Revenue from advertising in most cases is obtained from monitoring services, including Publishers Information Bureau, Competitive Media Reporting, Perq Research Corp., Space Analysis Systems and the monthly Ad Age Consumer Linage Report.
For most unmonitored magazines, AA multiplies ad pages times one-time national b&w rates to arrive at gross ad dollars. This methodology is an industry standard. Where advertising is largely local, retail or various combinations thereof, AA works with the publisher to develop a gross revenue total for advertising.
Circulation revenue is the sum of revenues generated by subscription and newsstand sales. The various components in determining gross revenue (paid subscribers, sub cost, single-copy sales and newsstand price and frequency) come from various sources: Audit Bureau of Circulations, BPA International and directories on consumer, business and health publications from Standard Rate & Data Service. Data are confined to North America.
In a few cases where current-year circulation is not available, magazines either provide it directly or AA estimates circulation by applying a growth figure tied to the magazine's genre.
For association publications, circulation revenue is largely an allocation from membership fees. Publishers provide these dedicated amounts.
Magazines are sorted by their SRDS primary classification. Some straddle two categories and may periodically switch classification: Parents jumped from No. 49 women's to No. 38A parenthood this year to emerge as that category's top revenue-getter.
Data are collected on more than 500 leading magazines to arrive at the top 300. Each magazine reviews the data used to generate gross revenue.
Not included in gross revenues are sources outside traditional streams, the latest being ad-bearing Web sites. Web sites are offered by 166 magazines on the chart; 123 of those sites take advertising.
This report was compiled by R. Craig Endicott, Kevin Brown, Susen Taras, Maria Maslanka and Chris van Buskirk.