Immediate Media celebrates subs landmark

Radio Times: subscribers up 9% at more than 2.64m
Radio Times: subscribers up 9% at more than 2.64m

Immediate Media’s subscriber base has passed the 1m landmark after readers turned to its trusted and special interest magazine brands during the pandemic.

In the latest set of ABC circulation figures the group posted 9% growth across its portfolio, with subscriptions up by 14% to just under 1.02m year on year.

Print subscription volumes grew by 17% in 2020.

“These continue to grow with the file approaching 1.2m as of January 2021,” the publisher stated.

Immediate Media’s two main print suppliers are Walstead Group and William Gibbons.

Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau said the figures demonstrated the “enduring appeal” of the group’s brands, “both in print and digital”.

“Our special interest brands, in these extraordinary times, have become more important than ever to our audiences, helping them get the most out of their passions and hobbies, whether that be cooking, gardening, cycling or watching the latest streaming sensation.

“In the last year we have grown our paid and premium reach across all platforms, a testament to our commitment to consistently deliver world class content and create a platform for further growth,” he stated.

The overall ABC-audited print circulation jumped by 36% compared with the prior period to 2,277,373. Interests such as gardening and food, as well as Immediate’s Youth & Children’s portfolio, all performed strongly.

The venerable Radio Times recorded its best figures since 2014, with a combined weekly ABC up 6.2% period-on-period at 497,852. Radio Times also cemented its position as the UK’s biggest weekly subscription brand with subscribers up 9% at more than 2.64m.

BBC Gardeners’ World magazine also achieved its highest-ever number of subscribers, up 52% year-on-year at 179,878. The title’s combined ABC figure was up 33% at 226,806.

Its Youth & Children’s portfolio, which includes a range of Cbeebies and Lego magazines, was up 20% year-on-year overall.

Immediate Media has also announced a new organisational structure that will see Bureau become executive chairman.

The revamp involves the creation of three separate business units with two based in London and one in Bristol.

The first London business unit contains “high growth digitally enabled multi-platform brands” and includes, BBC Gardeners’ World, and the Food, Parenting and History portfolios. Its CEO will be Sean Cornwell who is a new hire for the group.

Immediate’s “established, scaled-audience print brands” together with live events, form the second London business unit. This includes Radio Times magazine and the Youth & Children’s portfolio. This will be helmed on an interim basis by Dan Constanda, currently Immediate’s CFO/COO.

The third business unit involves the Bristol portfolio of Specialist titles, along with branded content/customer publishing. Current group managing director Andy Marshall becomes CEO of the unit.

Bureau commented: “Immediate has navigated the Covid pandemic successfully, with our special interest brands reaching more people than ever through rapid digital growth and a hugely resilient print portfolio.  We believe the new Group structure, with new business units charged with developing strategies and expertise for their individual markets, will enable us to build on this growth and capitalise on our huge potential.”

Immediate Media typically sells more than 74m magazines a year.