'PARENTING,' 'BABYTALK' BOOST RATE BASES: BUT BRUTAL COMPETITION IN CATEGORY MEANS CPMS WILL STAY THE SAME

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Time Inc.'s Parenting and BabyTalk will raise circulation rate bases by 13% and 15.4%, respectively, with January issues. But, in an unusual move, neither will boost cost-per-thousand rates. Given the competitiveness of the parenting category, holding down CPMs makes sense. Parenting has a CPM of $48.96, while BabyTalk is at $43.31.

"There is no lack of advertising vehicles to reach mothers nowadays," said one ad executive who deals regularly with the parenting category. "With so many titles chasing after a limited number of ad pages, those that are established want to do more with what they have, and delivering more circulation is one way to do that."

CIRCULATION ON THE RISE

Both magazines increased circulation far ahead of expectations for the year, said Carol A. Smith, president of the Parenting Group, who added that subscribers are not being charged higher prices.

ABSORBING THE COSTS

"We are just going to absorb the cost," said Ms. Smith, who reports ad pages are up 10% through September.

"When we entered this year, none of us expected to see the [circulation] growth that we did. All along, we had been seeing natural growth and expected to gain 25,000 in subscriptions. But all the sources of new business were performing beyond expectations," said Ms. Smith.

Parenting's circulation rate base in January will be 1.3 million, while BabyTalk's will be 1.5 million. Respective color page rates for Parenting and BabyTalk are $56,300 and $63,400; b&w pages are $45,040 and $50,720, respectively.

Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Parents and Child have rate bases of 1.7 million and 698,000, respectively. K-III Communications Corp.'s monthly American Baby has a rate base of 1.65 million, and is the category leader for the pre-natal and first-year market.

"Advertisers don't love CPM increases, so they are happier if there is a CPM increase because circulation has gone up," said Judy Princz, senior VP-general manager of Gruner & Jahr's Parents and Child. "But with paper prices down, and

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