TOTP mag lives on after BBC show axed

The demise of its TV programme namesake will not affect the future of Top of the Pops magazine, the BBC has said.

The title, which is the top publication in the teen sector, but is suffering in a shrinking market, will continue despite BBC Magazines only being allowed under BBC rules to publish titles directly linked to TV programmes.

The corporation said that the brand would go on in the form of Top of the Pops 2 on BBC2 and one-off specials of the show.

A spokesman said: “By itself, the loss of the programme does not affect the future of the magazine. The brand will live on in a number of guises, and the BBC is more committed than ever to creating outstanding output which reaches young teenagers.”

He added: “The editorial advisory board for our teen titles will keep under review TOTP magazine’s success in connecting to BBC output, and in helping the BBC to reach this important audience.” Top of the Pops, which employs six editorial staff, is the market-leading teen entertainment title, but was down 51.9 per cent to 96,576 in the last ABCs.

BBC Magazines has seen its portfolio shrink since the BBC’s commercial review in 2004, which stated that it could only publish titles directly linked to TV programmes. This led to the sale of Origin Publishing, although the BBC retained the BBC-branded titles previously produced by Origin in a new subsidiary, Bristol Magazines Ltd, chaired by Peter Phippen.

Bristol Magazines launched BBC Mind Games this month and there is speculation that a music title, codenamed Project Alternative, is under development as part of a commitment to make the BBC “the home of new music”.

The title, aimed at 14- to 34-year-olds interested in new music, is mooted to feature guest columnists tied to the BBC’s existing new music output across TV, radio and online.

Other new titles at Bristol Magazines are thought to include BBC Country File and BBC Holiday. BBC Worldwide refused to speculate on the Bristol-based titles.

Earlier this month the publisher admitted it was working on Project Phoenix, thought to be a weekly news magazine, closely linked to its news programmes Newsnight and Panorama and expected to be its magazines arm’s largest-ever investment.

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