ABC Results: publisher reaction

The ABC yesterday released the consumer magazine circulation results for the January – June 2020 period and publishers have responded with their interpretation of the figures.

ABC Results: publisher reaction
BBC Gardeners’ World magazine’s circulation is up 30% period-on-period, and up 8.2% year-on-year reporting a combined ABC of 221,422.

Below are statements about their ABC results from: Bauer Media, Hearst UK, Immediate Media and The Week.

(Click here for more information about ABC’s temporary standards changes, introduced as a result of the coronavirus.)

Bauer Media

Commenting on the January to June results, Chris Duncan, CEO of UK Publishing, said: “Bauer Media continues to be at the forefront of the UK consumer magazine industry, publishing audited circulation figures as a matter of record and providing full transparency for our commercial partners. We are reporting ABCs for the full, uninterrupted January to June 2020 period which reflect the unique circumstances in which we have traded.

While our traditional supply-chain experienced massive disruption during lockdown, the demand for our products remained strong and even increased in some markets. We saw home delivered and digital copies grow through our subscriptions channels, and sales in independent shops rise as more of our readers sought out copies closer to home.

I am grateful to all of our teams who managed to produce such high quality magazines during this period, to ensure that we could meet the expectations of our readers and our advertisers. Circulations remain on track for robust recovery in the second half of the year as distribution patterns settle.”

Highlights this period:

TV Listings

TV Choice: 1,039,288

Total TV Guide: 84,015

  • While TV viewing increased considerably during lockdown, Britons turned to the trusted TV listings bible TV Choice for guidance, which continues to sell over one million copies each week.
  • Total TV Guide (weekly) records an ABC of 84,015 with subscriptions rising by a huge 21.5% POP; and 27.9% YOY.


Take a Break: 383,839

Take a Break Monthly: 175,462

that’s life: 162,191

  • Take a Break (weekly) sells an impressive 383,839 copies on average every week.
  • Take a Break Monthly delivers another strong ABC figure of 175,462 recording increases both 0.2% POP and 0.6% YOY respectively
  • that’s life! (weekly) has continued to perform well and is selling 162,191 copies a week.


Garden Answers: 50,888

Garden News: 37,776

  • Garden Answers and Garden News both recorded double digit period-on-period increases and YOY growth taking advantage of the good weather and the market-drivers to post significant gains.
  • Garden Answers (monthly) continues with phenomenal growth for its 14th consecutive ABC increase to 50,888 average copies circulated, up both (+17.5%) POP and (+7.4%) YOY. The title also achieved strong growth in subscriptions of 11.0% POP and 18.8% YOY.
  • Garden News (weekly) has grown its circulation significantly both POP (+12.7%) and YOY (+0.7%) posting a circulation of 37,776.

Women’s Weekly Classics

Bella: 137,434

  • Bella (weekly) delivers another strong performance in Women’s Weekly Classics market, selling 137,434 copies each week.

Celebrity Weeklies

Closer: 119,931

heat: 78,290

  • A disrupted supply-chain in early lockdown fuelled significant digital growth, particularly in the Celebrity Sector with heat recording 50.0% POP and 34.0% YOY and Closer 28.2% POP; 16.3% YOY
  • Closer (weekly) saw huge subscription growth of 27.4% POP, and 18.7 % YOY and reported a circulation of 119,931.
  • heat (weekly) continues to perform strongly in the celebrity market, with a circulation of 78,290. The title benefitted from massive digital growth in this sector.


Grazia: 81,056

  • Grazia (fortnightly) produced its first ground-breaking issue from home featuring four frontline medics for a special issue offered as a free reward to all NHS staff.
  • Grazia also drove innovative routes to market recording exceptional digital growth of 55.2% POP and 47.2% YOY.


Yours: 188,660

  • Yours (fortnightly) has an average circulation of 188,660 copies per issue. The title massively increased its digital circulation, as even this mature audience changed its purchasing habit, seeing increases of 28.8% POP and 11.9% YOY.

Hearst UK

Hearst UK has taken the decision to report its ABC figures annually this year. This means there will be no standalone release for the period Jan-Jun 2020. Instead, these figures will be incorporated into a full year release which will be made available in February 2021.

