Adweek’s Top Ten Magazines

Top 10 Magazines 2003

1. O the Oprah Magazine

Revenue up: $33.8 million (23.28%)
Ad Pages: +54.86/+4%
Since 1999: n/A
Circulation: 2,261,570 (-10.6%%)

This magazine was a winner out of the gate; we named it Startup of the Year when it launched in 2000. Nearly $180 million in ad revenue later, O continues to reel in advertisers. 200,000 bonus circ means readers are there, too.


Revenue Up: $45 million (36.35%)
Ad Pages:+140.9/+10.69%
Since 1999: -6.0%
Circulation: 1,550,138 (+9.8%)

Another former Startup of the Year, this sports title continues to work magic with twentysomething men. Fueled by apparel, liquor and auto ads, ESPN also has cross-media buy appeal with Web and television.

3. Real Simple

Revenue up: $28.9 million1 (19.0%)
Ad Pages:+355.0/+67.8%
Since 1999: n/A
Circulation: 1,140,500 (+31.9%)

No. 3 with a bullet. When it launched in 2000, the critics howled. Now Madison Avenue notes, “It has found its voice. It’s a must-have for mass beauty and retail.” It wasn’t real easy, but Real Simple is a real hit.

4. The New Yorker

Revenue Up: $21.3 million(20.78%)
Ad Pages:+126.6/+6.0%
Since 1999: +6.9%
Circulation: 938,600 (+6.8%)

Kudos to David and David (Carey and Remnick) for bringing the venerable magazine into the 21st century. The New Yorker Festival brings a bit of hip to the old gal. “A must-have on luxury plans,” notes one buyer.

5. InStyle

Revenue Up: $26.0 million (10.92%)
Ad Pages: +68.9/+2.3%
Since 1999: +16.7%
Circulation: 1,670.792 (+6.5%)

Advertisers still love this title for what it delivers: a huge audience of devoted readers (and shoppers). ME Charla Lawhon’s not-so-serious celebrity worship remains the favorite airplane read of a good many media buyers.

6. FHM

Revenue Up: $28.3 million (108.1%)
Ad Pages: +283.5/+51.01%
Since 1999: n/A
Circulation: 1,061,122 (+25.7%)

The upstart in the competitive men’s field, this laddie book is gaining its own fan club of young men. FHM has been able to break new ad categories this year on the strength of its growing circulation and own brand of humor.

7. Cooking Light

Revenue Up: $13.0 million (20.2%)
Ad Pages:+59.6/+4.9%
Since 1999: +17%
Circulation:1,574,194 (+0.8%)

Part healthy living, part cookbook, Cooking Light has a devoted readership and a circ that continues to grow (15 rate base increases in 15 years). Advertisers like its mass reach and squeaky-clean pink sheet.

8. Maxim

Revenue Up: $26.8 million (17.5%)
Ad Pages: +27.5/+2.3%
Since 1999: +21.8%
Circulation: 2,512,090 (-1.6%)

The laddie that started it all remains a monster among men’s titles, but it’s starting to show its maturity as circulation slows. Ad pages continue to climb, but the challenge here is to get advertisers to pony up as rate base increases.

9. Shape

Revenue Up: $15.9 million (21.8%)
Ad Pages: +133.4/+15.6%
Since 1999:+23.3%
Circulation: 1,643,816 (+4.0%)

The healthiest title in a very fit category, Shape outmuscled the competition with strong circulation and advertising gains. A redesign, renewed focus on edit meant newsstand sales lost nothing even after a $1 cover price hike.

10. Allure

Revenue Up: $6.9 million (10.9%)
Ad Pages: +38.1/+3.3%
Since 1999: +6.3%
Circulation: 949,669 (+0.4%)

In the tough fashion/beauty category, this book offers a point of differentiation. In recent years editor Linda Wells has broadened the edit, opening up more opportunities for advertisers while freshening the design. Buyers have taken notice.