The A-List

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1 Lucky

Parent: Conde Nast Publications

VP-publisher: Alexandra W. Golinkin

Editor in chief: Kim France

Ad pages: 1,045.9 up 61.3%

Total circulation: 834,802 up 7.1%

Subscriptions: 614,526 up 7.4%

Single-copy sales: 220,276 up 6.4%

Purists pshawed and advertisers scratched their heads when Lucky announced. Seems so long ago now, even if it's not yet three years. Chin-stroke about the depressing cultural implications if you must, but "The Magazine About Shopping" continues to record explosive growth. Last year in this space we wished for Lucky for Men-well, funnily enough, Cargo hits next spring. Is Lucky Home next?

2 Real Simple

Parent: Time Inc.

Publisher: Robin Domeniconi

Managing editor:

Kristin van Ogtrop

Ad pages: 795.2 up 55.9%

Total circulation: 1,375,355 up 31.3%

Subscriptions: 1,022,454 up 40.6%

Single-copy sales: 352,901 up 10.1%

The wobbly launch is far behind it, if not the odd exit of the former Managing Editor Carrie Tuhy, but neither event seems more than a minor speed bump as Real Simple becomes Time Inc.'s next franchise. Its numbers would be eye-popping even if the magazine world wasn't still mired in the Never-Ending Recession. There is no other way to put it: Real Something.

3 CosmoGirl

Parent: Hearst Magazines

Publisher: Kristine Welker

Editor in chief: Susan Schulz

Ad pages: 504.5 up 14%

Total circulation: 1,279,436 up 21.3%

Subscriptions: 855,720 up 30.7%

Single-copy sales: 423,716 up 5.9%

Began as an exclamation-riddled offshoot of powerhouse Cosmopolitan, to take on the teen girl niche then owned by Seventeen. But four years after launch, CosmoGirl's ad pages still mushroom, and its circ is fast closing in on that of its once-far-off old-school rival Seventeen.

To make the circle complete, Seventeen is where you'll now find the antic editing style of founding CosmoGirl Editor Atoosa Rubenstein.

4 The Atlantic Monthly

Parent: The Atlantic Monthly Group

Publisher: Elizabeth Baker Keffer

Managing editor: Cullen Murphy

Ad pages: 403.5 up 19.9%

Total circulation: 520,174 up 3.6%

Subscriptions: 465,774 up 1.1%

Single-copy sales: 54,400 up 30.8%

Ably stewarded by Ad Age Editor of the Year Cullen Murphy, the newly-revitalized-but-very-long-running Atlantic found its way back to, and maintains, top-of-mind status among the medium's highest-brow players. Next, a big bet on increasing subscription price pends for '04.

5 Cooking Light

Parent: Time Inc.

VP-publisher: Christopher C. Allen

VP-editor: Mary Kay Culpepper

Ad pages: 979.9 up 8.8%

Total circulation: 1,617,193 up 0.8%

Subscriptions: 1,349,038 up 0.5%

Single-copy sales: 268,155 up 2.7%

An oasis of strong and steady growth. Not even the third straight year of recession stilled Cooking Light's steady upward progress. It ain't Wallpaper or Saveur, but that also ain't the point. The point is serving a growing readership with sharp, well-tuned edit, and watching advertisers flock to it.

6 ESPN the Magazine

Parents: Walt Disney Co., Hearst Magazines

VP-publisher: Christopher Collins

Editor in chief: Gary Hoenig

Ad pages: 1,131.9 up 8.6%

Total circulation: 1,692,735 up 10.2%

Subscriptions: 1,656,777 up 11%

Single-copy sales: 35,958 down 16.7%

It may bear the ESPN name, but don't write it off as a program guide for its big brother on cable. The title had enough substance to win a National Magazine Award in 2003. And while Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated outscored ESPN in ad pages through September, topping 1,600, SI is down 6.8%.

7 Essence

Parent: Essence Communications Partners

Publisher-CEO: Edward Lewis

Editor in chief: Diane Weathers

Ad pages: 999.9 up 29.7%

Total circulation: 1,068,214 up 1.5%

Subscriptions: 812,116 down 0.6%

Single-copy sales: 256,098 up 8.7%

The inclusion in Time Inc.'s Women's Group joint buy hardly hurts it-but inclusion in that group alongside the likes of People and In Style doesn't account for the strong newsstand performance either. Another strong year for this franchise, but then how could it not be, given that Essence's year kicked off with Ed Lewis winning a Henry Johnson Fisher lifetime achievement award?

8 More

Parent: Meredith Corp.

Publisher: Carol E. Campbell

Editor in chief: Susan Crandell

Ad pages: 512.7 up 35.1%

Total circulation: 852,884 up 18%

Subscriptions: 748,284 up 20.6%

Single-copy sales: 104,600 up 2.1%

The women-of-a-certain-age niche has a body count made up of past ambitious attempts like Lear's and Mirabella. But it took Meredith, the prototypical tortoise in an industry still captivated by hares, to make it work. And the strategic fit is felicitous: More neatly fills out its niche in Meredith's portfolio of women's titles alongside BH&G, LHJ and newcomer American Baby.

9 Men's Health

Parent: Rodale

VP-publisher: MaryAnn Bekkedahl

Editor in chief: David Zinczenko

Ad pages: 692 up 21.5%

Total circulation: 1,697,026 up 2.3%

Subscriptions: 1,241,467 up 2.6%

Single-copy sales: 455,559 up 1.4%

Rodale's mass men's title is back on track. Ad pages are poised for another year of double-digit growth. The editorial consistently executes its mission under Editor in Chief David Zinczenko, who manages to stay on track between gossip-column blurbs and nights at Elaine's. (Did we mention the TV-star girlfriend in L.A.?)

10 Details

Parent: Fairchild Publications

VP-publisher: William Wackermann

Editor in chief: Daniel Peres

Ad pages: 730.8 up 31%

Total circulation: 418,005 up 0.1%

Subscriptions: 348,030 down 0.8%

Single-copy sales: 69,975 up 4.5%

Let's start by banning the horrid coinage "metrosexual" that those who market Fairchild's rebirthed-again men's title have seized upon. But let's finish by realizing that the rise of men-who-moisturize dovetails nicely with the new Details demographics. The bonus is the stabilized editorial product, its wit and focus and voice-one willing to not take itself too seriously.

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