Yesterday marked the biannual release of the Consumer Magazines ABCs, where the average circulations for the first half of 2015 were revealed.
While it was no surprise to see that the circulations of the majority of titles across the Children’s sector have declined again, the growth across some titles and introduction of new brands means the Children’s press market on the whole has remained relatively static.
Although 63% of the Children’s magazines that were included in this audit have seen a period-on-period decline in sales (January-June 2015 vs. July-December 2014), well over a third of titles (37%) have grown. If we compare the first half of this year vs. last year, we see just over a fifth (21%) demonstrating growth, suggesting seasonality when it comes to purchasing, with more titles experiencing a growth in their circulations across the summer holiday and winter period (July-December).
If we take a deeper dive into the Primary titles, the boys are outshining the girls.
The overall Primary Boys market has increased by 36.2% year-on-year, with more of the Boys titles seeing growth than they are decline. Immediate Media now accounts for four of the top five Boys' titles, with Mega growing by an impressive 42.9% year- on-year.
Following the success of the top rating Cartoon Network show, LEGO Ninjago is now the number one circulating Primary Boys title after its release earlier this year, while Ben 10 has declined by over a third, suggesting publishers should keep abreast of the performance of TV shows when considering their magazine brands.
Classic Boys title ‘The Beano’ opted out of being audited this year which may be due to its recent declines.
Almost two years on, girls' love for Elsa, Anna and Olaf shows no sign of wavering. Disney Frozen’s first audit saw the title become not only the number one Primary Girls magazine, but the largest magazine within the Childrens market, with a circulation almost twice that of the second biggest Girls title, Sparkle World. Disney Frozen has really driven the 24.3% growth we can see within the Girls' press sector, as every other Primary Girls title has seen a fall year-on-year.
While 19 of the 24 Pre-school titles have seen a year-on-year fall, the total circulation of the Pre-school market has remained fairly static, with the total sector up 2.4% period-on-period, and down 0.6% year-on- year.
It's no secret that mobile device usage continues to grow among toddlers and pre-schoolers, but it's clear that mums haven't lost faith in magazines.
Peppa Pig remains one of the top rating pre-school shows on TV, and its popularity is reflected in the press market with it accounting for two of the top three circulating pre-school titles. Unlike in the Boys and Girls market where fairly 'new' brands reign (like LEGO Ninjago and Disney Frozen), it's clear mums still trust the old favourites for pre-schoolers, with Thomas & Friends and Bob The Builder increasing their numbers.
Although the majority of titles continue to suffer, with the growth of certain titles and introduction of others, the combined circulations across the Children’s and Parent press sectors are standing up versus the rest of the press market – with Parent titles up by 10.2%, Women’s Weeklies down 10.7% (with no titles demonstrating growth) & Men’s Lifestyle down 2.9%.
Perhaps it’s not time to rule press out of your media mix just yet when it comes to toy promotion. Toy advertisers and media buyers should however take this as an opportunity to ensure maximum value is being achieved across their press plans in the titles that are declining, negotiating additional value to fully engage readers with their brand, whilst making the most of the success of new titles while they are at their peak.