BBC Magazines pulls plug on trio of failing children's titles

LONDON - BBC Magazines is to axe three of its children's titles, including the 10-year-old flagship Tweenies, due to falling circulations.

BBC Magaine's Balamory
BBC Magaine's Balamory

The publisher is closing Balamory magazine, together with Amy, the lifestyle title aimed at girls aged five to eight. BBC Magazines, which has about 80 editorial staff across its entire children's portfolio, says staff working on these titles will be redeployed within the group.

Tweenies, which, like Balamory, is still televised, had a circulation of 200,000 in 2002, but has suffered a massive fall in circulation. Its latest audited figure, between January and June 2008, reveals its circulation had fallen to just more than 30,000.

Balamory, which launched in April 2004 and is still running as a tele-vision programme, was selling more than 95,000 copies between July and December 2004, but its circulation has shrunk significantly in recent years.

According to its latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, sales of the monthly title, priced at £1.99 and featuring a mix of drawings, puzzles and games, were just 24,049 between July and December 2008. The final edition, the March issue, is currently on sale.

Amy, also closing this month, had a circulation of just more than 24,000 in the last ABC period.
In 2007, the £1.99 weekly had a circulation of more than 40,000.

A spokesman for BBC Magazines said: "We regularly review and refresh our portfolio to reflect popular brands and programming on CBBC/CBeebies. In 2008, we launched CBeebies Animals, CBeebies Art and Match of the Day weekly and we have already announced that we will be launching a new title, Waybuloo magazine, in summer 2009."  Waybuloo is aimed at three-to-five -year olds.

The publisher's other children's titles include Teletubbies and In the Night Garden.

In December, BBC Magazines announced it was restructuring its 100-strong centralised sales team, handing more commercial duties to its individual titles and making 10 redundancies.

The company's second major commercial restructure in two years resulted in most sales being divided up among individual magazines.

Previously, the centralised team was structured into classified, inserts and brand solutions teams, which sold across the portfolio of titles.

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