View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Data
  2. Audience Data
February 21, 2024updated 22 Feb 2024 9:43am

Magazine ABCs 2023: Private Eye sales dip as current affairs mags flag

By Dominic Ponsford

Most UK news and current affairs magazine titles, including Private Eye, saw steep year-on-year circulation declines in 2023 according to the latest figures from auditor ABC.

Private Eye remains the best-selling news magazine in the UK with an average of 231,315 sales per fortnight, but this figure was down 6% year on year.

The Economist’s cut-price Espresso daily digital edition was the fastest growing title, up 73.6% year on year to 21,775 (however only 3,859 of this total was in the UK).

BBC History magazine was the next fastest-growing title, up 37% year on year to 76,001 sales per edition, helped by an average of 6,104 sales via bundled all-you-can-read magazine services such as Readly.

The Economist‘s print edition fell 12.3% to 485,787 and its digital edition was down 2.3% to 966,947.

Most of The Economist’s sales are outside the UK. It has 541,676 digital edition sales in North America and 149,394 in the UK. The print edition sells 283,282 copies in North America and 79,136 in the UK.

Most titles saw circulation declines in the double-digits, representing a reversal of fortunes for a sector which has previously been robust. Last year for example Private Eye grew its sales year on year.

Content from our partners
<a></a>Key ways to futureproof your media career as journalism job cuts bite deep
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them
Mather Economics and InsurAds combine to help publishers boost revenue

The Spectator put in a robust performance in 2023, with sales flat year on year at 96,570.

Magazine cover prices have been driven up by rising newsprint costs and sales have been impacted by the economic downturn and cost of living crisis.

Earlier this month Emap sold two titles citing “an increasingly challenging consumer newstrade market”.

The table below shows actively-purchased sales of UK news and current affairs magazines. In most cases digital editions are separately audited by ABC, but where no digital edition is broken out these sales feature in the combined total (eg. The Oldie and BBC History). Sales quoted are global. We have included a separate column for bundled “all you can read” sales via services such as Readly.

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network