NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- If our nod for People magazine is partly an ode to scale in a fragmenting media business, our honors for The Week reflect an appreciation for exploiting a narrow niche richly.
Having reached a respectable paid circulation guarantee of 500,000 copies, The Week now wants to moderate its growth so it can focus on profitability. After letting subscription prices dip in '06 and '07, The Week has again increased prices to a new high in '09, according to its filings with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. And subscriptions are holding up all the same, slipping just 0.2% from the first half last year to the first six months of 2009. Its small newsstand component, meanwhile, grew 131% to 4,209 copies.
|Increase subscription prices and let circulation growth slow in a bid for better circulation financials.|
|EDITOR IN CHIEF:|
It's all more than a little counterintuitive; shouldn't all these little bites and roundups from other sources work much better on the web? The same web that's made life so hard for many traditional weekly magazines? As it happens, The Week makes a nice case in point for those (including Ad Age) who say print media will always have a place. You could skim a web site, or many, to get much of the same information -- and you probably already do. But getting an edited, regularly scheduled, discrete bundle of content in your hands turns out to retain many of the advantages print once took for granted.
The Week's ad-page growth, meanwhile, is a welcome sight for eyes sick of seeing recession. Ad pages this year through the Oct. 2 issue topped the same period last year by 13.9%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. It's true that the 394 ad pages it ran in that period aren't much of a stack compared with more established titles, but we'll take growth where we can get it. New advertisers this year include Apple, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Porsche, Prudential and Toyota.
|2.||Better Homes & Gardens|
We're also fans of the redesign at the end of August, which added heavier cover stock, brightened the cover and introduced new emphasis on photography.
With so much chaos, contraction and attrition surrounding it in the media business, you almost have to love The Week, steadily mining the seam it's found among weekly news magazines. Founder Felix Dennis certainly does. It's the one title he kept in the U.S. when he sold Stuff, now closed; Blender, now closed; and (still publishing) Maxim.