MAGAZINES SURGE TO RECORD IN '97 WITH PAGES UP 5.2% : LARGE-CIRC TITLES HELP PUSH $$ GROWTH TO 13-YEAR HIGH

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Magazines ended 1997 on a high note, with a record 231,370.64 ad pages, up 5.2% over the previous year, according to yearend figures released by Publishers Information Bureau.

Ad revenue was up 13.1%, the highest growth rate since 1984, to $12.75 billion.

"The reason growth is higher for revenue is we had very good, strong page growth in some of our largest-circulation magazines," said Donald Kummerfeld, president of Magazine Publishers of America. "One page in [Time Inc.'s] People magazine is equal to many, many pages in smaller magazines."

STRONG ECONOMIC NEWS

The industry as a whole benefited from a strong economy and strong ad climate, he said, adding that he is "cautiously optimistic" for 1998.

"Year-to-year comparisons will not be as high since we had such a strong year in 1997," he said.

Publishers have automotive; toiletries/cosmetics; and business and consumer services advertisers to thank the most.

Automotive increased by 13% over the previous year, to 24,294.49 pages. Toiletries/cosmetics boosted ad pages 5.5% to 16,711.08, while business and consumer services increased 10.5% to 20,152.40.

GROWTH FOR DRUGS & REMEDIES

Drugs and remedies, another booming category in 1997 that may not perform as well in 1998 due to loosening of TV restrictions, placed 23.9% more ad pages-10,614.49-than the previous year.

Computers, office equipment and stationery, which had been a growing category through the mid-'90s, was down slightly to 20,969.23 pages, a 1.9% decline from 1996. Direct response, another mainstay category, was flat at 24,777.25 pages.

Electronic entertainment equipment/supplies emerged as a smaller but promising category, up 22.2% in ad pages to 4,887.81.

Ziff Davis' PC Magazine, which posted the most ad pages of any publication, remained virtually even with the year before at 6,061.37.

Forbes, which had the second-largest number of ad pages, was up 2.5% to 4,662.84. McGraw-Hill rival Business Week was up 5.9% in ad pages at No. 3 overall, with 4,114.39.

Two Time Inc. titles ended up in the No. 4 and No. 5 slots, with People posting a 7.8% gain, to 3,998.89 pages, and Fortune ending with 3,599.77 pages, a 7.9% improvement.

`TIME' TOPS NEWSWEEKLIES

The newsweekly winner for most ad pages was Time, up 16.2% to 2,781.11. Newsweek, up 4.5%, ended the year with 2,647.21 ad pages. U.S. News & World Report was up 2% to 2,124.42 ad pages.

Of the seven women's service titles, Meredith Corp.'s Better Homes & Gardens had the most ad pages, 1,925.26, up 6.4% over 1996.

Sunday magazines ran a total of 5,470.06 ad pages in 1997. Advance Publications' Parade was up 4.9%, to 681.98 pages, while Gannett Co.'s USA Weekend was up 11.9% to 673.55 ad pages.

The Los Angeles Times Magazine was down 13.2% in ad pages to 999.11, while The New York Times Sunday Magazine was up 3.6% to 3,115.42.

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