Magazine 300: Methodology

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Ad Age ranks the Magazine 300 by gross U.S. revenue, the sum of gross advertising and gross circulation dollars. The Ad Age DataCenter prepared a worksheet on each magazine that included circulation data from Audit Bureau of Circulations, BPA Worldwide and SRDS and advertising data from TNS Media Intelligence, Publishers Information Bureau, Perq/HCI and MIN.

Publishers reviewed the worksheets and were allowed to make changes.

On the advertising side, if a magazine was monitored by an ad tracker, the ad tracker's revenue figure was used. Gross advertising, in this case, means measured ad revenue based on rate card. Measured ad revenue generally is far above a magazine's actual net ad revenue; most magazines offer discounts off their one-time rate, including volume discounts and negotiated discounts. Discounts differ sharply among magazines and magazine categories.

For non-monitored magazines, gross ad revenue represented ad pages x the one-time black-and-white rate. That may be far above a magazine's actual net revenue since most magazines offer significant discounts off rate card.

On the circulation side, gross revenue represented total paid subscribers x standard subscription price, and on the newsstand side, single-copy circulation x newsstand price x magazine frequency. Gross circulation revenue is often far above a magazine's net circulation revenue; magazines often offer discounts off their standard subscription prices.

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