James Wildman, CEO, Hearst UK, President, Hearst Europe, says: “Whilst we are extremely encouraged to have seen a significant increase in magazine sales through subscriptions and convenience retailers, our business has felt the impact that Covid-19 has had on some of our other routes to market, notably via our dynamic distribution channels, along with our traditional high street and travel point stores. Therefore, we believe a six-month release will not accurately provide a robust view of our true circulation figures, particularly in comparison to January – June 2019. Instead, we plan to deliver an annual release in February next year which will be more representative and, in the meantime, our customers can access our audience numbers as usual through the gold-standard PAMCo service.

“I am extremely proud of the way that Hearst has tackled these unprecedented times head on. Over the past few months, we have continued to delight our many millions of print consumers, enjoyed record digital traffic across our brands, successfully pivoted from large-scale live events to virtual iterations, offered new services to better serve our clients’ needs, and launched a number of exciting initiatives to help our engaged audiences get more out of life.

“We hope to move back to six monthly ABC reporting from 2021 when our industry has returned to a greater semblance of normality.”

Immediate Media Co

Immediate Media Co, the special interest content and platform company, has posted a combined print and digital ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) circulation of 1,822,055, up 3.5% period-on-period and 12.4% year-on-year, for titles reporting January to June 2020.

Despite difficult trading conditions on the newsstand during lockdown, Immediate’s special interest titles, particularly in the gardening and food sector, have proved particularly resilient, growing reach across print and digital.

  • Immediate’s ABC-audited print circulation is 1,770,269, an increase of 1.9% period-on-period and 10% year-on-year.
  • Immediate’s ABC-audited digital circulation recorded a total circulation of 51,786, up 138.4% period-on-period and 307% year-on-year.
  • With 987,784 subscribers, a 6.8% increase year-on-year, Immediate remains the leading magazine publishing company for subscriptions. *
  • In April, Immediate reached 87million global users across its digital portfolio, an increase of 80% year-on-year.

Tom Bureau, Immediate CEO, says: “Given the crisis we live through, these ABC's show the remarkable appeal of Immediate's brands to their audiences, new and established. I am hugely proud of our talented editorial, publishing and commercial teams who have continued to deliver world-class content and distribution in the most challenging of circumstances. Lockdown has proved we’re a nation of gardeners, bakers, TV viewers, cyclists, crafters and beyond - our market leading specialist brands have helped guide and inspire millions.

Whilst Covid-19 has been a significant challenge in some areas of our business, we have seen real growth elsewhere. We have added almost 100,000 subscribers since March and our digital audiences have been flying with record-breaking visitors to,, and, to name just a few.”

Highlights for the ABC period Jan-June 2020:

  • Radio Times remains the UK’s biggest-selling quality magazine, with a weekly combined ABC of 468,608. It retains its position as the most valuable brand on the UK newsstand and is also the UK’s biggest weekly subscription brand, with 253,356 weekly subscribers, a 10% increase since the start of lockdown in March. Radio Times has the biggest reach of a general weekly magazine brand (PamCo)
  • continues to attract new readers to the brand, with a record-breaking 20 million visitors in June 2020, up 7.4% year-on-year. Over the lockdown period, have adapted and created new editorial initiatives. Highlights have included live Q&As and exclusive watchalongs with stars and shows including Ricky Gervais, John Barrowman, the cast of Gangs of London, Call the Midwife and Line of Duty.
  • BBC Gardeners’ World magazine’s circulation is up 30% period-on-period, and up 8.2% year-on-year reporting a combined ABC of 221,422. BBC Gardeners’ World magazine’s subscriptions are up 30% year-on-year, and attracted a record-breaking 5.5m users in May, an increase of 269% year-on-year. BBC Gardeners’ World magazine continues to be the market leading gardening title and has the highest monthly print readership and brand reach amongst all general interest monthlies. (PAMCo – June 2020).
  • Immediate remains the UK’s leading Food publisher, with a strong performance across its portfolio, including BBC Good Food, Easy Cook, Home Cooking Series, and olive, outperforming the market in terms of both volume and value.
  • BBC Good Food retains its position as the nation’s number one food media brand, reporting a combined ABC of 157,948, up 0.5% year-on-year. BBC Good Food is the largest magazine brand in the UK (PAMCo 2020) and has seen an incredible digital growth year – on – year, delivering a staggering, and 53 million global users in April 2020.
  • BBC Good Food ramped up its video capability during the period, serving up 6 new video series under the banner #StayHomeGetCooking, with the brand’s cookery team devising new recipes and presenting from their home kitchens, live-directed by producer-editors. Together with this new content strategy and new video player technologies, on-site video views grew +1698% to 45m, with 90m minutes of video watched over the period.
  • The brand focused heavily on front line interaction with users, with live video Q&As simulcast daily across Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, a new Facebook community that has attracted 26k members and a new Lockdown Essentials podcast, all aimed at helping users troubleshoot their cooking dilemmas under lockdown conditions.

