Magazine Hot List 2009: 10 Under 60

The Methodology

The Hot List and 10 Under 60 Hot List annually recognize consumer magazines with a recent track record of standout advertising revenue and page performance. To be considered, a title’s ad results must be tracked by the authoritative Publishers Information Bureau. For the Hot List, we look at the last three calendar years, and for 10 under 60, the last two years. Thus, for the Hot List, a title must have been published for at least three years and must have taken in $60 million or more in annual ad revenue, while for 10 under 60, a magazine must have been published for at least two years and reported annual revenue of less than $60 million. You’ll notice that this year, we raised the eligibility cap for the small list to $60 million from $50 million. We did so to reflect the industry’s 23 percent revenue growth since 2003, when the threshold increased to $50 million from $40 million. In examining magazines’ ad performance over time, we give the greatest weight to the most recent year. We consider the performance of each title against its category peers, as well as the vitality of the category overall. We also evaluate circulation quality and performance, paying particular attention to the closely watched barometer of newsstand sales for the second half of 2008, as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Finally, we consult a number of influential media buyers, who provide insight on which magazines they and their clients favor at the moment. So, please turn the page for this year’s AdweekMedia Magazine Hot List.

1.

Ad Revenue:
$31.4M/+13.6%
Ad Pages:
603/0.0%
Circulation:
515,936/+7.5%

’08 Rank: n/a

The traditional newsweeklies are fading, but Felix Dennis’ CliffsNotes-like treasure has won a cult-like following with readers, advertisers. “In an ADD society, the perfect antidote to the 40,000-word New Yorker stories,” gushes one buyer. Ad-effectiveness program called “ahead of the game.”

2.

Ad Revenue:
$46M/+30%
Ad Pages:
616/+23.9%
Circulation:
744,337/-0.6%

’08 Rank: 7

Under editor Bob Safian, Mansueto Ventures’ business book has reenergized the category by making the topic of innovation a “fun, interesting read.” New extensions (Discovery’s Planet Green pact) keep the brand fresh while accounts growth (auto, financial, telecom) bolsters ad base.

3.

Ad Revenue:
$42.2M/+11%
Ad Pages:
1,222/+4.3%
Circulation:
216,203/+3.5%

’08 Rank: n/a

Under-the-radar weekly for golf fanatics scores an ace for Condé Nast, winning serious nonendemic business (AT&T, Nissan, Perry Ellis) through hard work, not flash. Clients admire “high-end, true golf enthusiast” readers and fact that they “don’t look to corporate to hand them business.” Subs surge 9.2 percent in 2nd half.

4.

Ad Revenue:
$29.7M/+73%
Ad Pages:
505/+38%
Circulation:
739,037/+15.2%

’08 Rank: n/a

Since spinning off as a newsstand extension of  People in ’02, breezy guide to celebrity style shoots into stratosphere with edit package that’s “portable, digestible and fun.” Buyers like cross-selling potential with parent brand. More than 80 new clients in ’08 (L’Oréal, Target). Subs up 102 percent.

5.

Ad Revenue:
$59M/+53.1%
Ad Pages:
780/+10.8%
Circulation:
533,789/+22.4%

’08 Rank: 4

“More than a parenting magazine,” Condé Nast’s smart, upscale newbie grows up to serve “super-connector moms” of the stroller set. Pages up as mass clients (Campbell Soup, Avon) use it to supplement reach. Luxury up, too (Van Cleef & Arpels, Land Rover). Rate base rises in ’09.

6.

Ad Revenue:
$41.4M/+8.4%
Ad Pages:
589/+3.1%
Circulation:
727,551/-1.5%

’08 Rank: 9

Nat Geo’s high-flying offshoot soars above bigger rivals with emphasis on culture, domestic travel. Green cred scores clients pushing sustainability messages (BP, Frito-Lay). “At a time when people need to put ‘heads in beds,’” title called “beautiful” but affordable. Four new overseas editions in ’08.

7.

Ad Revenue:
$26.5M/+18.2%
Ad Pages:
1,032/-4.4%
Circulation:
924,792/+17.7%

’08 Rank: 6

Jam-packed with money-saving tips and reader-tested info, Time Inc.’s Walmart-distributed service pub hits the mark in today’s penny-pinching times. For clients looking to move product at the discount giant, it’s “a non-flashy product” that “works.” Subs up eye-popping 69.2 percent in 2nd half.

8.

Ad Revenue:
$37.1M/-1.4%
Ad Pages:
554/-5.9%
Circulation:
1,278,094/-2.1%

’08 Rank: n/a

Since 2000 relaunch, weight-loss/lifestyle guide packs on the pages by addressing “something everyone thinks about daily.” Health/beauty aids (Neutrogena), home (Clorox), restaurants (Taco Bell) broaden ad mix. Steady circ growth (20 percent gain over five years) despite high price ($2.17 average sub price per copy).

9.

Ad Revenue:
$53.8M/+8.7%
Ad Pages:
907/+1%
Circulation:
552,234/+9.9%

’08 Rank: n/a

As Spanish-language magazine field shrinks, People offshoot becomes all the more “vital” to Hispanic readers. Buyers love multiplatform franchises (50 Most Beautiful, Fiesta), calling it “very hot book, especially in the Hispanic category, where celebrity is so big.”

10.

Ad Revenue:
$40.7M/-1.3%
Ad Pages:
716/-8.2%
Circulation:
431,894/+3.6%

’08 Rank: 10

Rodale’s enthusiast pub breaks away with smart integrated ad packages, strong Web site (GPS digital tool). Passionate, affluent, dual audience and hobby’s growth as cheaper, green alternative to cars are title’s ticket to ride. Added 54 new accounts in ’08 (Swatch, Volkswagen).

Sources: Publishers Information Bureau for 2008 ad revenue, ad pages; TNS Media Intelligence/CMR; Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Fas-Fax for six months ended Dec. 31, 2008; company information.

Magazine Ad Facts At a Glance

Click here for a PDF of the charts.