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Food and computer advertising set the pace in 1995 as consumer magazines fattened up on the bounty of another all-time record year-208,378.4 total ad pages, up 5.1% from a year ago.

The official tally from Publishers Information Bureau marked the second consecutive year of 5% or greater ad page growth. The year also reached another milestone with total ad revenue at $10.01 billion, up 12.1% and the first time the tally has burst the $10 billion barrier.

"The year in general was a very good one for advertising," said Jim Guthrie, exec VP-marketing at the Magazine Publishers of America. "Publishers needed that to minimize the extraordinary impact of paper costs that came on top of the postal increase."


Autos remained the largest ad category in revenue but were up only 4.4% in pages to 22,055.6-slowed by a dismal 12% drop in the final month. The paper and postage costs that hurt publishers' bottom lines also afflicted the No. 2 category in revenue-direct response companies-which nevertheless led in total pages, on a 2.4% decrease to 24,000.2.

That softness was more than offset by surges from the No. 4 category, computers, up 22.7% to 18,170 ad pages, and No. 6, food, up 20.8% to 8,008.

In the individual magazine category races, several titles saw their figures adjusted from earlier unofficial estimates (AA, Jan. 1), but PC Magazine kept the overall crown, at 6,632.6 ad pages, up 1%.

Food titles remained hotter than chili peppers. The advances were across the board, translating into big gains for Eating Well, up 36.9%; Bon Appetit, up 31.7%; Cooking Light, up 27.2%; and Food & Wine, up 15.7%. The category leader remained Gourmet, at 1,189.3, even though it was up only 4.2%.


The three-year run of Forbes as ad page champ ended despite the business title's 9.4% gain in ad pages to 4,542.1. Forbes bested its two main competitors, Fortune and Business Week, and in an ad in The New York Times Jan. 11, via Merkley Newman Harty, heaped mock praise on Fortune for finishing No. 1 among the trio in the "soaps, polishes and cleansers category."

Fortune unleashed an editorial blast in its Feb. 5 issue in the form of a cover story that hit Steve Forbes' presidential aspirations.

Despite the heat generated by business magazine ads of late, the hottest growth last year was in magazines covering computers and family. Obviously skewed by increased issues, Computer Life in its first full year of monthly publication counted 1,569 ad pages, up 265% over '94 when it published only three issues. Family PC upped frequency to 10 times after two issues in '94 and piled up a 357.6% gain to 1,330.3.

"The market is going in our direction," said Barry Briggs, publisher of Family PC and until mid-1995 associate publisher of Computer Life.

In Sunday magazines, Parade posted the biggest gain, 3.3% to 740.12 ad pages. It reported PIB revenue increases of 15.2%.

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