  • olive recorded an impressive 16.2% circulation increase period-on-period and up 35.1% year-on-year to 34,114. The brand continues to increase its reach across all platforms, with is now the third biggest food website in the UK recording their best ever month in June 2020 achieving a record breaking 8.3million global page-views, up 135% YoY.
  • Immediate continues to be the number one publisher in the Children’s market, with a combined ABC circulation of 897,038 up 34% year-on-year and 12.5% period-on-period. Highlights include:
  • Lego Special Series recorded a circulation of 50,367 up 10.20% year-on-year and 18.9% period-on-period.

    Top of the Pops’ circulation is up 7.6% year-on-year and 8.5% period-on-period to 45,561.

    Mega posted a circulation of 29,390 up 1.8% year-on-year and 2.6% period-on-period.

    Frozen and Frozen Funtime both posted impressive period-on-period growth of over 10%, with a combined sale of 99,622.

Immediate now has the largest cross-brand reach of any magazine publisher in the UK (PAMCo 2020).

The Week

The Week Junior, aimed at 8-14 year olds that are curious about the world, has increased its circulation by 22.1% year-on-year, taking its current weekly average circulation to 85,578, including 77,223 paid subscriptions. It is the fastest growing news weekly to be published in the UK of all time. In the last six months, the magazine has added 13,315 new readers.

Since its launch in 2015 the magazine has been an instant hit with children and parents alike, relaying the week’s news in an informative and engaging way. The title is never afraid to tackle difficult topics such as terrorism, and more recently the global coronavirus pandemic.

Anna Bassi, Editorial Director, of The Week Junior said: “I’m delighted that The Week Junior continues to grow and reach new audiences. The past few months have been particularly hard for children, so it’s wonderful to know that our content is helping them. Children love making sense of what’s going on as well as keeping entertained, engaged and inspired.

We recently launched a Summer of Reading initiative to keep children reading over the holidays. We want to take them on adventures even if they aren’t going away. The current boom in children’s books along with our own circulation growth proves print’s power to capture the imagination and provide a trusted source of information.”

The Week, the parent title to The Week Junior, reported a modest decrease of 5% period-on-period taking its combined circulation to 166,438.

Kerin O’Connor, Chief Executive of The Week said: “The Week has held its own in a Covid affected market, particularly with the newstrade disruption. We’ve seen increased demand for subscriptions, and I’m confident that going forward we will see new circulation growth. I can’t recall a time when our digital marketing efforts have been so fruitful, and we will look to carry this general consumer enthusiasm forward.”

The Week continues to be a trusted source of information for readers seeking to find out a balanced view of the news taking place across the world, and even more so during lockdown. The had a significant rise in readership and registrations as the pandemic spread across the country. Newsletter sign-ups reached record levels as people sought out a reliable source of coronavirus news.

The award-winning The Week Unwrapped podcast which discusses three under-reported stories from the week’s news, grew its audience to 120,000 downloads per month as people looked for news beyond the pandemic.

MoneyWeek, the weekly title that gives intelligent and enjoyable commentary on the most important financial stories, has reported an ABC weekly circulation of 28,493.