Hot List: Magazines

See what magazine brands are taking chances and embracing change

General Interest


As newsweeklies in general struggle for relevance, Time has hung tough, increasing readership along the way. In a dramatic news year, the magazine showed it may be big, but it’s still nimble. When Osama bin Laden died, Time put out three issues in a week’s time, a first for the magazine. With Steve Jobs’ passing, it stopped the presses to put out a Jobs-filled issue. Print ad pages were up 4.2 percent to 955 in the first nine months of the year, and newsstand rose 16 percent (total circ: 3.4 million). Online, it’s breaking its own traffic records as it expands with verticals like Entertainment and Ideas. With its strong cross-platform presence and social media efforts (its Klout score of 87 is the highest among general-interest magazines), Time earned top spot on think-tank L2’s digital rankings, as well as its“genius” distinction. Adweek voters agree; Time was the Readers’ Choice winner in its category.



Men’s Health

In an uncertain economy, Men’s Health offers an optimistic, and persuasive, road map for self-improvement. Building on its brand promise in 2011, it launched its Fit for Summer, Fit for Life weight-loss contest and expanded its popular Urbanathlon to three new cities. And at a time when free content abounds, Men’s Health sold 3 percent more subs in the first half, despite a $23 average net price. Digitally, Men’s Health is also killing it: its Klout score (80) is the highest among health/fitness magazines.



Fashion blogs may have exploded, but Vogue’s sheer dominance remains unchallenged. This year, the brand expanded its global editorial influence to even more countries and platforms through Fashion’s Night Out and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, and put its digital foot forward with a new Print’s strong, too: Newsstand was up an eye-popping 12.7 percent in the first half of ‘11, while key rivals fell by double digits. Ad pages also grew, up 7.9 percent through September to 1,861. Vogue is the vanguard among Adweek readers, too, getting the most votes in the Readers’ Choice poll.


Bloomberg Businessweek

Two years under Bloomberg LP’s ownership, Bloomberg Businessweek is starting to prove the skeptics wrong. With its striking aesthetic and global editorial perspective, the magazine is giving readers and advertisers reason to stick with it. Ad pages are up 23 percent in the first nine months to 1,007, and losses are declining. Plus, while others cut circulation, it’s raising its circ guarantee 9 percent to 980,000 in 2012. Moreover, two overseas editions are on the way.



Even with a 3.6 million circulation and 45 million readers, People has grown its franchise yet again. Its content, already featured on screens in taxis, elevators, and stores, is now in some in-flight Internet services. And paid subs, at $100 a pop, grew 6 percent in the first half of ’11. No wonder People was Adweek’s Readers’ Choice winner.


Runner’s World

With people seeking customized experiences, Runner’s World shows what niche publishing can do. It outpaces rivals in social media, and products like its SmartCoach app and Runner’s World Challenge work on both individual and group levels. Bucking industry trends, subscriptions (despite an average price of $18) rose 3 percent in the first half of this year; its Klout score, at 77, is among the highest of sports publications.


Siempre Mujer

General-market women’s magazines may be challenged, but Hispanic-aimed titles are soaring. Few have taken off quicker than Siempre Mujer (Always a Woman). Thanks, in part, to a bright new look by editor Maria Christiana Marrero, ad pages shot up 29 percent to 203 from January-September, while circ grew 11 percent to 514,558 in the first half of 2011.


House Beautiful

In a category that’s lost multiple titles in recent years, House Beautiful is a rare bright spot: first-half newsstand sales rose nearly 2 percent as the industry fell 9 percent. Among other things, it’s using technology to engage readers, most notably with its 500+ Favorite Paint Colors app and digital watermarks that link the page to videos and other mobile content. Its Klout score, at 62, is the highest among shelter mags.



While other magazines get as slim as their readers’ wallets, Departures doesn’t have that problem. The super-luxe lifestyle title grew ad pages 46 percent through the first nine months of 2011 and projects being up 43 percent this year as advertisers chase its

1 million AmEx Platinum Card or Centurion members. Readers are passionate, too: Departures ranks No. 3—tied with airport lounges—in a list of AmEx card benefits.



GQ continues to stir up conversation across the media landscape with stories that span the culture and political spectrum. Aided by social media efforts like its irreverent Twitter feed (@GQMagazine), has more than doubled its uniques to 2.2 million since relaunching in 2009, while its total tablet edition circulation increased to 62,241 in September. 


Food Network Magazine

Two years after Food Network Magazine upended the cooking magazine category based on the popularity of the eponymous network, it’s still sizzling. (No wonder, then, that Hearst is giving the model another go with its new HGTV Magazine.) Ad pages are projected to increase 9.5 percent in 2011, with circulation up 11 percent to 1.5 million. Rate base is going up to 1.4 million in 2012, the sixth increase since launch.

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