Magazine ABCs Sector Round Up - Home Interest & Travel

The Home Interest market saw a mixed set of results.  Overall, the sector is down by a small -0.1% on last year and -0.4% on the second half of 2011.  However, some titles have boasted an increase in sales - notably Style at Home, which has risen a massive 52.2% YoY and 11.4% PoP since its launch last year.Publications including Homes & Gardens, Home & Antiques and Coast were among the worst decliners as generally, the more expensive titles (e.g. Coast, Homes & Gardens) have been decreasing more than the cheaper ones (e.g. Good Homes, Elle Decoration).  In addition, Ideal Home, Country Living and House Beautiful all posted fairly substantial actual losses during the year.  Ideal Home remains ahead of Country Living as the number one title in the sector.However, a number of titles enjoyed positive results, including IPC Media's Country Homes & Interiors, Living etc and, of course, Style at Home as well as Kelsey Publishing's GoodHomes and Hearst Magazines' Elle Decoration.Home_Interest_ABC_Figures_Jan_Jun_12On the whole, the property market has suffered in the last period due to the ‘double-dip’ recession downturn in the earlier part of the year causing a fall in property prices. This, therefore, explains the overall dip in the home interest magazine sector.The 7pc stamp duty rate imposed on £2m homes also had an effect on the market, with London estate agents reporting some sales grinding to a halt as a result of the announcement. On the other hand, this may also mean that people are doing up their houses rather than moving, which would explain why some home interest publications have increased their sales, and the overall market is only marginally reduced.The exception, however, comes with the rise in first-time buyers as they snap up the chance to climb aboard the property ladder. This and the overall effect of the recession would explain why budget-centric Style at Home has been such a stand-out performer in the ABCs this period, as it provides affordable shopping and decorating ideas and easy makes that are big on inspiration yet achievable on an everyday budget. Publications such as Homes & Antiques which are higher in price and feature expensive, luxury home-ware have been declining this period (Homes & Antiques fared quite poorly with a -4.7% PoP decrease).Home_Interest_YoY_ABC_ComparisonsPractically all of the titles in this sector have gone digital, most of which are compatible with smartphones and iPads. These include most of the declining magazines such as Coast, Home & Antiques, Ideal Home, Country Living, House Beautiful, Country Homes & Interiors etc. Much like the entirety of the magazine market, the expansion of content available online and in digital copies has seemingly had an effect on print sales.The sector hasn't been helped by the fact that publishers' focus has very much been on self improvement (through exercise and healthy eating). Consequently the home titles have taken a bit of a back seat within the respective publishing houses whilst they focus on women’s lifestyle expansion with launches such as Feel Good You, Cosmo Body and Woman’s Health.The travel sector has bucked the trend for mass sweeping decline and has on average only decreased marginally YoY by -1.2% and risen by 0.25% PoP. BBC Lonely Planet was the only publication to see an actual decline, however BBC Worldwide has reduced the value of Lonely Planet by almost £50m since acquiring the guidebook publisher in 2007, as the business struggles to cope with high costs and the transition to digital and TV, explaining their decrease in sales in the last period.Factors such as rising incomes in emerging markets and stable unemployment and disposable income in mature markets has marginally driven demand in the tourism sector in 2012. However, the overall decline in the print market with the emergence of digital media has meant magazine sales still struggle.Travel_Magazine_ABC_Figures_Jan_Jun_12 Probably the most significant shake up in the travel sector came in May this year when Condé Nast Traveller’s founding editor Sarah Miller was replaced by Tatler travel editor Melinda Stevens.  The previous periods decline has been recuperated in the latest round of ABC’s but we wait with baited breath to see how Melinda’s first autumn issues of the title will be received.

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