After the ABCs where next for British men’s and tech mags?

The latest lot of ABCs – or circulation figures – for men’s magazines landed today and overall they make pretty grim reading . The fall percentage-wise year on year (for the last six months of the year) is around 20% for most of the lifestyle titles and between 10-15% for the tech titles. The mag that bucks the trend is Wired, whose sales have actually risen ever so slightly.

On the surface this looks like very bad news, but to be fair 1, The decline of print has been coming sometime and some of the titles have actually been surprisingly resilient. 2, the figures do not include digital sales. Dennis and Future have notched up some impressive figures for iPad mag sales – for example Future typically sold 15,000 copies of its iPad and Zinio versions of T3 in the same period…

If there is a beacon of hope it is the success of Four Four Two magazine which has actually risen slightly. This is mag that has succeeded by offering intelligent long-tail content of the type not really available online. There’s clearly a template there, whether it works in different sectors remains to be seen.

The next six monthly ABCs will be fascinating. The first six months of the year are usually more challenging for men’s magazines, especially for the tech titles. The very difficult economic climate certainly won’t help either. It’ll also be interesting to see if the digital editions continue to grow and whether they attract new readers or migrate print ones.

As for Loaded, FHM, Nuts et al, they are still massively strong brands and their production costs have fallen dramatically, so don’t write them off just yet.

Why I really hate Agoraphobia

There are lots of different flavours of mental illness, but the one that I hate with the biggest passion is Agoraphobia – which is basically a fear of leaving the house.

My Grandmother suffered from it and only left our house twice in 30 years. Once to move and the second time to vote in a general election. Sadly she ended up confusing the voting booth with the men’s toilets which amused us kids, but did nothing for her condition.

The only view she ever saw was a patch of grass on an estate in an odd town in Cambridgeshire. And while she loved her TV it quite often fuelled her confusion as she had imagined that violent scenes from the middle east/US or wherever were actually being replayed just a few streets away. I swear if there had ever been a fire in the house we would have carried her out completely against her will.

Sadly Agoraphobia, as Ruby explains in this video, is a very hard condition to treat. As the girl in the video says, your mind knows that it is ok to go out, it is just that the rest of your body is begging you to stay in. My Grandmother wasn’t a weak person. She had lived in London though the Blitz and quite possibly some of that baggage stayed with her and affected her mental state. I think it is really positive that at last people seem to be taking mental illnesses like agoraphobia, a lot more seriously.