Top Gear Magazine Enjoys Sales Turbo Boost After Chris Evans Joins Show

The naming of Chris Evans as the new host of Top Gear proved sales gold for the BBC show’s official monthly magazine, whose August edition has seen a market-busting 5% sales rise.

The TV and radio presenter, who was unveiled as Jeremy Clarkson’s replacement to lead a new-look lineup for the show in June, is the cover splash and focus of an interview in the August edition of BBC Top Gear magazine.

Chris Evans on the August cover. Chris Evans on the August cover. Photograph: BBC

The edition is understood to have seen a year-on-year sales uplift of about 5%, one of the biggest sales jumps the magazine has seen in several years, according to media-buying sources.

To put the sales jump in context, the motoring magazine market reported a 6.4% decline in print sales, and a 5.6% decline in print and digital sales, in the first half according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The general motoring magazine sector was the 12th worst performing of the 36 categories ABC uses to classify UK magazines that submit figures for official auditing.

“In print, our recent Chris Evans cover showed that there is appetite amongst the readers to understand more about the future direction [of the show],” said Simon Carrington, publisher of BBC Top Gear.

Related: Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson finale takes pole position on BBC iPlayer

The furore over the Top Gear TV show was a boon for the magazine, which published Clarkson’s last column in the April edition, as well as a two-part feature on the history and development of the show by producer Andy Wilman that ran in the May and June editions.

However, these successes failed to stop the magazine reporting an 8.7% decline in sales in the first six months of this year, compared with the last half of 2014, and a year-on-year fall of 8.1% to 119,102.

There was better news for the magazine’s digital edition that saw numbers rise 3% period-on-period and 7.4% year-on-year to 14,562.

“Our digital edition continues to show growth and it now accounts for 11% or our total circulation, whilst our new look website has seen a positive response from users and advertisers,” said Carrington.

BBC Top Gear is the fourth most popular digital edition of a magazine in the UK, according to ABC.

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