BBC titles move could hit circulation

Homes & Antiques, Gardens Illustrated, Olive and other BBC Magazines could face up to a 15% drop in circulation under new owner Immediate Media, according to industry sources.

Radio Times: BBC title moves to Immediate Media
Radio Times: BBC title moves to Immediate Media

Private equity-owned Immediate Media now wholly owns six titles previously published by BBC Magazines: Radio Times, Olive, Gardens Illustrated, Homes & Antiques, Girl Talk and All About Animals.

The acquisition of the six titles is part of the overall sale of BBC Magazines to Exponent, the private equity company.

Apart from Radio Times, the other five titles previously carried the BBC logo on their magazine front covers.

Now, under their new ownership, they will no longer carry the BBC logo, leading some experts to believe it could hurt their circulation.

One industry source said: "Those titles which no longer carry the BBC logo could lose between 10% and 15% off their circulations. The logo is like a kitemark and holds value in the customer eyes. It is a sign of trust."

The latest average circulation for food magazine Olive was 82,772 in the six months to June this year. Gardens Illustrated had 34,294 and Homes & Antiques 58,701.

Some experts argue there will not be an immediate drop off in sales to the titles but said Immediate Media could find it harder without BBC branding to establish new titles in the market place.

Mike Soutar, chief executive of ShortList Media, publisher of ShortList magazine, said BBC branding "is not on top of consumer's decision making process" and believes that the titles' circulation will not take a short-term hit.

He believes the loss of BBC branding could impact on the success of new titles launched by Immediate Media.

A spokesperson for BBC Magazines, said: "The change of ownership will not make any difference. Exactly the same team of journalists will be producing the six former BBC titles now wholly-owned by Immediate Media, so we can reassure advertisers and readers there will be absolutely no impact on the quality of those magazines.

"It would be foolhardy to do anything other than maintain the high standards we pride ourselves on."

Follow John Reynolds on Twitter  @johnreynolds10

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