UK Digital Editions ABC’s

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The ABC just released the Consumer Magazine Report, which details the circulation figures of some 250 magazine titles available in the UK and Ireland. Unfortunately there is no breakdown of the RoI so there’s not a huge deal if interest in the figures here in the main. Nonetheless there are some interesting points that are worth highlighting.

The biggest distributed magazine in the survey was Tesco magazine with 1.9m copies distributed every month. This is followed by magazines from rivals Asda and Morrisons and all three magazines distributed free throughout their stores. The biggest paid for magazine was TV Choice at 1.2m copies, What’s on TV with 1.08m copies and Take a Break at 713k.

Magazine Circulation
TV Choice1,282,276
What’s on TV1,081,176
Take a Break713,778
Radio Times577,338
Slimming World408,348
OK! Magazine293,891

In this report there were 85 titles who were audited for a digital edition of their publication. From the ABC:  “A digital edition is an edition of the print publication published electronically as a unit which once published is, as a principle, inert (i.e. does not change)”  

The figures are very low in comparison to the respective print editions, but some magazines making good headway into a digital transition. Keep in mind that in a comparable report in 2011th biggest ABC for a digital edition was 1,746 copies for Men’s Health.

Below are the top 20 digital editions and also the proportion of digital editions to their overall sales. The two important factors: Firstly the digital offering. For example, “Total Film” offers trailers, a movie databases, multi media extracts (their words!) etc on top of the magazine content. – a truly interactive magazine – at £13 a year – the same price as the magazine subscription.

Secondly is the uniqueness of the content. The Economist, for example, will have a particular brand of uniqueness that punters are prepared to pay for and the ‘digital’ platform suits their end users demographic who would be heavy digital consumers.   

Given the pressure the lads mags are under to go high shelf and tone down the flesh, it’s good to see that at least one of them, Nuts, is making some inroads to transfer to digital and thus avoid dealing with “new temperance movement” masquerading as Tesco and the Co-Op. Not that I’m a exponent for lads mags I just have an issue where free speech and freedom of the press is being “legislated” for us by retailing groups. 

Name of titlePrint Digital % of Total
The Economist –  Continental Europe Edition229,84114,1165.8%
Total Film60,91212,28016.8%
Men’s Health203,74112,0185.6%
The Economist –  Asia Pacific Edition141,66111,5277.5%
BBC Top Gear Magazine137,40610,6857.2%
BBC Good Food252,08510,6214.0%
How It Works38,01210,60321.8%
The Economist –  United Kingdom Edition209,2748,8184.0%
BBC History Magazine75,1938,77010.4%
Vanity Fair88,3778,3088.6%
New Scientist – US/Canadian Sales18,2627,73829.8%
Elle (U.K.)170,2866,8083.8%
Elle Decoration71,0286,4848.4%
Women’s Health102,1165,5795.2%




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