Magazine A-List 2009

The Week Is No. 7 on Ad Age's Magazine A-List

Title Gets Strong With Growing Ad Pages and Omnivore's Point-of-View

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- 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.
William Falk
Jed Hartman
You can imagine why. While aggregators get all the attention online, The Week is aggregation in print. What's more, it tells you news you haven't already heard a thousand times all week. It somehow delivers the news in its own voice even as it slips in and out of the sources from which it derives its content. It provides smart takes from the left and the right, eschewing a partisan point of view for an omnivore's. And it does it quickly: The Week is a fast read in a world that doesn't easily allow time for much else.

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.

1. Women's Health
2. Better Homes & Gardens
3. Family Circle
4. The Economist
5. People
6. Essence
7. The Week
8. Backpacker
9. Cosmopolitan
10. National Geographic
And The Week is still offering its Total Transparency Plus program, which offers third party ad-effectiveness research on marketers' ads both in The Week and elsewhere in their media plan. Media buyers love it.

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.

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