Top 10 Monthly Mags of 2010: Print Back in ‘Vogue’

By Greer Jonas

The worst of times appears to be over. On Nov. 23, 2009, min reported that only 10 of the 150 monthlies in our year-end boxscores were up in ad pages.

Conditions are better in 2010. Of the 149 monthlies tracked in the just-released 2010-versus-2009 boxscores, 99 are ad-page up–nearly 10 times the size of last year. Sure, a big part of it has to do with comparisons to last year’s miserable numbers, but overall there is guarded optimism toward continued improvement in 2011.

Here are the top 10 monthly performers in 2010, based on ad-page gain, plus a review and outlook from the publishers (note that #3 Elle Decor and #9 Elle are together): 

1) Vogue

On  top of the ad-page growth chart is Vogue, with +318 pages and a +16.04% differential.  The result is no surprise as Vogue made the minonline monthly top 5 throughout 2010. Says VP/publisher (since November 2009) Susan Plagemann: “We saw our business grow particularly in our endemic categories, as fashion, beauty and retail companies recognize the unique voice that Vogue has in the marketplace." Plus, “we had tremendous success with the relaunch of"

2) People StyleWatch

What is impressive about StyleWatch, along with its ad success in 2010, is its being the only top 10 monthly that had a positive differential in 2009.  Publisher (since February 2010) Karin Tracy tells min: "StyleWatch had a record-breaking advertising year. Each issue since March was up by double-digit percentages. We had our largest issue ever in September with 135 ad pages, with the [just-released] Dec./Jan. issue second with 126. We’ve had great success with breaking new accounts, and we’re continuing to see this trend in the new year."

3) Elle Decor

The Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. rebound is highlighted by the 2010 ad-page gains of Elle and Elle Decor. Latter’s +288.46 pages represent an impressive +34.65%. VP/brand publisher (since 2009) Barbara Friedmann tells min: “In a challenging business environment, our advertisers supported the brand they most believed in and, in turn, our responsive readership supported our advertisers. It’s a win-win scenario.”

9) Elle

Elle ended its 2010 ad-page rebound with +190.82 pages from 2009. Elle’s success, VP/brand publisher (since June 2010) Kevin Martinez tells min, “can be attributed to the fact that Elle really offers innovative media solutions and marketing programs for our advertisers, and gets them in front of consumers who are passionate about their personal style." An Elle highlight was its 25th anniversary U.S. celebration in October.

4) Harper’s Bazaar

The new David Carey/Michael Clinton-led Hearst Magazines hierarchy can count Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire on the fourth and fifth slots of our top 10. HB SVP/publisher Valerie Salembier tells min: "We really went back to the basics this year [by] listening closely to our clients and trying to find ways to help them achieve their goals. The result was an increase in pages of 18% year over year, with 172 pages of new business coming mainly from our endemic categories of fashion and beauty." Salembier says HB developed some unique signature events, most notably the Accessories Bazaar during [September’s] Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, which was sponsored by Willow Club.

5) Marie Claire

With 219 additional ad pages and a 19.47% gain over 2009, Marie Claire shows its renewed fashion strength. "The MC brand remains more relevant than ever as our slogan, ‘If it Matters to Women, It’s in Marie Claire,’ is resonating with readers and advertisers across multiple touch points." says VP/publisher Nancy Cardone. "From redefining the medium of print with the MC Cling to developing first-to-market iPad apps, our commitment to editorial excellence and advertising innovation puts Marie Claire at the center of the conversation–both now and in 2011–among stylish, accomplished and affluent women."

6) InStyle

InStyle finished the year +190.82 ad pages for a +8.64% differential (+19% in the beauty/fashion "core" categories). InStyle publisher (since January 2009) Connie Anne Phillips says that the success is due to a significant growth in luxury business. New advertisers that did not appear last year included Saks Fifth Avenue, Marc Jacobs and Bulgari. Plus, with 2,512.05 ad pages at year-end, IS repeats as the women’s fashion sector’s champ. 



7) Real Simple

Real Simple  had +199.19 ad pages and a +13.81% differential versus 2009. Says publisher (since February 2008) Kevin White: “Real Simple‘s growth in 2010 is a result of our advertisers’ appreciation for our continued relevance, along with new edit franchises, and strategic selling on behalf of our sales and marketing teams. We experienced growth across our key categories, with significant gains made in our beauty business.”

8) Chicago

In response to our query about Chicago landing in our top 10 chart for the year, Chicago publisher/general manager Rich Gamble tells min: "[We] managed to be in the company of such great national publications. We grew in most categories due to our organization’s increased focus on innovation and our customers’ needs. We also introduced new content across a variety of topics and redesigned the magazine." In addition, the 124-ad-page December issue marks Chicago‘s 40th anniversary with the theme 40 Reasons to Love Chicago. "The real answer to how we did it comes from having an incredibly talented, creative staff focused on excellence," says Gamble.

10) Parenting Early Years

Last year, Parenting took a chance by splitting into two issues: Parenting Early Years and Parenting School Years. Both pubs did well in 2010, with Parenting Early Years  reaching the top 10 with +170.77 ad pages and a +21.60% differential.

VP/group publisher Greg Schumann says: "Reengineering Parenting  [into two demographics] perfectly positioned the title for significant ad recovery in 2010, with strong wins for Early Years within the packaged goods category, while School Years continued to grow business in the food space. Both versions have won exclusive victories in kids’ retail, apparel and footwear—categories that hadn’t been historically strong for the Parenting Group in the past." Additional new advertisers included Gap, Mercedes-Benz, Baby Phat,, JCPenney,, Volkswagen and OshKosh B’gosh.

See more analysis in min along with our complete 2010 year-end chart.




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