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February 11, 2021updated 20 Feb 2023 10:51am

News and current affairs magazine ABCs: The Week Junior thrives under lockdown

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Christmas issue of Private Eye, the UK’s top-selling news and current affairs magazine, was its highest-ever with 287,523 sales.

The magazine fell by 2% year-on-year in July to December but, with an average circulation of 236,705, remained almost 100,000 sales ahead of The Economist on print sales in the UK.

Editor Ian Hislop said: “We are delighted to announce more record figures as the successful national roll-out of Private Eye continues – we are now on target to get a single dose of the magazine to every 16-94 year old in the country, with a top up every two weeks until May 2028 (is this right Ed?)”

The Week Junior, the current affairs magazine for children, had the largest year-on-year growth of 37% to 98,246 in print.

Its paid subscriptions now stand at 90,273, an increase of 35% compared to July to December the year before.

Editor in chief Anna Bassi said: “It’s clear that our engaging, inspiring and trusted content is exactly what curious young readers are hungry for.”

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The Week was hit harder by the drop in newsstand sales, with circulation falling by 7% to 126,055. UK print subscriptions fell by 5% year-on-year to 118,787.

The Spectator saw the biggest growth of adult-focused magazines, increasing its circulation by 11% in the UK and Ireland to 79,723 across the whole of 2020.

Globally, the magazine’s sales have topped 100,000 and editor Fraser Nelson said the success of the year meant its decision to hand back Government furlough money had paid off.

Nelson said: “When we packed up for lockdown last year, we feared the worst and furloughed staff. But we found the demand for our journalism had only increased. We were badly hit (newsagent sales and events especially) but saw we had a way out…

“The Spectator’s success is unusual in a magazine market that has fallen 50% over the last decade. That success is down to you, our subscribers.”

The biggest decline was at Time Magazine which fell 40% year-on-year to an average of 31,934 across 2020. Prospect fell by 30% to 27,375.

The Economist publishes the most detailed breakdown of its audience on ABC – scroll down for an in-depth look.  In the UK its combined print and separately-audited digital edition circulation was 271,719 according to ABC.

The New Statesman said yesterday that its paid-for sale for January was 34,451, which it said was a 40-year high.

News and current affairs ranked by UK/Ireland circulations:
Publication Global sales total UK and ROI ABC total UK year-on-year % change Free copies Months in audit period
Private Eye 236,705 224,937 -1% 6
The Economist 1,583,955 126,535 -20% 6
The Week 131,770 126,055 -7% 3,676 6
The Week Junior 98,246 94,687 37% 6,814 6
The Spectator 91,165 79,723 11% 2,579 12
New Scientist 84,215 51,559 -21% 246 12
The Oldie 47,382 44,208 0% 1 6
London Review of Books 88,421 41,873 11% 4,154 12
Time Magazine (British Isles) 31,934 31,934 -40% 6,367 12
MoneyWeek 33,993 31,573 -11% 1,401 6
New Statesman 36,591 30,333 -7% 5,055 12
Prospect 32,258 27,375 -30% 1,556 12
The Critic 19,654 19,422 10,704 2
The Economist global audience (July to December 2020):
Economist format Audience
Website monthly unique browsers 11.9m
Twitter followers (group) 25,670,898
Linkedin followers 11,908,755
Facebook likes (group) 10,628,298
Instagram followers 5,335,040
Newsletters total 2,860,695
Weibo followers 2,211,884
Youtube followers 1,750,946
Wechat followers 896,554
Digital edition 874,802
Print magazine 709,153
Website daily unique browsers 502,698
App (new) weekly unique browsers 318,500
App (legacy) weekly unique browsers 188,400
Digital edition (UK only) 150,421
Print magazine (UK only) 126,535
App (new) daily unique browsers 101,436
App (legacy) daily unique browsers 53,154

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