IRELAND'S biggest selling magazine the RTÉ Guide is to face new competition as British media giant IPC launches a rival title in the Irish market.
The Irish Independent has learned that 'What's on TV' will launch an Irish edition next month.
The British version sells about 1,000 copies in this market and is priced at 73c. However, IPC will be expecting to sell tens of thousands of copies when it invests in an Irish version.
Details of the magazine launch have been kept extremely quiet. TV ads for the new publication, however, will launch this week on RTÉ and TV3. The first edition is due to go on sale early next month.
The RTÉ Guide underwent a revamp last year and has sales of over 100,000 copies every week. It saw circulation numbers fall earlier this decade, but sales have stabilised in recent years.
It continues to be profitable and attracts strong advertising revenue. The RTÉ Guide has recently focused on lifestyle content, such as fashion, health and cooking and competitions as listings magazines from newspapers intensified.
The new magazine will also challenge TV Now, owned by VIP-publisher Michael Doherty, which has sales of under 40,000.
While the launch of an Irish edition might seem like an immediate threat to RTÉ Guide and TV Now, the move is an important development in Irish media. It is the first time a British magazine has specifically targeted Irish readers - and potentially Irish ad revenue.
Media analysts speculated last night that What's on TV would not be a huge threat to the RTÉ Guide, but could impact on other magazine sales. Its low cover price and focus on soaps may not appeal to Guide readers.
According to IPC What's on TV is Britain's best-selling magazine, and it sells 1.5m copies a week.
IPC Media is the UK's leading consumer magazine publisher, with a large portfolio of brands, selling over 350 million copies each year.