Magazine ABCs: Classic Rock muscles out NME

Music weekly NME has been overtaken by Classic Rock for the first time after the IPC title lost 12% of its circulation in a year. By John Plunkett

Music weekly NME has been overtaken by Classic Rock for the first time after the IPC title lost 12% of its circulation in a year.

Empire and Uncut were among the titles to put on sales among the leading music, film and entertainment magazines, but there were losses elsewhere for Mojo and Kerrang!.

NME had an average weekly sale of 64,033 in the second half of last year, down 6% on the previous six months, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published today.

Future's Classic Rock, which is published monthly, posted its seventh consecutive ABC increase, up 0.2% on the previous six months and 7.5% year on year to 67,399.

The Future editorial director, Jim Douglas, said: "Classic Rock knows its audience and stepped out of the denim timewarp years ago.

"The magazine has a vibrant and contemporary feel, and continuously finds new ways to tell the stories of rock's legendary albums, misadventures and of on the road exuberance.

"We also continue to build the brand beyond a monthly title, allowing us to get closer to the readers."

IPC Ignite publishing director Paul Cheal said NME would be revamped later this year.

"NME magazine sits at the heart of the brand and we are constantly sense checking what readers want and looking to evolve the magazine's content and design," Cheal said.

"With this in mind our editorial team are currently engaged in exciting development work which will come to market later this year."

Classic Rock also narrowed the gap further on its rock rival Kerrang!, which overtook NME two years ago.

Kerrang!, the former Emap title published by Bauer Consumer Media, was down 8% on the previous six months and 9.9% year-on-year, to 76,937.

Bauer's Mojo also lost sales, down 5.2% on the first half of 2007 and 7% year on year to 106,218.

But there was better news for Bauer's film magazine Empire, which had a monthly sale of 181,511 in the second half of last year, up 1.2% on the previous six-month period and up 3.2% year on year.

Empire's sister music magazine Q, the biggest selling music monthly, also added sales compared to the previous ABC period, up 0.9% to 131,330. But Q was down 6.4% on the second half of 2006.

Stuart Williams, the deputy managing director of Bauer Consumer Media's music and film portfolio, said: "Empire, Q, Mojo and Kerrang! continue to develop in print, online, on TV, on radio and for podcast to considerable commercial and critical success, because they all provide their audiences with the opportunity to experience their favourite entertainment brands when and where they want in the format they prefer."

IPC's Uncut, which was relaunched two years ago, also added sales on the previous six months, up 6% to 91,028, although like Q it fell back year on year, down 2.8%.

Development Hell's The Word sold an average of 33,217, down 4.6% on the period and 1.1% year on year.

Sister title Mixmag sold 35,817, down 3.6% on the previous six months and 8.2% down year on year.

Empire's movie rival Total Film, published by Future, also added sales on the previous six months, albeit marginally, by 0.1% to 85,696, although it was down slightly on the year by 0.4%.

Distribution of independent music magazine The Fly grew 8.9% on the previous six months but was 5.2% down on the year, to 103,051.

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John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

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