Business Boom

Even as the economy tanks and many magazines take a dive, business titles clearly are not hurting for readers.

The category grew audience by a healthy 8.4 percent in the last year, according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence analysis of its fall audience report. Forbes, Time Inc.’s Money and Dow Jones & Co.-Hearst Magazines’ SmartMoney all posted gains in readership.

The numbers offer much-needed good news for publishers. Total print audience grew 3.2 percent year over year, with 131 of 216 MRI-measured consumer titles up. Categories besides business gaining audience were shelter (up 4.2 percent) and fashion (up 3.5 percent).

Those that declined include food (down 1.7 percent), travel (down 1.6 percent) and women’s magazines (down 0.9 percent). Several large women’s books shed readers, among them: Meredith’s Family Circle, Hearst’s Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine, and Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Woman’s Day.

By another closely watched measure—reader household income—the women’s lifestyle category is booming. HHI among female readers for all titles, save for Time Inc.’s Real Simple, grew year over year. (Real Simple’s strong, 17 percent growth in total audience, to 8.5 million, likely dragged down its HHI.) Meredith’s More achieved the greatest HHI growth—up 23.8 percent, to $103,372, among female readers—while its audience grew 19 percent to 1.6 million.

Likely factors for More’s unusually large increases include a targeted use of verified copies and greater emphasis on fashion/beauty under editor Lesley Jane Seymour.

In terms of HHI, fashion/beauty titles were a mixed bag. Female readers of Condé Nast’s
Glamour, HFM’s Elle and Time Inc.’s InStyle got richer over the past year, while income for readers of Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar, as well as CN’s Lucky and Vogue, declined.