Magazine ABCs: Home interest sector in need of a revamp

Magazine ABCs: Home interest sector in need of a revamp
Magazine ABCs: Home interest sector in need of a revamp

The Home Interest sector housed declines in circulations with a fall of 3.4% year on year, James Tyrell, investment director at Havas Media Group UK, takes a closer look.

The Home Interest sector has always been an odd one; there are two contrasting sides to this group of magazines. Firstly your ‘dip in dip out’ sector, which includes people looking for inspiration and tips on style and decorating their houses in more of an ad hoc way (think Style At Home, Your Home, Beautiful Kitchens), versus the stylish ‘coffee table’ titles (such as World of Interiors and Elle Deco).

The Dip in/dip out magazines are usually slightly more volatile. Of course there is always a high base of loyal readers but there’s also always a group of people who will only buy two or three magazines a year when home style inspiration is most needed. The other, heavier subscriber based titles have clearly been more resilient to the generalised decline and have, broadly speaking, posted flatter results.

Hearst have generally posted some positive results this half with two flagship home interest titles, House Beautiful and Country Living,  recording print increases,  (+10.1% and +2.1% respectively). In fact when static seems to be the new increase these days, double digit print growth is very impressive.

The right mix of subscription drives, distribution and the marketing push as well as relevance in consumers’ lives contributes to its success. Unfortunately Living Etc couldn’t continue their positive run from January to June (combined +1.2% increase) and have this time posted a -2.6 % YoY decline.

Following a similar trend to other sectors, whilst print circulations dropped, digital editions which have been brought into the fold have increased (+6.05% YoY), demonstrating evidence that publishers have been endeavouring to diversify and push other channels in order to reach consumers and grow their business. 

This is unsurprising, perhaps, as tablet penetration continues to increase as devices become more and more accessible to consumers. Added to this, in recent data releases we’ve seen the more specialised markets grow and it would seem that the Home Interest sector is no different. A plethora of titles, including 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes and Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Living Etc all posted dramatic increase in digital circulation – all of them were up over +20%.

The recent launch of Town and Country (it hit the shelves in summer 2014) shows publishers are still seeing opportunities in this market and are responding to an appetite from consumers/readers. It has also increased frequency and will publish four issues in 2015.  It will be interesting to see if they post an ABC figure in the year to come and whether other publishers see this success as a green light to also grow their portfolio in the Home Interest market.

James Tyrell is investment director at Havas Media Group UK

Title Dec 2014 end Prd-prd % change Yr-yr % change
WI life 212,547   0
Ideal Home 187,509 -4.6 -2.9
Country Living 182,622 2.1 -3.9
House Beautiful 122,926 10.1 3.9
Your Home 120,272 -3.5 -2.1
House and Garden 116,012 -0.9 -3.3
Homes and Gardens 115,397 -1.1 -5.6
The Christmas Magazine 113,442   -17.5
Style at Home 101,192 -5.9 3.4
Wallpaper 100,108   -0.4
Living etc 92,224 -3.8 -2.6
25 Beautiful Homes 91,188 -6.6 -10.2
Ideal Homes Complete Guide to Xmas 89,898   6
Country Homes and Interiors 89,438 -3.6 -6.7
Elle Decoration 70,009 -2.1 -1.9
World Of Interiors 58,044 0 0.1
Homes and Antiques 54,156   -5.1
The English Home - North America Edition 39,171   -1.9
Grand Designs 34,016 4.4 0.3
Period Living 32,782   -5.9

Combined ABC print and digital figures

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