Revenue from advertising in most cases is obtained from monitoring services, including Publishers Information Bureau, CMR Rome, Perq Research Corp., Space Analysis Systems and the quarterly Consumer Linage Reports in Advertising Age.
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.
When advertising is largely local, retail or a combination of the two, AA works with the publisher to develop a gross revenue total for advertising.
Circulation revenue is the sum of revenue 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 segment.
For association publications, circulation revenue is largely an allocation from membership fees. Publishers provide these dedicated amounts.
Magazines are sorted by their current SRDS primary classification, except for computer/Internet magazines, which AA has grouped into a single category (this category also includes computer game magazines). Classifications for many publications are anything but static; many straddle two categories and periodically switch classification.
Data are collected on more than 400 leading magazines to arrive at the Ad Age 300. Each publication reviews the data used to generate gross revenue.
Not included in gross revenue are list rentals, ad-bearing Web sites or other non-publishing streams. Web sites are offered by 183 magazines on the chart and 139 take advertising.