and a number of magazines less closely aligned to the BBC, as well as the rights to publish BBC-branded titles under licensing and contract publishing arrangements.

The transaction has the full approval of the BBC Trust. Completion of the deal is expected to take place in the autumn, following clearance from the Office of Fair Trading.

To download cover images of BBC Magazines' titles, please go to:

Sarah Williams-Robbins

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