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By Published on .

Marketers' increasing interest in gay consumers is proving a boon to gay print media, where ad revenue has soared 36% to $100.2 million in 1997, according to the fourth annual Gay Press Report from Mulryan/Nash, New York.

The growing strength of this print market, where ad revenue rose 19.6% last year and 16.2% in 1995, is fostering a number of deals for gay newspapers (see story at right). Newspapers account for slightly more than half the ad revenue in gay market specialist agency Mulryan's report.

The Mulryan study tracked 142 newspapers, magazines and other print venues. The research looked into trends in advertising and circulation, as well as editorial coverage, for the month of April and projected that snapshot to the entire year.


Ad revenue for newspapers was up 23.9% million to $56.2 million for the year; magazines rose 150% to $21.8 million.

Current interest in gay media is aided by increasingly strong ad spending by companies including United Airlines, Aetna Retirement Services, Subaru of America, Lotus Development Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp.

The fastest growing category, direct-to-consumer drug advertising from companies like Merck, SmithKline Beecham and Abbott Laboratories, soared 300% this year. Fueled at first by competition among the new class of HIV drugs called protease inhibitors, non-HIV products are now also making their way into gay media, such as Glaxo's new anti-smoking prescription product Zyban.

Pharmaceuticals ranked second among advertisers in national gay magazines and 18th overall.

Even with strong revenue, numerous ad categories remain weak or non-existent in the gay media. The Mulryan report noted that overall entertainment advertising made up just 6.4% of national advertisers, despite much space devoted to the subject in gay media, which the study breaks out as the largest area of editorial coverage.


"There is a real lack of arts and entertainment advertising in gay media, but they were the largest advertisers in the 'Ellen' coming-out episode-they quickly jumped on that and used it to their advantage," said agency President Dave Mulryan.

Total circulation for all gay publications climbed 15.9% to 2.74 million, though all that growth came from arts and entertainment guides and "other" types of publications. Newspapers fell 1.2%; magazines fell 20.6% due to a change in the

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