Sunday, March 09, 2008

Comic Cuts - Circulation Special

It's that time of year again. The Audit Bureau of Circulations has released figures for magazine and newspaper circulations for the latter half (July-December) of 2007, so here's a run-down of sales for British children's magazines. Comments on circulations for January to June 2007 can be found here and I did an update estimating circulations for some D. C. Thomson comics for the same period here. It's good to see that Thomsons are now confirming circulations through ABC figures.


The last time we looked at these figures, the leading pre-school title was Toybox which has since dropped to 3rd place behind Fun to Learn--Friends and the newly launched In the Night Garden... from BBC Worldwide and based on the BBC's children's programme produced by Ragdoll Productions for CBeebies which debuted in 2007. Fun to LearnFriends reversed its 7.9% drop of the first half of the year and rose 12.2% compared to Toybox's fall of 10.6%.

Me Too was the year's biggest loser, its circulation falling 28,000 year-on-year (56.9%), although Balamory wasn't far behind, dropping 42.9% year-on-year and shedding 27,500 sales per issue; Bob the Builder was down 16% for the half year and down a total of over 20,000 (27.7%) year-on-year; and Fimbles wasn't far behind, down 43.5% year-on-year, a circulation drop of 19,500.

Newcomers to the chart in August showed some settling down: Charlie & Lola was down 20% and Underground Ernie was down 58% (and looking very shaky at around 16,000); reversing this trend were Fireman Sam, with sales up 5.1%, and Disney Fairies, up 15.5%.

Other big fallers this year include Fun to LearnFavourites, down 16.8%; Teletubbies down 22.2% (although only down 10.8% year-on-year); Tweenies down 15% (26.9% year-on-year); Thomas Express Special, down 16.4%; and Learn with Bob the Builder, down 16.1%.

Other than Disney Fairies, only Spongebob Squarepants registered a significant sales increase, up 15.1%, an increase of some 6,000 copies per issue.

Gone from the charts: Daisy and Winnie the Pooh, both from Egmont.


Since the number of what we might define as comics has dropped so dramatically, they're nowadays grouped in with other schoolage magazines.

There have been a number of new launches and a couple of magazines from D. C. Thomson that have now signed up for ABC circulation figures which means the list has expanded since the last one I produced. The recently launched Robin Hood magazine hasn't been around long enough to register yet.

For the most part there hasn't been a huge amount of movement. The rise for Beano (11.8%) and fall for Dandy (14.5%) may be slightly skewed because I was guestimating that the Beano was responsible for two thirds of the combined sales. The drop in sales for Dandy could be explained by the relaunch in August 2007 as Dandy Xtreme which involved a large price rise but former readers seem to have started picking up its companion.

The most successful group has been Titan's Simpsons titles: The Simpsons Comics added 13,000 readers, returning it to its former levels for the same period in 2006. Simpsons Comics Presents has added 10,000 readers, a 6,500 increase over this time last year.

The years big winner was, in fact, Go Girl, which has added 17,700 readers in the past year, a 40% rise year-on-year.

Here's the chart...

(* In the Night Garden © BBC; Dandy Xtreme © D. C. Thomson.)

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