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August 22, 2017updated 24 Aug 2017 3:04pm

Newspaper for young people tops UK children’s magazine circulation for first time beating likes of Lego and Disney

By Freddy Mayhew

First News, the weekly newspaper for seven to 14-year-olds, has recorded the highest circulation among children’s magazines in the UK for the first time since its launch 11 years ago.

It came top out of 37 titles with an average weekly combined (print and digital) circulation of 86,413, up 4 per cent year-on-year, according to ABC figures for the first six months of the year.

The newspaper, founded in 2006, beat the likes of branded magazines about Lego, Peppa Pig and Disney’s Frozen to come top.

Audited figures show First News’ percentage of actively purchased copies – including sales and subscriptions – was at 49.5 per cent compared to 100 per cent for most other children’s magazine titles.

But a spokesperson for the newspaper said that all of its sales are actively purchased, about half of which come from multiple subscriptions from schools.

Sarah Jane Thomson, founder and chief executive of First News, said: “Eleven years ago we identified a gap in the market and have been producing a quality title ever since.

“Our plan was to bring news to children – and we have stuck to that plan, which has been our key to success. Teachers, parents and of course children themselves appreciate our non-sensational approach to national and international news.

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“However, we are aware of the potential challenges of a declining newspaper market and the opportunities available to us as a result of having built a strong brand following.

“We will continue to develop our offering, bringing new products to our increasing and loyal customer base – whilst staying true to our roots and remaining focused on our core philosophy of enhancing the lives of children.”

First News claims more than half of all UK schools are subscribed to the newspaper, with some teachers using it as a reading resource in classrooms, and that it has more than 2m readers.

For its tenth anniversary last year, First News carried a tribute from the Duchess of Cambridge and a photo of Prime Minister David Cameron clutching a copy on the front.

During the general election campaign this year, it hosted its own “junior general election” claiming more than 2,000 readers voted.

Total average circulations for UK children’s magazines over from 1 Jan to 30 June (source: ABC):

Publication Total circulation (Jan-Jun 2017) % change year-on-year % Actively purchased
First News 86,413 3.8 49.5
LEGO Ninjago 84,063 7.9 100
Peppa Pig Bag-o-Fun 77,037 5.6 100
Disney Frozen 68,059 -19 100
Fun to Learn – Peppa Pig 64,108 -10.9 100
Lego Nexo Knights 63,171 23.9 100
Disney Star Wars Lego 59,009 -26.2 100
Lego Special Series 57,707 100
CBeebies Magazine 53,569 -8.2 100

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