The A List

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1 US Weekly

Parents: Wenner Media, Walt Disney Co.

Publisher: Victoria Lasdon Rose

Editor in chief: Janice Min

Ad pages: 1,157.9 + 25.2%

Total circulation: 1,351,163 + 17.4%

Subscriptions: 605,276 - 6.1%

Single-copy sales: 745,887 + 47.3%

Irresistible magazine confection or harbinger of the apocalypse? You decide-because we already have. Formerly Wenner's folly; currently raking it in on all fronts. Watch Us Weekly drive newsstand sales in an entire category. Judging from its track record, this title may be today's best possible answer to Freud's most famous open-ended question.

2 Real Simple

Parent: Time Inc.

Publisher: Robin Domeniconi

Managing editor: Kristin van Ogtrop

Ad pages: 925.6 + 16.4%

Total circulation: 1,721,071 + 25.1%

Subscriptions: 1,331,713 + 30.2%

Single-copy sales: 389,358 + 10.3%

More like Real Something. No. 2 or No. 1 for three years straight on Ad Age's A-List. This is a magazine that routinely achieves perfection in its specific aims. It looks gorgeous, the editorial is spot-on and its monthly heft is stunning. Reviled at launch; today likely the single magazine other companies most wish they'd thought of first.

3 Men's Health

Parent: Rodale

VP-publisher: MaryAnn Bekkedahl

Editor in chief: David Zinczenko

Ad pages: 760.8 + 9.9%

Total circulation: 1,718,319 + 1.3%

Subscriptions: 1,229,744 - 0.9%

Single-copy sales: 488,575 + 7.2%

It's no longer news that men care about this stuff-ab exercises, hair removal techniques- in fact, that men do care is a downright middle-brow realization. But it is news that Men's Health just keeps finding more consumers to buy it each month. High-profile team of Elaine's regular Dave Zinczenko and MaryAnn Bekkedahl keeps the heat on.

4 Conde Nast Traveler

Parent: Conde Nast Publications

VP-publisher: Lisa Hughes

Editor in chief: Tom Wallace

Ad pages: 1,093 + 14.7%

Total circulation: 799,081 + 1.6%

Subscriptions: 744,861 + 1.1%

Single-copy sales: 34,220 + 12.7%

The travel category has come roaring back, and 2004 is a good year all around for the big travel magazines-but Conde Nast Traveler's gains bested those of the competition. Besides posting positive performances on all key indicators, it remains an outpost for lush travel-porn shots of distant locales.

5 lucky

Parent: Conde Nast Publications

VP-publisher: Alexandra W. Golinkin

Editor in chief: Kim France

Ad pages: 1,181.3 + 13%

Total circulation: 970,672 + 16.3%

Subscriptions: 710,469 + 15.6%

Single-copy sales: 260,203 + 18.1%

If Time Inc.'s Real Simple is the magazine all companies wish they'd thought of first, Lucky is the magazine everyone else is outright copying. This yearsaw Conde Nast's Cargo, Hearst's Shop Etc., Ziff Davis' Sync and Fairchild's Vitals; next year comes Vitals for women and Conde Nast's Domino. What they will see: It's not a slam-dunk unless the edit formula is smart, direct and fun, like Lucky.

6 Prevention

Parent: Rodale

VP-publisher: Kate Kelly Smith

VP-editorial director: Rosemary Ellis

Ad pages: 889.7 + 18.9%

Total circulation: 3,359,698 + 2.5%

Subscriptions: 2,964,340 + 2%

Single-copy sales: 395,358 + 6.4%

Never let it be said that the media landscape is dominated by the new, and that old warhorses don't have some fight left in them. This venerable magazine-founded in 1950-saw its 2004 numbers blow up big on all fronts, with solid gains in circulation and nearly a 20% jump in ad pages. Prevention's performance provided a big boost in a big year for Rodale.

7 Esquire

Parent: Hearst Magazines

VP-publisher: Kevin C. O'Malley

Editor in chief: David Granger

Ad pages: 703.8 + 15.7%

Total circulation: 717,113 - 1%

Subscriptions: 606,865 - 3.3%

Single-copy sales: 110,248 + 13.9%

This turnaround story has been long in coming, and it's not quite over yet, judging from a key Hearst executive's cheerful admission that "there are months where it is profitable." Still, the pamphlet-thin Esquires of the past are far behind it, ad momentum continues and the work of Ad Age Editor of the Year David Granger speaks for itself-smart, smart-looking, ambitious and funny to boot.

8 Shape

Parent: American Media

Publisher: Ann Taylor

Editor in chief: Anne M. Russell

Ad pages: 1,010.5 + 18.4%

Total circulation: 1,617,604 - 1.1%

Subscriptions: 1,160,089 - 5%

Single-copy sales: 457,515 + 10.4%

Given that this former Weider Publications title is one of the few unquestioned bright spots at American Media, it's unsurprising it alone was cited as a reason-for-dealing by rival bidders for Weider's portfolio. Newsstand and ad page sales continue to soar, and Shape is significantly outpacing its competitors. In sum: shipped out from Weider but still shaping up (we're sorry) at its new home.

9 The New Yorker

Parent: Conde Nast Publications

VP-publisher: David Carey

Editor in chief: David Remnick

Ad pages: 1,523.7 + 1.3%

Total circulation: 1,003,205 + 4.7%

Subscriptions: 954,076 + 4.8%

Single-copy sales: 49,129 + 3.1%

They said it couldn't be done-and sometimes we wonder-but the data indeed bear out that The New Yorker's transformation to profit center continues. David Carey may be the fair-haired publisher at Conde Nast now, but his success is unthinkable without David Remnick-who, with the likes of Seymour Hersh, proved a general-interest weekly can still lead and drive news cycles.

10 In Style

Parent: Time Inc.

Publishing director: Katy Egan

Editor: Louise Chunn

Ad pages: 2,373.3 + 8.3%

Total circulation: 1,780,427 + 4.8%

Subscriptions: 847,570 + 12.3%

Single-copy sales: 932,857 - 1.1%

A prototype of sorts for the likes of Us Weekly and Lucky-and from the august Time Inc., no less!-In Style shows no signs of slowing. Ad pages are up almost 10%, and this is for a monthly magazine that sold 3,000 of 'em last year. As spinoffs ramp up, look for Time Inc. to continue to echo this executive's sentiment: "Thank God for In Style."

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