Best Magazine to be Seen Reading on the Subway
At a time when other magazines run controversial covers to keep the attention of consumers and the press, The Atlantic publishes buzzy yet trenchant pieces like Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Can’t Have It All” (on today’s working woman) and Hanna Rosin’s “Boys on the Side” (on the hookup culture). Content like that has boosted site traffic 67 percent this year. All the while, The Atlantic’s fans still like their print. As circulation flatlines across magazinedom, this brand racked up 4.3 percent growth in the first half of this year.
The New Yorker
Editor of the Year James Bennet
Hype is an ephemeral thing. In his six years as editor, the unassuming James Bennet has let his magazine’s singular brand of journalism speak for itself. And that it has—loudly. The manifesto on working women by Anne-Marie Slaughter became the most widely read story in the history of the pub and even inspired an online channel, The Sexes. For amassing a roster of top talent producing some of the best magazine work around, Bennet in May ascended from editor to editor in chief—the first person ever to hold that title at The Atlantic.
Publisher of the Year
svp and publisher, Atlantic Media
Smart, popular—and rich to boot. Atlantic Media is on track to record its third profitable year in a row, driven by a flourishing digital business. More than half the company’s ad revenue now comes from digital—unheard of in the magazine business—fueled by custom ad programs and big traffic that’s stoked by social sharing. Revenue from print and events is also on the rise. Success has its rewards for Jay Lauf, promoted this year to svp and group publisher of Atlantic Media (from vp, publisher of The Atlantic), adding responsibility for the company’s business startup, Quartz.
Best Embrace of Digital by a Print Brand
Start spreading the news. Not only does editor Adam Moss’ New York still kill it week after week in print (eye-catching covers, provocative features), the pub keeps giving consumers more reason to go online, too. This year brought The Cut, the third blog spun off from nymag.com (following the smash culture monitor Vulture and foodie destination Grub Street). While other publishers struggle to monetize their online businesses, New York gets a phenomenal 40 percent of its revenue from digital, up from 20 percent four years ago.
The New York Times
Top Destination for Fashionistas
What a knockout. Fashion/beauty player Allure keeps coming up with ways for women to get their gorgeous on—and for advertisers to reach them. Product Reviews & Finder has made Allure.com an essential destination for shoppers before they hit the “buy” button, driving mobile pageviews 367 percent in the first nine months of this year. Then there’s product-sampling service Sample Society, which in less than a year has amassed 9,000 members who pony up $15 per month. Riding the boom in beauty and apparel business, ad pages are up a stunning 18 percent, the most dramatic growth of all Condé Nast brands. What’s more, Allure has upped its rate base two years in a row.
Best Publication for Getting (or Staying) Rich
Even though Time Inc.’s chronicler of business and finance cut its print frequency in 2010, a thriving events business has helped keep the brand vital. Fortune’s 2012 Most Powerful Women Summit drew the likes of Lloyd Blankfein and Sheila Bair, and demand for tickets was so great that it led to a waiting list—despite a $7,500 admission fee. Fueled by the international expansion of the summit, the events division is expected to post 30 percent revenue growth for the second year in a row. Fortune is also on a winning streak editorially, breaking news on important business personalities like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and collecting journalism prizes from Loeb, Sabew and others.
Best Brand for Living the Good Life
This posh periodical from globe-trotting tastemaker Tyler Brûlé has made a business out of bucking the magazine establishment—whether by charging a steep 10 bucks per newsstand copy or eschewing the iPad. That contrarian approach continues to pay off, with brand extensions ranging from a Monocle retail shop to the radio station Monocle 24. Meanwhile, the core print product is on fire, with total circulation growing 10 percent to 72,000, fueled principally by growth overseas.
Town & Country
Best Publication for Staying in the Know
The Financial Times
As newspapers stake their future on going digital and national, they might take a page from The Financial Times. The pink-hued broadsheet hit a milestone in the first half of this year when subscriptions to FT.com surpassed daily print circulation for the first time ever. While advertising for the FT, like the industry at large, remains challenged, the paper has expanded in Latin America while growing its direct license business 40 percent in the first half of this year.
