Men's Magazine ABCs: July to December 2012
Shortlist continues to hold the top spot in the men's sector with a year on year rise in circulation of 1%, their 10th consecutive increase.Shortlist, like Stylist, has expanded into many areas digitally with the launch of their daily email newsletter Mr Hyde and their innovative Blippar issue. The Blippar issue, which they ran at the end of November, was a great success receiving 227,000 'blips’ and 51,000 unique users making it the biggest ever execution Blippar have worked on with any media. Technology of this kind will become a must for advertisers to consider this year as it allows consumers to develop a much stronger brand connection through its interactive capabilities. In addition to their digital expansions, Shortlist’s dedicated fashion title Mode made its first foray into the ABC reports with an exceptionally strong circulation of 268,879.Though both Shortlist and Sport remain in poll position in the men’s lifestyle sector ahead of the paid-for titles, Sport has seen its first decline since 2011. This is perhaps surprising considering the impact of the Olympics and the resultant heightened interest in the sports sector.Men's Health remains the market leader among the men's paid-for titles, despite a 6.3% period-on-period circulation decline, to 202,704. As expected, however, Men’s Health digital figures are very impressive, boasting 12,676 this period and continuing to grow. Looking at a combined print and digital figures their circulation numbers are down but not quite so significantly at -2.6% YoY and -0.4% PoP.Some of the titles within the men’s market really are struggling with almost 50% of titles experiencing a loss during the six-month period, with bi-monthly magazine Healthy for Men taking the biggest hit, -20.5% PoP and a huge -35.8% YoY.Upmarket men's magazines Esquire and GQ outperformed rival lads' mags with a robust set of sales figures in the final half of 2012.Esquire reported a 12.6% sales rise, to 61,579, in the six months to December compared to the previous half year. This represents its highest print ABC figure since 2005 and is reflective of its huge success on the UK newsstand. Other titles in the market are either flat or down on the newsstand, which highlights the success of the brand under editor Alex Bilmes and the impact of world exclusive covers such as Daniel Craig, Rihanna and Cameron Diaz.In addition, Esquire continues to have a strong multi-platform presence, with Esquire.co.uk engaging with more than 130k unique users a month and a ground-breaking re-launch is planned soon. With the digital edition becoming tablet-optimised from the March issue onwards, Esquire expects even more growth with their affluent and early adoptive audience. The brand will continue to grow in to new areas in 2013 with the imminent launch of luxury bi-annual “The Big Black Book”.GQ is also performing well, bucking the general market decline and remaining static YoY & PoP. There have been no alterations on their cover price or subscription price changes to encourage additional sales either which is positive and Conde Nast have been investing in digital outdoor advertising to help recruit new readers of the title. This year marks the 25th anniversary of GQ which will culminate in their December issue which they are expecting to be their biggest issue ever and will include plenty of partnerships & promotional activity.GQ is one of the highest read magazines digitally and, as with Men’s Health, the GQ digital figure is really helping to bolster their print circulation. If we include this figure in a total circulation, GQ has had a YoY increase of nearly 10%. Men’s Health & Esquire are still only flat pdf/Zinio style downloads whereas GQ have their fully interactive, all-singing, all-dancing app. We would then expect that once Esquire launch their tablet-enabled app in March their digital numbers will rise and perhaps even eclipse those of GQ.Wired saw a minor circulation dip of 2% in the final half of 2012, to 51,105. Compared with the same half in 2011, sales are steady at 0.1%.The ‘lads mags’ market are really struggling to hold onto their newsstand numbers. Nuts have been hit the hardest with almost a 30% decline since Jul – Dec 2011. One of the reasons we could attribute to the downfall of the ‘lads mags’ market is the increasing availability of this kind of content online. Websites such as Buzzfeed provide the humorous anecdotes; newspaper sites provide the sport and so on. All of this can be so easily accessed at the click of a button for free and perhaps print versions of these without video content are now obsolete for the male audience of today.In summary, men’s lifestyle as a whole is actually up 9% YoY, despite the struggles of some titles, with Shortlist remaining top. Freemiums are still leaders of this sector despite Sport taking a decline. We expect Shortlist will continue to grow as they are able to keep testing and launching in new regions.Although it seems many men's print titles have declined the strong digital presence has lessened the gap and before long they will be able to quote these as a whole coverage figure. This will be of particular relevance as titles like Esquire launch their fully interactive tablet enabled editions.