Supermarket sales power customer magazine growth

Asda: the fourth biggest circulation magazine in the country
Asda: the fourth biggest circulation magazine in the country

Major supermarkets have powered the rise in circulation of customer magazines, despite the shackles being placed on marketing budgets in the current straitened economic times.

The performance of customer magazines, which make up the top five magazines by circulations, has prompted APA boss Julia Hutchison to claim that readers are "increasingly turning to brands that they trust".

But customer magazines, like the wider advertising industry, have been hit by the government's freeze on "non-critical" advertising, which was implemented in May 2010.

A number of publishers have been forced to close public-sector titles because of the government spending cuts.

That aside, the latest figures show the growth in circulation has been aided by Asda magazine's dramatic six-month rise.

The title, published by Publicis Blueprint, has leapfrogged Tesco Magazine, published by Cedar, to become the fourth biggest circulation magazine in the country.

Its circulation increased by 22.3% on the period to 2,381,137 in the six months to December 2010.

Tesco Magazine nudged down 0.7% on the period to 1,983,837.

Tesco's sister title, Tesco Real Food, which launched in March 2010 and also published by Cedar, is being caught by Morrisons Magazine, which was up 8.5% on the period to 1,117,112.

The top three magazines by circulation in the country remain the trio of Sky titles – Sky Magazine, Sky Sports Magazine and Sky Movies Magazine.

Eleven customer titles appear in the top 20 by circulations, ahead of marketing leading titles such as men's lifestyle title ShortList and women's monthly Glamour.

Julie Hutchison, chief operating office of the APA, said: "Despite the constraints placed on marketing budgets over the past six months – a concern for many channels – of the 23 branded titles that appear in the top 100 magazines by circulations and distribution, 65% have experienced growth.

"In a period where it would have been easy to reduce circulation, consumer demand for engaging and relevant content has demonstrated the value of the medium and underlined its dominance of the ABCs."

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