The New York Times
Best Magazine for Keeping Up With the Kardashians
While other celebrity weeklies and news sites trade in potential baby bumps and movie star breakups, People remains the go-to source for reliable intel on Hollywood’s elite. The category’s biggest player got even larger this year, with paid subs growing 7 percent to 2.4 million in the first half. It also sets the pace in the mobile space, becoming the first Time Inc. title to bring responsive design to its tablet and smartphone sites. Using data about how and when readers consume content throughout the day, People designed an HTML5 site that changes up articles according to user behavior. In another Time Inc. first, People even tapped a dedicated mobile editor.
Best Magazine if You’re Planning a Trip to Belize, or…
Condé Nast Traveler
Here’s one travel title that’s not spinning its wheels. After all, it’s not every magazine that can get Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg and Christy Turlington in the same room, as Traveler did for its Visionaries Gala, marking its 25th anniversary. In fact, the book is showing strength on all fronts, charting a steady course in choppy ad waters and growing readership by 19.2 percent.
Condé Nast Traveler
Hottest Magazine for Women
Better Homes and Gardens
Who’d think a magazine with a decidedly heartland pedigree would become a social media darling? Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens saw the potential for social sharing early on—its taking to Pinterest out of the gate cemented the magazine as one of the top brands on the scrapbooking site. It has also excelled at adapting content for mobile. Its Must-Have Recipes app (an update of the brand’s iconic red plaid cookbook) topped 1 million downloads in less than four months. Its social standing is bringing in younger consumers: Readership among women 18-34 has grown 8 percent over four years.
Hottest Magazine for Men
Good looks aside, Condé Nast’s influential title for the stylish man is also sharp when it comes to brand extensions, forging e-commerce alliances with Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom and opening a pop-up shop during New York’s Fashion Week that drew 10,000 consumers. GQ’s reach is growing, with print circ up 3 percent in the first half of the year and digital editions averaging 60,000 per month—particularly strong for a men’s lifestyle magazine.
Best Publication for the Sports Nut
With the Web and TV dominating sports, how does a magazine hope to stay relevant? For Condé Nast’s Golf Digest, the answer was creating a digital experience like none other. This year brought Golf Digest Live, a personalized magazine that’s based on a player’s own strengths on the green which also sports putting tips and features. Meanwhile, a Facebook fantasy game, Major Championship Challenge, has attracted thousands of players in just its first few months.
Hottest Health and Fitness Magazine
Studies have found that people who exercise in a group are more likely to stay on track and get better results. So to beef up its Workout in the Park, a series of exercise gatherings in cities across America, Self launched a social game by the same name—a virtual experience enabling women to set fitness goals and win prizes. The Condé Nast brand’s social push nearly doubled its Klout score this year while growing Self.com’s unique visitor numbers by 44 percent. And the brand’s digital achievements are trickling down to print, where circulation is at its healthiest level ever—1.5 million strong.
Where There’s No Place Like Home
Though barely a year old, HGTV Magazine has already built a towering following among both readers and advertisers. Like Hearst/Scripps’ other venture, Food Network Magazine, HGTV was a smash from day one. After selling out its October/November 2011 test issue (demand was so great that more copies had to be printed), the title launched in earnest this past May, shattering its initial rate base of 450,000. HGTV Magazine today averages 275,000 newsstand copies. Two more increases in rate base, to 800,000, are planned for 2013, while frequency will expand to 10 times per year.
Favorite Destination for Foodies
It takes a lot of nerve for an outsider to elbow his way into the tents at Fashion Week, but that’s just what these guys did. It’s not such a surprise really, considering that editor Adam Rapoport’s retooled epicurean celebrates fashion and Hollywood ties to food, even as it keeps service journalism on the front burner. The payoff for the business side: 80 percent of the Condé Nast title’s new business this year came by way of nonendemic advertisers (including Chase and Jeep), while newsstand sales are sizzling—up a big 20.5 percent in the first half alone. Add to all that a trove of journalistic accolades, including four James Beard Award nominations.
Food & Wine