Mag ABCs: Lads' mags dive as Men's Health extends lead

Young men turning away from 'lads' magazines as healthy publications ride high

Young men are turning away from lads' mags in droves as Zoo, Nuts, Loaded and FHM all suffered big circulation drops helping Men's Health strengthen its lead in the paid-for men's magazine sector.

Average circulation of Bauer's weekly Zoo magazine fell by 27.9 per cent year on year over the first six months of 2010, figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations reveals.

Five years ago Zoo sold more than 260,000 copies a week but the magazine has now slumped to an average sale of 80,026 copies each week, dropping below the average sale of technology magazine Stuff.

Zoo's closest rivals are suffering a similar fate. In the first half of 2010, IPC Media's Nuts magazine recorded a fall in average circulation of 22 per cent year on year to a weekly sale of 147,134.

Men's monthlies also felt the effects of the downturn: IPC Media's Loaded, considered the original 1990s lads' mag, suffered a year-on-year sales drop of 26.3 per cent, leaving it with an average circulation of 53,591 per month in the first half of the year.

Bauer's FHM recorded a fall in average circulation of 18.1 per cent year on year to an average monthly sale of 192,586 in the first six months of the year.

The men's lifestyle sector recorded an overall fall in circulation of 3.8 per cent to average sales of 2.12m copies each month.

Despite the gloomy state of the sector there were a number of notable successes. NatMags' Esquire increased its average sale per issue by 10.5 per cent year on year to 58,151.

Conde Nast's Wired magazine, launched in April 2009, reached the circulation target of 50,000 it set itself at launch by just nine copies.

As with women's lifestyle titles, the men's lifestyle sector is boosted by the health of free weekly magazines.

The independently-owned Shortlist increased its distribution by 1.5 per cent year on year to a weekly average of 518,222 in the period, while UTV-owned Sport magazine was stable with an average of 305,479 copies given away each week.

Men's market magazine sales for second half of 2009 (with percentage change year on year)

Oliver Luft and Dominic Ponsford write for the Press Gazette