Folio 500: An Exclusive Tally of the Magazine Industry's Biggest Money-Makers

By McDougall, Paul | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, September 15, 1993 | Go to article overview

Folio 500: An Exclusive Tally of the Magazine Industry's Biggest Money-Makers


McDougall, Paul, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


The Best and the Biggest

But even for the Folio: 500, flat ad and circulation revenues added up to another tough year in 1992. For some lucrative niches, however, like computers and personal finance, the recovery arrived early.

Media Monopoly?

The Top-10 Companies' Share of Total Ad Dollars

1992

Time Warner Inc.                $1,523,710,880     19.2%
Hearst Magazines                   649,929,249      8.2
Conde Nast Publications, Inc.      571,862,251      7.2
The New York Times Co.             508,865,204      6.4
Parade Publications                449,194,391      5.7
Hachette S.A.                      370,761,227      4.7
Meredith Corporation               367,984,404      4.6
News Corp.                         299,125,899      3.8
Newsweek, Inc.                     258,390,890      3.3
Times Mirror Magazines, Inc.       251,615,572      3.2

Total                           $5,251,439,967      66.0%

1988

Time Inc.                       $1,315,520,808      20.4%
Hearst Magazines                   532,728,407       8.3
News Corp.                         465,617,386       7.2
Conde Nast Publications Inc.       437,644,347       6.8
The New York Times Co.             326,786,737       5.1
Meredith Corporation               276,519,752       4.3
Hachette S.A.                      275,995,128       4.3
Parade Publications                266,501,811       4.1
Newsweek, Inc.                     241,714,100       3.8
McGraw-Hill Publications           227,319,850       3.5

Total                           $4,366,348,326      68.0%

Where the Profits Are

Top Categories(*) by Circulation: 1992 Totals

1. General Editorial     108,050,000
2. Women's                60,150,000
3. Newsweeklies           35,180,000
4. Shelter                27,023,000
5. Mature Market          23,978,000

Top Categories(*) by Ad Pages; 1992 Totals

1. Computers              82,514,000
2. Medical/Surgical       36,668,000
3. Women's                31,245,000
4. Elec. Engineering      26,608,000
5. Newsweeklies           18,680,000

* As defined by Standard Rate and Data Service

It's still the economy, stupid.

The jobless recovery that had consumers and advertisers pinching their pennies through 1992 is the big reason why magazine revenues have yet to stir, some early promise notwithstanding. "It started off looking rosy," says Marty Walker, a New York City-based publishing consultant. "Then it hit the wall again." Indeed, Publishers Information Bureau reports that advertising page counts for the first half of 1993 are only slightly ahead of last year's anemic tally.

Still, more than a few titles posted robust numbers in 1992--in spite of the malaise. You'll find them at the top of our list of the industry's 500 biggest revenue generators. At seventh-ranked Newsweek, for instance, 1992 ad pages grew a healthy 8 percent over the previous year. Why the jump? Execs at the weekly say that even in this age of narrowly targeted marketing, a big reach can still mean big profits. "The combination of class and mass is unbeatable," says editor in chief/president Richard Smith.

And for some entire niches, all of the gloom is someone else's problem. …

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