Emap vows to grow First in celeb weeklies market

Emap has insisted it is on course with First magazine, which published its debut ABC figure last week.

First, Emap's "broader" celebrity weekly, hit its revised circulation target of 100,000 after launching in May 2006. Emap said that over time it will reach bigger numbers. Launch editor Julian Linley has since been reassigned on the development of Heat online, while Closer editor Jane Johnson has been charged with taking First further.

Sophie Wybrew Bond, publishing director of Closer and First, said: "First is in the process of carving out a new niche on the newsstand. In the celebrity weekly market women will buy a repertoire of titles, but they'll have a favourite."

Emap dominated the celebrity weeklies market again, as Heat and Closer posted their highest ever figures.

Northern & Shell's OK! took the top spot in terms of total sales, helped by celebrity wedding exclusives, but only 546,812 of its 624,091 were domestic sales. Closer was the biggest UK weekly celeb title with Heat a close second.

Closer's sales were up 6.2 per cent year on year to 614,141 and Heat saw an increase of 4.1 per cent to 598,623.

Heat is set to launch its online offering later this year, as is ACP-Natmags' rival celebrity title, Reveal.

Colin Morrison, ACPNatmags CEO, said: "Magazine publishers have either been slow or fast at getting online — certainly we have been one of the slow ones but we are only two years old and have been spending time putting the magazine business together."

Reveal remained stagnant year on year, with sales of 345,508, and IPC's Now fell 6.5 per cent to 540,000.

N&S's Star boasted the title of the "fastest growing" celebrity weekly, increasing 26.3 per cent to 269,723.

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