Magazine ABCs: Men's monthlies 'hang on' while Nuts and Zoo plunge

Men's Health: title still outperforms its rivals in the paid-for market
Men's Health: title still outperforms its rivals in the paid-for market

Men's Health maintained its long-term position as the top paid-for men's magazine in the most recent ABC report, after a period of slow decline for men's monthlies and steep circulation falls for lads' mags.

The health and fitness title, published by Hearst magazines UK, posted a print circulation of 203,741 for the period of January to June 2013, a decline of 5.8 per cent year on year.

Its rivals in the men's monthly market also reported modest declines, holding up well in the tough climate. Condé Nast's GQ fell two per cent year on year to 117,778 while Hearst's other major men's monthly Esquire dropped 3.5 per cent to 52,801.

But lads' mags Nuts and Zoo continued to suffer, dropping 34.8 per cent and 23.1 per cent respectively.

The news adds to recent troubles for the titles, published by IPC and Bauer Media respectively. They will no longer be sold in The Co-operative shops after ongoing discussions by supermarkets to tone down their explicit covers.

Bauer's monthly magazine FHM, which positions itself as a lifestyle publication, but targets a younger, less upmarket audience than rivals GQ and Esquire, also fell 14.1 per cent.

Mark Howley, the managing director of ZenithOptimedia Group, said: "The difference that seems to be emerging between younger readers, who have no loyalty to any format and are obsessed with all things free, and older readers who are prepared to pay for quality.

"This is why Nuts, Zoo and FHM are losing print readers at a rate of knots, while GQ, Esquire and Men's Health are hanging on in there."

Howley stressed the strength of digital circulation among male-focused titles, after the ABC report found Total Film, GQ and Men's Health topped the chart for digital editions.

He said: "The other vital point is digital sales. GQ and Men's Health are big tablet titles, and you could make a case that Total Film and Top Gear [which performed well digitally] are all essentially male titles too. So in other words, men are really blazing a trail here in terms of their take-up of digital editions."

Free magazines Shortlist and Sport remained the two biggest-circulating titles overall, with their numbers virtually unchanged compared to the same period last year.


Jul End 2013

Prd/Prd % change

Yr / Yr % change

Shortlist 534,494 0.5% 1%
Sport 305,684 1.1% 0%
Men's Health 203,741 0.5% -5.8%
GQ 117,778 -2% -2%
FHM 106,370 -7.2% -14.1%
RWD 98,683 0.4% 2.1%
BBC Focus 66,862 -10% 3.5%
Nuts 58,781 -26.7% -34.8%
Men's Fitness 56,816 -8.1% -12.9%
Esquire 52,801 -14.3% -3.5%
Wired 49,377 -3.4% -5.3%
Square Mile 48,957 16.8% 41.3%
How It Works 38,012 8.2% 11.5%
Zoo 35,596 -19.2% -23.1%


Average circulation per issue for the six-month period Jan 2013 to Jun end 2013

Source: ABC Consumer Magazine Report

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