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RTE Guide circulation falls by 12,000

THE RTE Guide saw circulation fall by 12,000 copies in the last six months of last year, compared with the same period in 2002.

THE RTE Guide saw circulation fall by 12,000 copies in the last six months of last year, compared with the same period in 2002.

Figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) yesterday revealed that circulation for the magazine was down year-on-year by 9.5pc.

For the period July to December 2003 the magazine had a circulation of 118,263, compared with 130,327 in the same period of 2002.

However, the figures for the second half of 2003 were up 4pc on the first six months of the year when circulation hit a record low of 113,687.

Muirne Laffan, executive director of publishing at RTÉ, said yesterday the magazine had turned a corner, adding over 4,500 sales in the recent months. This is the first increase for the magazine in recent years.

The RTE Guide has been badly hit by the introduction of free newspaper magazines which contain TV listings.

Ms Laffan said: "We are pretty positive about these figures. We have repositioned the magazine in terms of its expanded editorial content so that it is now not just bought for its TV and radio listings."

She added that research carried out with consumers had been very good, with the magazine managing to overcome the challenge of keeping loyal customers on board, while attracting new readers.

While this is the first circulation increase for the magazine for a number of years, it is still some way off the Guide's heyday in the mid-90s when sales were over 170,000.

There was mixed news for other Irish magazines, with two publications at Smurfit Communications making strong gains.

U Magazine, which targets young women and sells at ?1, was the biggest winner, with circulation growing by over 8,000 in the second half of the year, compared with the first six months of 2003.

The revamped Irish Tatler made gains of almost 4,000 to 21,721.

However, Smurfit's Woman's Way did not do so well, with circulation slipping 1,100 to give it an audited figure of 30,638.

Michael Doherty's stable of magazines performed well. His latest teen venture Kiss saw circulation grow to 10,799, an increase of over 700 copies in the second half of 2003.

TV Now, which has been seen as a threat to the RTE Guide, grew its circulation by almost 1,000 in the second half of the year, to 35,381. VIP was almost unchanged at just over 32,000. Meanwhile, Ireland's Own saw circulation fall slightly, by 743, to 42,606.

Sky Magazine, which is sent to subscribers of its digital satellite service, grew to 291,357.