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February 17, 2022updated 20 Feb 2023 10:50am

News and current affairs mag ABCs: Growing Private Eye keeps top spot

By Andrew Kersley

Private Eye secured its position as the UK’s top selling news and current affairs magazine with a 1% year on year rise to an average of 227,039 sales per issue in the latest ABC figures.

The Spectator, London Review of Books and The Oldie also saw growth in their UK and Ireland circulations, compared to last year’s figures.

The Economist was the third highest circulation print current affairs magazine in the UK and Ireland, as well as far and above the UK-based current affairs title with the highest worldwide average print circulation (at 648,543).

The circulation data also included information on the number of print editions that were given away for free and the number that were actively purchased.

While almost all current affairs magazines included reported more than 90% of their print editions being actively purchased, for The Critic just 42% of its 18,062 domestic print circulation was accounted for by paying readers.

The last year saw a slew of changes to the leadership of the London Review of Books, with commercial director Reneé Doegar promoted to publisher and Jean McNicol and Alice Spawls becoming new co-editors of the magazine, succeeding Mary-Kay Wilmer. During Doegar’s total 11 years at the magazine circulation has risen by 55%.

Commenting on the latest ABC figures, Doegar said: “It’s fantastic to see our subscriptions on the rise for another consecutive year of sustained growth, particularly during the challenges we have faced during the pandemic.”

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She went on: “The LRB started with just four people and now has a staff of over 60 amazingly talented individuals working not just for the paper, but supporting it through the business, the bookshop, the cake shop, published books, bespoke product lines, and our renowned author event series.”

The New Statesman announced this week that it was withdrawing from ABC – in common with numerous other titles which choose not to be audited by the body.

It announced independently that its print circulation had reached a 40-year high of 41,000, of which 37,000 were paid copies. Its last ABC-audited total was 36,591.

New Statesman Media Group marketing director Sam Fairburn explained the move, saying: “Each day we work with our clients and their evolving needs to create solutions that cover a multitude of channels, platforms and audiences, from podcasts and newsletters to print, and the time and resource put into the ABC hasn’t served the purposes of the business as it is today.”

Image: Private Eye

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