Magazine Hot List 2006: Highlights

We in the magazine business are always looking for trends. Find three of something, and there’s your trend. We hit the jackpot this year with the Hot List. In fact, we exceeded the three-is-a-trend rule by, well, seven. In a year when celebrity ruled the newsstand, and business, general interest and newsweekly titles struggled to retain ad pages, it became clear that in order to be considered hot, a healthy dose of estrogen couldn’t hurt.

The same holds true for our choices of Editor of the Year (Martha Nelson of Time Inc.’s People), Executive Team of the Year (the publishing and editorial executives at Martha Stewart Living), Startup of the Year (Condé Nast’s Domino) and Creative Team of the Year (the shelter title Dwell)—they represent, for the most part, women readers. Not that there aren’t plenty of people (men, mostly) buying Maxim and Sports Illustrated, but the Hot List is all about momentum. And right now, it’s womens’ titles and celebrity books that are on the move.

How do we determine what magazines have momentum? It’s a multistep process, which includes evaluating numbers from several sources.

To be considered for the Hot List, a consumer magazine’s advertising must be tracked by Publishers Information Bureau/TNS Media Intelligence. To qualify for the Hot List, a magazine must have been published for a minimum of three years, have published at least 10 issues during the last calendar year, and have $50 million or more in advertising revenue. To qualify for the 10 under 50 List, a magazine must have been published for a minimum of two years, have published at least 12 issues during the last two calendar years, and have ad revenues of less than $50 million.

For both lists, we begin by examining the advertising performance, both in terms of pages and dollars, during the last three years.

Greatest weight is given to performance in the last year. We also consider the performance of each magazine against its category and the performance of the category overall. Once we whittle down the list, we dig deeper. We work closely with Dan Capell, who edits Capell’s Circulation Report, to evaluate the performance of each of the Hot List contenders.

We also speak to media directors, who give us some insight into what advertisers are thinking. After this, we go back to the beginning—to the advertising performance of each of the contenders—to make our final cut and rank the magazines.

–Patty Orsini

Check out a PDF version of the 2006 Hot List below:

The 2006 Hot List