Sunday, December 06, 2009

UK Film Mag Circulations

Although there a range of smaller-scale, Indie rivals, the film mag sector in the UK is dominated by just two players, Empire and Total Film - both of which are published by major companies (Bauer and Future respectively - see the mags blog for info on Bauer), a conglomerate with global reach in the case of Bauer.
Both are quite Hollywood-centric, not especially going out of their way to reflect what the UK film industry is up to for its UK audience! Their covers routinely lead on some Hollywood star or director. Indeed, Empire ex-editor Phil Thomas is quite open on this:
Empire was set up to counter the pomposity of most film writing .... We took a different tack: movies are great until proven otherwise. Especially Hollywood movies.
The British film industry, such as it was, never really forgave us for that, but it was the 'critics' who loathed us most. They believed that every issue, with its Hollywood star on the cover and Barfing in the Movies features inside, was proof of Empire's agenda against serious European films, and our obsession with "propping up" Hollywood. As if it needed propping up.
(Thomas (2009) [Editors] "Phil Thomas", Inside Empire, p. 22)
Flick towards the back of each and look at the ads: all these invites to ring up young ladies for a nice chat suggests each sees the male reader as their primary demographic, a common assumption in both music and film publishing which I've always found a rather strange reflection of our culture (these companies are very, very good at knowing who reads their mags!).
The latest ABCs are out - figures are released monthly but half-yearly and annual comparisons are always paid particular attention to for highlighting trends. I'm sure you know by now that ABCs are how the official circulation (not necessarily sales) figures by the Audit Bureau of Circulation are known!
Here's the latest summary, from the excellent (though troubled itself; ironically the Media industry has struggled to support media on the media: The UK Press Gazette and MediaWeek the main players) MediaWeek:
IPC's NME and Bauer Consumer Media's Kerrang! reported year-on-year circulation drops of 27.2% and 28.3% respectively during the first six months of 2009.
In the film market, a special edition guest-edited by Steven Spielberg helped Bauer's Empire achieve a circulation of 194,016, up 2.3% period on period and 3.6% year on year.
The performance of Kerrang! and  NME reflected a market hit hard by the rise of digital platforms and changes in consumer behaviour. But Eric Fuller, managing director of NME publisher IPC Ignite, is committed to the title. "The paper publication remains in very rude health," he says. NME's website posted strong growth, for an ABCe of 4.7 million unique users in June.
Future Publishing's Classic Rock reported increases both period on period (0.2%) and year on year (5.5%) to 70,301. This is among a clutch of titles aimed at older music fans, including Q and Mojo, that remained steady despite market uncertainty.

You can read further analyses at:
The world’s biggest-selling film magazine EMPIRE celebrates its 20th anniversary year with a sixth consecutive ABC rise to 194,016.
Earlier this year the EMPIRE team, led by Editor Mark Dinning, relocated to LA to work with the world's most famous film director and guest-editor Steven Spielberg. The special issue included exclusives from a veritable Hollywood Who's-Who - Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson amongst them.
A blockbuster packed six months in film has seen movie titles Empire and Total Film both post an increase in circulation figures.
Batman, Terminator, Harry Potter and Transformer sequels all released in the last six months must have contributed somewhat to a 3.6 per cent rise to 194,016 for Empire and a 0.6 per cent rise to 85,031 for Total Film.
Bauer's Empire scored a massive exclusive for its June issue, with legendary director Steven Spielberg guest editing the magazine's 20th anniversary edition.
While many magazines suffered falling sales, the total average net circulation and distribution of UK consumer titles over the first six months of 2009 was 63.76m copies, a fall of 1.9% year on year.
Despite the doom and gloom, the magazine sector is still growing, with a total average net circulation and distribution of 81,227,572 across the second half of 2008, a 3.7% increase year on year and up from 76,238,115 in the second half of 2003.
The top-selling actively purchased magazine, relying on subscriptions and newsstand sales, was once again H Bauer's TV Choice, which sold 1,369,088 copies on average each week in the second half of 2008, down 2.5% year on year.
Two more weekly TV listings magazines sold more than 1m actively purchased copies each week – IPC's What's on TV, down 5.1% year on year to 1,315,543, and BBC Magazines' Radio Times, down 1.7% to 1,018,704.

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