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February 22, 2023

Magazine ABCs 2022: Private Eye leads UK news mags with best sales since 2017

Private Eye grew by 5% and remains the UK's biggest news and current affairs magazine.

By Bron Maher

Private Eye was the biggest-selling and biggest-growing print news and current affairs magazine in the UK and Ireland in 2022 according to new ABC figures.

The satirical magazine, which is available only in print, grew its circulation 5% year-on-year to an average of 238,322 (its highest total since 2017).

Last year Private Eye was the fourth-fastest growing print news magazine in the ABCs, coming in behind The Oldie, London Review of Books and The Spectator.

This year, though, it was one of only two publishers to record print growth, the other being the Alan Rusbridger-helmed Prospect magazine which was up by 2% to 18,510. Former Guardian editor Rusbridger’s first issue as editor was published in December 2021.

The Spectator saw a 16% increase in its digital UK/ROI circulation, and was the only title on this list to have increased it. Previously the biggest-growing print title on this list, this year it shed 9% of its UK/ROI print subscribers. The title is now the fifth-highest circulation publication on the list in the UK/ROI, with an average weekly readership of 60,298.

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The highest print circulation overall remained The Economist, which boasts global circulation of 561,605. In the UK and ROI, that figure stood at 95,452, a 15% year-on-year decline.

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Nonetheless, the magazine boasts by far the highest digital circulation of any publication on this list, having risen 2% to above one million for the first time. The publisher said in June last year it had hit 1.2 million subscribers.

The title with the next highest digital circulation, Time magazine, recorded a figure of 40,431.

The Week magazine scored the second highest UK/ROI print circulation, with 115,624 (a 5% year-on-year decline). Its sister title The Week Junior came fourth on the same list, declining 9% year-on-year to 80,197. The fastest decline on the list, meanwhile, was at The Week Junior Science and Nature, which dropped 16% to an average weekly circulation of 23,437.

Press Gazette’s sister title The New Statesman withdrew from ABC last year but did release unaudited figures on Tuesday saying its paid circulation has grown by more than 27% in the past year to 43,230, with a total average circulation (including free distribution) of 47,320 per issue. That circulation, which the publication said was its highest in 40 years, would put it between the New Scientist and The Oldie on the list below.

New Statesman marketing director Sam Fairburn said the title had “created consistent subscription growth” by developing its digital products alongside building up “enterprise subscriptions and the growth of our podcasts and app audiences”.

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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.
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