Movie Magazines Grab Limelight

Article excerpt

Blockbuster movies and soaring boxoffice sales don't automatically translate into gains for the magazines that devote their pages to the big screen. But this year, at least, they haven't hurt, either.

K-III's Premiere and Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly (a title that covers more than just movies) are both up in ad pages and circulation, and independent upstart Movieline and Larry Flynt's irreverent Film Threat appear to be making some headway of their own, as well.

The publishers of these titles attribute some of their recent successes to the "hot" pictures that have been coming out of Hollywood over the past year, but they also point to the public's voracious appetite for tidbits about their favorite glitterati. "Audiences today are much more literate [about movies] than they used to be," suggests Film Threat executive editor Paul Zimmerman. Adds EW publisher Michael Klingensmith: "Movies are the subject that generate the highest reader scores in our own in-house studies."

Still, category members admit there is no direct correlation between Hollywood's prosperity and the financial health of the magazines writing about it. "A better year in Hollywood certainly means there's more capital around for advertising, but it doesn't immediately translate into print ads," says Movieline publisher Anne Volokh. "Magazines are only part of studio marketing plans."

So who gets credit for the gains these magazines are making? Essentially, the readers themselves. "This genre of magazines is hot because of the preoccupation of people age 18 to 49 with music, television, movies, etc.," Klingensmith observes. Advertisers are looking for the vehicles that will reach those consumers--and titles like Premiere, EW and Movieline have them.

"The readers of those magazines are heavy users of a lot of youth-oriented products," says Chuck Abrams, media director at McCann-Erickson L.A., which handles Columbia Pictures, "so the appeal as an advertising medium goes way beyond the endemic base."

According to the National Association of Theater Owners, total gross revenues for U.S. theaters jumped from $4.8 billion in 1992 to $5.5 billion last year. And through the end of August this year, the industry was tracking ahead of its 1993 performance by 3 percent.

As for the magazines themselves: Through September, Entertainment Weekly had posted 891 ad pages, a 23 percent jump over the same nine-month period in 1993. The monthly premiere had 510 ad pages, about seven more than last year. Both publications also showed circulation gains through the first half of the year, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. …