Announced this month, Ad Age recognized the A-List magazines that have excelled at meeting a challenge, turning things around, building new businesses or just setting a consistent editorial and business example one more time. Vogue, the 12x/year publication, has been named the 2011 Magazine of the Year. “For 118 years, Vogue has been America’s cultural barometer, putting fashion in the context of the larger world we live in- how we dress, live, socialize; what we eat, listen to, watch; who leads and inspires us.”
The A-List has changed significantly from 2010 to 2011. The 2010 A-List is below:
01. People Stylewatch
02. The Atlantic
03. All You
05. Food Network – Bumped up to # 3 in 2011, the only title to remain in the top 10
08. Elle Décor
In 2010, the focus was on culture, lifestyle and fashion (including budget –friendly options). These publications also delivered a lighter message to the reader. While in 2011, the focus is now more on the economy, business, lifestyle and of course fashion. While they have a few newcomers to the list, they have still focused on established publications that continue to grow despite the odds.
The 2011 A-List from Ad Age:
No. 10: The Economist
“The Economist increased its paid subscriptions another 5% in the first half and grew total paid circulation 3%, to 844,000.” The Economist was the 2008 Magazine of the year. This year the Economist introduced Economist Education which is a set of electronic learning courses focused on emerging market. “It also has 1.2 million Twitter followers and 800,000 Facebook fans.” The Economist continues to be a leader in the global news.
No. 9: This Old House
“Call it a case of the right magazine at the right time. Advertisers kept flocking to This Old House despite the economy and housing market, because people may be buying new houses less, but they’re nesting, remodeling and aspiring more. Ad pages through the October issue increased 16.8%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter, helped a little by one more issue in 2011 than 2010.”
No. 8: The New Yorker
“At a time when there are questions about how much people will pay for content, The New Yorker, with its circulation of 1 million, keeps proving that quality has customers. Its single-copy sales rose 1.2%, despite a $1 price hike to $5.99 and an industry-wide downdraft at newsstands, and its subs are up, despite a $10 price hike to $70.” The digital side of The New Yorker is continuing to grow now having 27,000 iPad-only subscribers which pay $60 a year or $6 per month and also they have 189,000 paying readers together with iPad, Kindle, Nook and digital editions including print subscribers who have activated digital access.
No. 7: National Geographic
This magazine has been around as long as I can remember. “Editor Chris Johns was our Editor of the Year in 2008; the magazine appeared on our A-List in 2008 and 2009. And it’s having another great year. Newsstand is up 5%; ad pages are up 14%. And it enjoys the admiration of its peers, winning Magazine of the Year at the 2011 National Magazine Awards and receiving nominations for photography, news/documentary photography, feature photography and best single-topic issue.”
No. 6: Monocle
Monocle is a newer magazine that launched February 2007, focused on global affairs, business, culture and design. “Monocle this year is making its first appearance on the A-List. With paid circulation of just 66,000, this is no mass-market play, but its 204 pages every issue are filled with flawless editorial, luxury advertising, brand extensions and confidence in print. Revenue is rising; profitability arrived last year.”
No. 5: Vanity Fair
“Vanity Fair is enjoying its most profitable year yet thanks to growing ad pages, circulation, newsstand and digital revenue. While some magazines lean on bulk sales, sponsored sales and public-place copies, 99% of Vanity Fair’s subscriptions are paid for directly by the subscriber. It’s big on Hollywood, but just as long on essential reporting about the economy and businesses from News Corp. to Groupon.”
No. 4: Garden & Gun
“Another newcomer to the list, and another example of what niche publishing can do, Charleston-based Garden & Gun practically begged urban Northerners to joke about its unusual name when it launched in 2007. But the magazine that styles itself the “Soul of the South” looks like it will have the last laugh, with ad-page growth on a tear, circulation still climbing and a National Magazine Award for General Excellence.” Garden & Gun is a magazine that is shaped around the Southern way of life. This magazine helps create the idea of how to live an engaged life with the Southern surroundings.
No. 3: Food Network Magazine
The only magazine to make the list from 2010. The magazine launched in 2009 and has continued to grow and make a name for it. “Food Network magazine has grown from a test issue in October 2008 to a giant with paid circulation nearing 1.5 million and still seeking its cruising altitude. Food Network is back on the list after ad pages through October surged 13.8%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter, newsstand sales added 5% and total circulation grew 5.2%.”
No. 2: Time
For the first time in 20 years, Time stopped the press last week after the announcement of Steve Jobs passing, reworking the issue to be dedicated to him. “Challenges keep mounting for the news business in general, and for news weeklies in particular. So even if Time’s 16.1% newsstand gain reflected external events like the royal wedding, and even if its subscription growth had something to do with absorbing subscribers from U.S. News and World Report, we say there’s something to be said for having the strength, smarts and position to capitalize. Still a big, iconic print brand where readers turn when major news happens, Time was also recognized this year for digital excellence, suggesting it’s got a bright future too.”
The Magazine of the Year: Vogue
“It’s easier to grow when you’re new and relatively small, but when you’re this established and you grow anyway, you’re doing more than a few things right. Vogue increased its January-to-October ad pages more than 9% and boosted its big newsstand component almost 13% over the first half of last year, partly but not entirely on the strength of a great Lady Gaga cover in March. Its September issue killed again with 584 ad pages. And Vogue’s role off the page — most recently with the latest installment of Fashion’s Night Out — keeps expanding as well. Vogue is our Magazine of the Year.”