Those areas include medicines and proprietary remedies and financial services.
"There are no signs in the economy that are truly worrisome, and all the fundamentals appear as if they will remain strong" through the year, said Christine Miller, VP-marketing at the Magazine Publishers of America.
Prescription-drug advertisers continue to fuel growth, with the medicines and proprietary remedies category up 14.8%, to 7,941.58 pages. Three marketers in particular helped boost spending-Pfizer, Warner-Lambert Co. and Schering Plough Corp.
Each was up more than $20 million in spending compared with last year, Ms. Miller said.
"And there are more new products to come," she added.
Financial advertising was up 10.4%, to 8,550 ad pages, mainly due to increased spending by credit card marketers.
While the computers and software category overall is up a modest 4.6%-to 8,772 ad pages-so far this year, the subcategory of online and Internet services is up a whopping 81.6%.
"Whether the dot-com business will persist is anyone's guess," Ms. Miller said, noting that the category is up in spending more than $170 million, almost doubling last year's business.
"Could it double again? Actually, I think it could. . . . We're at the early life stage of this," she said.
DIRECT RESPONSE FALLS
Three of the top 10 categories were weak as the quarter ended. For the period January through September, direct response-the No. 2 ad page category-was down 7.4%, to 16,700. Cosmetics and beauty aids-at 5,972 ad pages-is down 5.9%, a continuation of softness that has persisted all year.
That is mainly due to Revlon reducing ad expenditures and fewer product introductions, noted Ms. Miller.
Ready-to-wear was down 4.9% for the nine months, to 9,478 ad pages.
Overall, McGraw-Hill Co.'s Business Week leaped to the top with 3,235 ad pages thanks to an 18.1% increase, surpassing usual list-toppers such as Ziff-Davis' PC Magazine and Conde Nast Publications' Bride's. Forbes gained 2.8% to reach 3,087 ad pages, while Time Inc.'s Fortune was up 2.8% to 2,916 ad pages.
Fashion magazines, despite the softness in the ready-to-wear and cosmetics and beauty, nearly all posted growth in the third quarter.
'VOGUE' IS FASHION LEADER
In tallies for the make-or-break September issues, Conde Nast's Vogue tops the fashion category, up 11.6% to 2,183 ad pages. Time Inc.'s In Style snagged the No. 2 spot after a 30.2% growth spurt that racked up 1,601 ad pages.
Hachette Filipacchi Magazines' Elle was flat (down 0.4%) at 1,472 ad pages. Fairchild Publications' W was right behind Elle with 1,460, a 3.9% gain.
Hearst Magazines' Harper's Bazaar was up 6.0% to 1,152 ad pages.
Time led the newsweekly category with 1,979 ad pages, up 7.6% compared with the last nine months of last year. Newsweek grew only 1.6% to 1,719 ad pages, while U.S. News & World Report was up 3.9% to 1,410 ad pages.
Meredith Corp. retained its lead in the women's service category with Better Homes & Gardens, which is flat compared to last year (up 0.8%) at 1,373 ad pages. Meredith's second title, Ladies' Home Journal, was down sharply (12.1%) to 926 ad pages.
The pair of titles owned by Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing also were mixed in their performance. Family Circle, at 1,018 ad pages, was up 3.1% while McCall's was down 1.2%, to 723 ad pages.
Hearst Magazines' two titles were both up-Good Housekeeping, at 990 pages, grew slightly (0.5%) while Redbook outpaced last year by 6.3%, to 883 ad pages.