UK Magazine Launches in Third Straight Annual Decline

12 February 2009

GODALMING, UK: The number of magazines launched in the UK fell by 2% year-on-year in 2008, the third successive annual decline, with the average distribution of new titles also decreasing by over 40% to 16,700 copies, reports Wessenden Marketing.

Wessenden argues that the UK magazine industry is currently in a state of "rationalisation" as retailers exert tight control over shelf space and the cost of launching new titles increases.

This assessment matches the equally challenging climate in the US, where industry figures have argued many titles will have to reconfigure their revenue models in order to survive the downturn.

Overall, new magazines have made up around 10% of the total number of titles in the last three years in the UK, down from a historical average closer to 20%.

Only 5% of all new titles enjoyed distribution levels of over 100,000 in 2008, while the number of titles with a distribution of below 25,000 has doubled in the last three years to 33% of all new launches.

Growing categories last year included teenage, men's and adult titles, where the number of launches almost doubled compared with 2007.

By contrast, the number of new "home" focused titles fell by 75%, with launches of children's titles also down by half. 

The average cover price for new titles is £3.71 ($5.32; €4.12), with monthly titles accounting for 44% of new launches.

Data sourced by Wessenden Marketing; additional content by WARC staff