With a potential 10% rise in sales over the summer holiday, but a wealth of titles to choose from, which children’s magazines should you focus on? Marcello Perricone provides a guide to six unmissable brands
"Revenue in the general magazines market is down, but children’s titles are level,” Redan Publishing’s managing director Julie Jones tells RN.
She is discussing a market sector kept buoyant by a wealth of old and new brands, in which, according to wholesaler data, more than 150 titles were responsible for nearly £145m revenue between March 2017 and February 2018.
Children’s magazines are the third most profitable segment of the market, behind women’s interests and TV listings titles. But with so many magazines and the ever-changing interests of pre-school and primary-age readers to contend with, choosing the right range can be a challenge for retailers. Here, RN speaks to the major children’s publishers about the big brands tipped to drive sales this summer.
This cartoon pig has had magazines published in her name for nearly a decade, and they have featured in the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s total market top 10 for half that time. According to wholesale data, market leader Fun to Learn Peppa Pig Bag-o-Fun and sister title Fun to Learn Peppa Pig together sell 2.5 million copies per year, generating an annual revenue of £9.5m.
“Children’s magazine sales over the summer usually see an average 7%-10% increase, but our Peppa Pig titles are profitable throughout the year,” says Redan Publishing’s managing director, Julie Jones.
Like most BBC brands, the popularity of pre-school channel CBeebies extends way beyond television. Three related magazines – CBeebies Special, CBeebies Art and the fortnightly CBeebies Magazine – generated nearly £9.5m in sales a year and have a sizeable following.
“CBeebies is our biggest brand in pre-school, with a portfolio of magazines selling more than 2.5 million copies a year in the UK,” says Fiona Campbell, publisher of Immediate Media’s youth and children section. “Wholesale data from June 2017 to May this year shows those three titles have 20.5% share of pre-school newsstand sales.”
Pre-school and primary girls’ magazines often rank among the top performers, with titles such as Redan’s Sparkle World selling nearly 668,000 copies a year.
Since 2016, a series of robotic animal toys, Hatchimals, have been in high demand, and this enduring popularity is behind Immediate Media’s decision to launch a magazine based on the brand this month.
“The toys are extremely popular with primary-age girls, and we are really excited to be launching the Hatchimals magazine with exclusive collectables that can only be found on it,” says Immediate’s Fiona Campbell.
Launch: 25 July
Stock new titles from the first issue to make the most of sales in this dynamic category
Expert Tip: Fiona Campbell, Immediate Media
Children have always been fascinated by dinosaurs, allowing publishers to constantly capitalise on their prehistoric appeal.
“Dinosaurs are very popular following the launch of Jurassic World,” says Ashleigh Dennis, circulation and trade marketing manager for DC Thomson. “We jumped on this by releasing This Is Dino World on 27 June.”
The genre is wide enough for competing magazines to thrive, with Immediate Media’s Andy’s Amazing Adventures generating £1.8m retail sales value via 523,515 copies sold between March 2017 and February this year. “Dinosaurs continue to be a favourite,” says Fiona Campbell, from Immediate. “Andy’s Amazing Adventures increased sales by 6% year on year.”
Video games are huge sellers, generating more revenue than both music and films, according to a report by American stock exchange Nasdaq. That trend has translated to print, with children’s magazine 110% Gaming capitalising on online sensation Fortnite.
“110% Gaming became a top-selling magazine with the latest gaming craze around Fortnite, with average issue sales of 24,000 copies,” says Ashleigh Dennis, from DC Thomson. “Year-on-year sales are significantly up, and it has generated £1.26m in the last year alone.”
The 85-year-old Lego brand has had a huge impact on the magazines market in the past five years. Currently, all five Lego titles rank in the children’s magazines’ top 10, and together they generate £14.5m a year via 3.3 million copies sold.
Top sellers Lego Ninjago and Lego Star Wars enjoy enduring success thanks to their parent brands: Ninjago launched in 2015 and recently underwent a revival thanks to the 2018 movie starring Jackie Chan, while Star Wars has been an enduring property for the better part of 40 years.
“Lego continues to be the most popular brand for boys, especially in the summer, where we see our biggest sales peak and have our biggest and best-value gifts.” says Immediate Media’s Fiona Campbell.
Children’s magazine sales over the summer usually see an average 7%-10% increase