Mixed bag for licensed mags in latest ABCs

Publishers remain stable overall, but individual titles see varied fortunes.
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The latest ABC figures have been released for July to December 2009 and despite the economic climate, publishers have held their ground overall.

BBC Magazines saw a growth of nearly three per cent overall. Children's magazines were also up period-on-period across the portfolio with particularly strong performances from a number of pre-school titles following a restructure and marketing review.

Bob the Builder magazine saw an increase of 21 per cent year-on-year, and two per cent period-on-period with sales at 49,183, up from 40,639 in Jan-June 2009 period. Waybuloo magazine also made a strong debut with sales of 38,908.

Top Gear magazine remained steady at 200,796 (2008: 200,756). In its second set of ABC's, Lonely Planet Magazine achieved a growth of 10.7 per cent period-on-period with sales up to 45,052. The title also grew its subscribers to 20,613.

In other titles, CBeebies dipped slightly YOY to 54,158 (2008: 53,740). CBeebies Art also fell three per cent to 52,361 (2008: 53,957).

With the absence of a supporting TV series, Dr Who adventures slipped 45.7 per cent YOY to 44,664 (2008: 82,205). Finally Match of the Day Weekly also saw sales fall 20.1 per cent to 63,980 (2008: 80,040).

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 three per cent on the last period."

Meanwhile, Egmont saw strong sales from Barbie magazine, which recorded a 20.2 per cent increase YOY and 12.7 per cent POP following a re-launch last year. This period saw an ABC of 58,036 (2008: 48,292).

The Disney group of titles also recorded a collective circulation increase of 27.7 per cent YOY. Playhouse Disney joined the market with sales of 37,016.

Disney Princess began to climb again at 63,919, an increase of 2.2 per cent POP, after it fell to 62,540 in the Jan-June 2009 results (2008: 64,843.) Disney Tinkerbell climbed five per cent YOY to 30,527 (2008: 29,086).

In its second period, Ben 10 magazine fell 8.6 per cent to 64,001 (2008: 70,012). Fireman Sam also slipped eight per cent to 27,157 (2008:31,172). Power Rangers magazine saw sales down to 27,157 (2008: 31,172). Dora the Explorer sales were at 45,584 (2008: 51,038).

Thomas Play and Learn slipped to 36,029 (2008: 37,518) and Thomas and Friends was down ten per cent YOY to 35,062 (2008: 39,012).

Debbie Cook, director of magazines commented: "Our success is being driven by a combination of new launches and the continued evolution of established brands such as Barbie. Regarding Barbie, we’ve taken a household brand and after listening to our consumers, evolved the magazine to reflect, and engage, a modern generation of readers.

"The strength of Egmont lies in the fact that by combining our books and magazine businesses, we’re well placed to attract big brands and licenses and convert them into market leading magazines and books that children want to read.”

Redan saw its Fun to Learn Friends magazine slip to average sales of 76,846 (2008: 79,400), while Fun to Learn Peppa Pig sales leapt 28 per cent YOY to 82,498 (2008: 64,425).

Meanwhile Titan Publishing Group saw sales dip to 67,968 for Simpsons Comics Presents (2008: 73,549). Spongebob Squarepants' average sales rose to 36,387 (2008:34,163) and The Simpsons Comics saw sales of 97,892 (2008: 106,545).

DC Thompson's WWE Kids saw sales slip POP from 40,459 for the Jan-July 2009 period to 32,726 in the recent audit.

FInally, Panini's tween magus both saw declines in the period. POP, Hannah Montana Magazine fell to 52,214 from 61,581 during the January to June 2009 period. Disney High School Musical magazine fell to 62,916 (2008: 148,514) and the company's Spectacular Spiderman magazine slipped to 32,865 (2008: 40,122.)

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