For magazines, it’s not all bad news
A handful of titles actually saw hefty increases in first quarter
April 25, 2014
It was not a good first quarter for the majority of magazines tracked by the Publishers Information Bureau, which averaged a 4 percent decrease in print ad pages.
But about a third of titles managed to post gains.
Eating Well saw the biggest growth of any title tracked by the PIB, up 126.7 percent from 2013 to 2014, albeit from a small base, going from 39.34 pages to 89.2.
Destination Weddings & Honeymoons had the second-biggest growth, up 90.2 percent. And Playboy, the 60-year-old men’s title, was the third-biggest-gainer, up 60.2 percent.
In all, 68 magazines saw pages increase by at least 1 percent during first quarter, out of 188 titles tracked by PIB.
In some cases, Star for instance, the gain was a bookkeeping matter; it published one more edition in first quarter of this year than it did last year.
But for most of the others, the increases reflected actual ad sales gains.
Eating Well has seen its ad pages rise rapidly since being purchased by Meredith in 2011, its rate base has more than doubling as well.
During 2013, its ad pages rose 61.1 percent.
The magazine has broadened its focus to attract bigger advertisers, after years of focusing on natural product companies.
“Now that Meredith has taken it over it’s more about navigating the big time,” says Eating Well publisher Deirdre Finnegan.
Food companies sparked much of the title’s first-quarter gains, led by Campbell’s Healthy Request, General Mills with Chex, Mexican Hass Avocado, McCormick, StarKist and Yogi Tea.
But Finnegan says the magazine is branching out into non-food advertisers as well.
“Merck launched a new product that ran with us, which is great,” she says. “And Humana health insurance will debut a campaign with us with a spread in [the July-August] issue.
“The focus is to diversify beyond food.”
Playboy, too, has seen a shift in its advertising that resulted in the big year-to-year bump. Over the past two years, Hugh Hefner’s title has been rebranding itself into a premium/luxury lifestyle platform for men, attracting brands such as Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Categories including grooming (137 percent increase) and fashion (380 percent increase) drove the first-quarter increases.
“In 2013, Playboy broke nearly 50 new advertisers, and the January/February 2014 issue is representative of the key image categories that have joined the pages of Playboy as a direct result of the publication’s overhaul of the U.S. magazine,” says Playboy publisher and senior vice president John Lumpkin.
Biggest Ad Page Gainers
|Titles||2014 $s||2013 $s||%
|’14 pages||’13 pages||%
|DESTINATION WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS||2,750,880||1,593,629||72.6||161.98||85.16||90.2|
|SOUND & VISION||1,244,569||1,428,863||-12.9||60.8||44.3||37.2|
|SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KIDS||1,502,748||1,105,912||35.9||19.92||14.79||34.7|
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