Magazine article Insight on the News

Have Niche, Will Publish

Magazine article Insight on the News

Have Niche, Will Publish

Article excerpt

Magazines continue to multiply by dividing readers into evernarrowing niche markets.

It is sheer abundance. According to the Magazine Publishers of America, or MPA, 18,000 magazines now are circulating in the United States, with lots more on the way. Print is alive and well. Very well.

A record-breaking 1,067 new magazines were introduced last year, targeting every personal permutation of interest, outlook and income. There is Hero, which recently featured "Real Men Cuddle: Looking for Love in All the Right Places." There is egg -- in avant-garde lower-case letters -- which touts "the diary of a glam rock band." There are journals devoted solely to the cachet of Beanie Babies, vegetables and new books. Among the new entries, media-celebrity magazines dominate the field -- 127 of them were launched by publishers intent upon satisfying the American obsession with fame and its incumbent lifestyle (or lack thereof). New sports magazines follow with 124 launches; sex with 82; crafts, games, hobbies and models with 67; and computers with 54.

About the sex thing ... the category lost out to sports in 1996, regained its position in 1997 and slipped to third in 1998. It's not that we're losing interest after "a year of sex-filled political woes" says Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi who offers an annual review of new magazines. We're just inundated with prurient material. "There's more sex on television now, more sex in mainstream magazines. Look at the World Wrestling Federation magazine that kids can buy from any grocery store. …

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