Dennis Publishing

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The laddie company that could appears to have maxed out its moves in that market, with circulation at both Maxim and its sharper-toned sibling Stuff looking like it's leveled off, at 2.5 million and 1.1 million, respectively. (Stuff's newsstand sales sagged 18.9% in the back half of `02, and an audit report shows its initial reports of circulation in 2001 wrongly padded actual newsstand sales by around 10%.) Despite the hiccups at Stuff and inevitable slowing of its ad page growth (which for '01 was a torrid 43.9%), the year turned out neatly for Dennis, with Stuff and Maxim accounting for a sweet 6.8% increase. With Maxim's ad pages looking like they're settling into the 1,200-1,300 range, Dennis' next plans lie with the 2001 start-ups-Blender and The Week, neither of which has been audited-as well as a forthcoming, as-yet-unnamed movie magazine that is flirting with using the Maxim brand. The Week, in particular, should win some kind of Men's Health-theme award for consistently executing a very tightly defined editorial product. Music magazine Blender saw some staff turnover at the beginning of '03 and must reckon with the vagaries of covering-and winning ads from-an industry in violent flux. Nonetheless, the extraordinarily tired sitcom line "It's crazy, but it just might work" appears applicable to all of Dennis' new titles, to say nothing of its colorful founder, Felix Dennis.

Rating: 3 stars

Best performer:

Stuff

ad pages

up 15% to 756.5

circulation

up 2.4% to

1.1 million

Worst performer:

Maxim

ad pages

up 2.3% to 1,223.7

circulation

down 1.6% to

2.5 million

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