Just Another Magazine

Cemil Ozyurt
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According to a study done by “Mr. Magazine,” Prof. Samir Hüsni, chair of the Journalism Department at the University of Mississippi, 60% of all new, independent magazines in the USA endeavoring to bring something new to their readers end up folding within their first year in print. 
And of those that do make it through the first year, only 16% manage to stay afloat for more than five years.  In a guide he wrote, Samir Hüsni says that 324 new magazines were launched in 2006 and 342 in the first six months of 2007.  

In the battle to survive  being fought by US televisions, newspapers and Internet, magazines have managed to retain their important function.  According to data released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, in 1970 American magazines had a circulation of 244.7 million.  In 2006 the total circulation of 19,419 magazines had reached 369.5 million.  Of this circulation, 87% is accounted for by subscriptions and the rest by retail sales.    

While it was generally held that the importance of newspapers and magazines would decline in direct relationship with the growth of the Internet, this has not yet proven true.   The Internet currently has a 16.9 billion dollar share in the total 285 billion dollar advertising revenues brought in by direct mail, TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, outdoor and Internet advertising, while the total share of magazines in this advertising pie is 24 billion dollars.  Direct mail has managed to hold on to first place in drawing advertising marketing revenues, with a share of 55.7 billion dollars.

Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that the share of Internet advertising is growing at dizzying speeds.  When we compare the impact of television on people’s lives during the years spanning 1949-1960 and that of the spread of the Internet from 1995-2006, it is very interesting to note that television attracted 10.8 billion dollars in advertising revenues during its first 12 years,  while the Internet has attracted 16.9 billion dollars in that same amount of time. *

Let’s return to the topic of magazines.  According to statistics provided by the Magazine Publishers of America, America’s largest magazine association, three magazines have circulations of 10 million or more:  (AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin and Reader's Digest). AARP The Magazine has a circulation of 23.2 million. 86 magazines have circulations of one million or more.   

While there is a widespread belief that advertisements keep a magazine afloat, there is another factor that is just as important to the magazine as advertisements: subscription income.   

A survey of the 93 magazines that are members of the MPA revealed that magazine sales (subscription and retail) make up 45% of the share of total magazine income, while advertisements account for 55% of the share.  According to MPA data, the total income from subscription and retail sales yielded a year end figure of 9.9 billion dollars.

Actually statistics show that the complaints about the number of pages devoted to advertisements voiced by some readers are not all that realistic.  In fact, a study carried out by Hall’s Magazine Reports on 148 magazines showed that 176,118 pages were devoted to editorial pages, with a result that 53% of the magazines were editorial and 47% were advertisements.

There are very many reasons why magazines are still among the first choices among advertisers. According to media analyst Erwin Ephron, ads placed in magazines are more effective than commercials broadcast on TV.   Ephron compiled an index that demonstrated that while–for example--a coffee commercial broadcast on TV has a Product User Index of  101, the index for the same ad when published in a magazine is 123.  Another interesting fact is that, according to a research study carried out among the 18-54 age group, the most trusted advertisements are those published in magazines, with an overall rating of 21%, while TV has a rating of 12% and the Internet of 7%.   

In 2006 Proctor & Gamble was the USA’s highest dollar advertiser with advertisements totaling 838.5 million dollars.  Second in line was the Altria Group with 418.3 million dollars.  The monies spent on advertising by America’s 50 largest advertisers equals 35% of the income of all magazines.  

The price of subscriptions has not changed radically during the years. While the average subscription price of a magazine in 1996 was $29.44, in 2006 this figure was $27.30.

It appears as though the number of magazines being published in coming years will continue to grow.  Those magazines that are directed towards specific audiences have a better chance of carving out their own niche.  This does not mean that every person with an original idea should go into the magazine trade.  As has always been the case, the most important criteria  are to have a very serious and carefully prepared business plan and sound content.   If the content is weak and the business plan inadequate, then the job relies entirely on the printing process, and that is something that just about every printer can manage. Of course it is very important to get through the first five years without too many bumps along the way.  And one last statistic:  A reader in America devotes approximately 44 minutes to reading one magazine. It’s our hope that you will devote more of your time to our magazine and we can drive that figure up.   

* IAB Internet Ad Revenue Report, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, Universal McCann.

(June 2007, 25th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07