GAY PRESS SETS PACE WITH 19.6% AD INCREASE

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The gay press-finding growth by landing major drug companies like SmithKline Beecham and enjoying continued strength from alcoholic beverage and fashion advertisers-continues to be the fastest-growing group in publishing, outpacing mainstream and other minority publications.

REVENUES UP 19.6%

Ad revenue for 138 U.S. gay and lesbian publications rose 19.6% to $73.7 million for the year through April, according to the third annual Gay Press Report from Mulryan/Nash, New York.

By comparison, the Hispanic press saw an 11% ad increase, although on a bigger base, to $186.5 million according to Hispanic Business. Target Market News, meanwhile, reported African-American publications up 3% to $860 million.

Mainstream newspapers were up 5.7% in 1995, according to the Newspaper Association of America, while Publishers Information Bureau said magazines rose 6.4%.

Gays and lesbians "are a group of very time-rich consumers, which is difficult to find," said agency President Dave Mulryan. "The most important growth has come from major drug companies, which have all of a sudden discovered the gay press. There's a whole series of new drugs that needs to fight for market share."

This year, drugs/pharmaceutical companies represented the fourth-largest category for gay magazines at 7.6%. New arrivals include Havrix hepatitis-A vaccine from SmithKline Beecham, Mead Johnson's Boost nutritional supplement and Glaxo Wellcome's 3TC AIDS drug.

The recent Food & Drug Administration approval of a new class of AIDS drugs brought in direct-to-consumer ads from Roche Laboratories' for Invirase, and others are expected to follow.

The success of the new AIDS drugs may affect the demise of another important ad category, viaticals. The decade-old industry, which buys life insurance policies from terminally ill patients at discounted prices, is ranked as the No. 1 advertiser for gay and lesbian magazines at 16.3% of revenues or seventh overall with 4.3%.

$16 MIL FOR MAGAZINES

Magazines controlled $16 million of gay press revenues, up 21.8% in 1995. Within that category, travel/events was second after pharmaceuticals, with 15.8% of revenues, followed by fashion at 9.6%. Liquor followed drugs/pharmaceutical companies closely with 7.3%.

The larger newspaper category, at $45.3 million of gay press revenues, rocketed up 61.6%. The top ad category was phone services with 13.5%, with bars/clubs No. 2 at 11.7% and classifieds at 9.2%. Travel/events came in fourth at 6.1%, followed by real estate at 5.1%.

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