Revenue at Top U.S. Titles Rises 3.1%, but Ad Pages Flat

Magazine 300: Paid Circ Edges Up 0.3%, While Pages Stuck at 2002 Level; Time Inc. Owns Three of the Top Four Publications

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CHICAGO ( -- Gross revenue for the nation's top 300 magazines rose 3.1% to $37.4 billion in 2006, according to Advertising Age's 18th annual Magazine 300. Magazines were more flat than fat: Ad pages fell slightly (down 0.1%) while paid circulation saw a meager gain (up 0.3%).
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Source: Ad Age DataCenter

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Digital Delivers for (Some) Publishers
For Average Consumer Mag, Internet Accounts For 3% of Total Revenue
Data: Top 10 Magazines
Plus Magazine Totals for 2006 and Digital-
Revenue Leaders

It's a shrunken industry: Magazine 300 ad pages last year -- 352,389 -- were a staggering 26.7% below their all-time peak in 2000. U.S. magazine employment is down 16% from 2000, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The top 300's ad pages have been essentially flat since 2002.

The Magazine 300 last year had the smallest percentage gross-revenue growth since 2002, when the ad business began emerging from recession. Magazines, to be clear, didn't take $37 billion to the bank. Ad Age's gross-revenue estimates are largely drawn from rate cards for advertising and standard subscription rates for circulation; advertisers and subscribers generally buy at discounted rates.

Time marches on
Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher, commanded the top two spots on the Magazine 300 with People (No. 1 for the sixth consecutive year) and Time.

Time Inc. had 22 magazines in the ranking (excluding magazines sold to Bonnier Corp.), accounting for 17.4% of Magazine 300 gross revenue and 9.3% of ad pages. Advance Publications, owner of Condé Nast and Parade, had 29 titles in the ranking representing 13.4% of revenue and 12.3% of ad pages.

Some magazines showed big gains. Top percentage growth in ad pages: Pace Communications' US Airways, up 114.9%. Biggest drop: Gemstar-TV Guide's TV Guide, down 35% after it overhauled its format and slashed its rate base.

No. 1 magazine in 2006 ad pages: The New England Journal of Medicine, with 4,692 pages. The New York Times Magazine came in second, selling 3,965 pages.

Various print magazines ceased publication over the past year, including Alpha Media Group's Stuff, Meredith's Child, Time Inc.'s Business 2.0, Condé Nast's Jane and Hachette's Premiere.

Also closing: American Media's celebrated Weekly World News. Grocery shoppers never again will know if the fabled Bat Boy runs for California governor or if Hillary Clinton adopts another alien baby.
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