MAGAZINE ABCs: Top Gear extends car mags leadership as rivals drop

BBC Top Gear Magazine has increased its dominance among the automotive titles by virtue of holding sales steady while rivals fell, with Bauer's Car down 13.5%.

Top Gear: takes pole position in the auto sector
Top Gear: takes pole position in the auto sector

Top Gear, which BBC Worldwide is retaining control of as part of its agreement with private equity company Exponent, sold an average of 190,535 copies during the Jan to Jun 2011 period.

It was unchanged over a year, while the general motoring market was down 4.4% to 488,978 copies.

The BBC monthly's nearest competitor remains Haymarket's What Car?, which recorded a circulation of 82,029 copies, down 2.8% year on year.

All the other magazines in the sector fared worse, with Car and Auto Express, the Dennis title, driving dramatically into reverse.

Car's circulation dropped year on year by more than 8,000 copies, or 13.5%, to 54,006 copies.

This pushed it lower than Auto Express, which fell 9% year on year to hit 56,424 copies.

Ed Kenyon, managing director of Bauer's motoring division, said: "Car is synonymous with new metal and given the challenging retail sales of new cars it’s been a tough environment, however we remain the most premium, authoritative and influential motoring magazine in the UK."

Dennis' performance car focused title Evo was down 5% to 61,417 copies while Haymarket's Autocar continues to lag the pack with a 6.5% drop to 44,567 copies.

However, on the shorter term period-on-period measure Autocar was the best performer. It stayed flat, while Top Gear dipped 0.5% and the other titles lost between 6% and 7.5% of their circulation.

In the view of Amy King, head of press at MPG media contacts, "flat is the new up" in magazines and Top Gear has done "exceedingly well".

The title has had investment and has distinguished itself from its rivals by approaching shoots almost like fashion shoots, King said, helping to attract lifestyle advertisers such as fragrance and fashion brands.

"We have to fight for every copy sale," admitted Simon Carrington, the publisher of Top Gear.

"We're working closely with the retailers and ensuring we have the best positioning on the shelf that we possibly can."

He credited the performance to a range of other factors including an editorial overhaul at the end of 2010 "introducing more cars and more fun" and a strong year for new cars.

Covermounts, especially given not many other car magazines did them, were also an important part of the mix, according to Carrington.

"We tend to do four or five a year, with recent ones including a DVD of Universal Pictures 'Senna' movie, 'Top Gear' DVDs and fridge magnets."

When the BBC Magazines deal completes, which is expected to be in the autumn, Top Gear is set to be published by Exponent under a contract lasting for five years.

Top 8 motoring magazines
Title Publisher Jan - Jul Prd/prd Yr/yr
    2011 change change
BBC Top Gear magazine BBC Worldwide  190,535 -0.5% 0.1%
What Car Haymarket Consumer Media  82,029 -6.0% -2.8%
Evo Dennis Publishing  61,417 -6.5% -5.0%
Classic & Sports Car Haymarket Consumer Media  72,167 -1.3% -0.9%
Auto Express Dennis Publishing  56,424 -7.3% -9.0%
Car Bauer Consumer Media  54,006 -7.5% -13.5%
Practical Classics and Car Restorer Bauer Consumer Media  50,181 -5.6% -5.5%
Autocar Haymarket Consumer Media  44,567 0.0% -6.5%

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs

Latest

PHD co-founder Jonathan Durden reflects 25 years on

PHD co-founder Jonathan Durden reflects 25 years on

Who knew that a global phenomenon could be spawned from such humble beginnings? PHD co-founder Jonathan Durden takes a trip down memory lane.

Share
Friday's lesson? We should all be more unprofessional

Friday's lesson? We should all be more unprofessional

What kind of time is 18:05 to you? Home time? Carry on working time? Bloody big glass of wine time? At Brand Republic we know it's often time to recoup, when the day's meetings are over and you can catch up on the most important developments of the day. Our 18:05 digest brings you the five things you need to know at the end of every day. Whether it's the top news stories, what's trending on social, what the wider media is saying or irreverent inspiration for your journey home - we've got it covered. And don't worry, we'll keep it short.

Share
#MediaWeek30 set for bumper issue and party on 29 April

#MediaWeek30 set for bumper issue and party on 29 April

Media Week's 30th celebrations are taking shape, offering the chance for the UK's vibrant commercial media businesses to get involved.

Share

Get news by email