Magazine Hot List 2009: Top 10 Magazines

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: $131.5m
+25.5%
Ad Pages: 2,468
+4.4%
Circulation: 786,977
+9.2%

’08 rank: 1

It’s (still) the economy, stupid. With politics and business hotter than ever, British news/business sensation holds top spot on circ, ad gains (Ralph Lauren, Movado). Newsstand up despite $1 cover price hike. With “best demos in the world,” no surprise rivals are copying its formula.

2.

Ad Revenue: $325.5m
+11.2%
Ad Pages: 2,624
+5%
Circulation: 1,124,674
+6.6%

’08 rank: n/a

Project Runway and Stylista are over, but Hachette’s fashion player is still getting the buzz. “Good mix of aspiration and affordability” makes it “right for the times,” while integrated deals lock in pages. Beauty, nonendemic strong in ’08. Sixth straight year of growth.

3.

Ad Revenue: $889m
-8.2%
Ad Pages: 3,422
-12%
Circulation: 3,691,819
+2%

’08 rank: n/a

While competitors falter, the “100-ton gorilla” of the celeb weeklies “keeps chugging along,” with right-for-moment spinoffs Country Special, StyleWatch. In “the year of the eyeball,” 43.5 million audience makes People “must-buy.” Newsstand up 3 percent.

4.

Ad Revenue: $79.3m
+60.7%
Ad Pages: 724
+12.2%
Circulation: 1,196,898
+31.8%

’08 rank: n/a

After soaring to the top of the 10 under 50 list, WH graduates to the Big List as it gives chase to rivals. Health/fitness guide pulls off no small feat in adapting Men’s Health’s irreverent voice to female audience. Rate base hike in ’09 (5th since ’05 launch).

5.

Ad Revenue: $97.5m
+24.5%
Ad Pages: 741
+3.3%
Circulation: 1,783,542
+7.1%

’08 rank: n/a

In no time, perky TV personality’s food title has baked up appetizing gains in ads and circ for owner RDA. As dining out becomes a luxury, combo of lifestyle edit with quick, easy recipes that help home cooks stretch food dollar makes the book “really relevant.”

6.

Ad Revenue: $262.1m
-14%
Ad Pages: 1,702
-18.6%
Circulation: 1,980,061
-0.3%

’08 rank: 2

In price-driven economy, Time Inc.’s back-to-basics lifestyle expert proves more relevant than ever. As title takes risks on new spinoffs (reality makeover TV show, new products at Target, evening parties), buyers call it “a brand, not just a magazine.”