Top 5 July Mags: Food Network Mag. Has Its Biggest Issue Ever

By Greer Jonas

Magazines’ July advertising pages seem to be taking a droopy tumble (cumulatively -1.07% in 2011), after six months of percentage gains. However, the good news is that our top 5 in July exceeds their publishers’ expectations. Three of which are repeats from June (Time Inc.’s PeopleStyleWatch, Affinity’s Trailer Life and Competitor Group’s Competitor). Hearst Magazines’ Food Network makes its top 5 debut with the biggest issue (115.18 ad pages) in its two-year history, and Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal republished in July after a year’s hiatus, resulting in a January-July 2011-vs.-2010 differential of +24.43%.

Of the 151 monthly magazines that min tracks, 71 showed ad-page gains and 80 were down. The year-to-date differential is +1.19%.

Here is min‘s top 5 chart based on highest ad-page gains and their profiles:

1. People StyleWatch

StyleWatch is a top 5 regular. Its inaugural July issue (69.34 ad pages) increases the fashion magazine to a huge year-to-date differential of +60.53%. “Based on the tremendous consumer success of the June/July 2010 double-issue [circulation is 940,977], it was an obvious decision for StyleWatch to add to frequency in 2011 with a standalone in July,” says publisher Karin Tracy.

“Advertisers have embraced July in a big way, with new business coming from Bumble & Bumble, Sunglass Hut, Zappo’s, Justin Beiber fragrance and more. Additionally, July includes a personal style editorial booklet, with exclusive advertising from Starbucks Frappuccino.”

2. Men’s Journal

Top 5 runner-up is Men’s Journal with its returning July issue carrying 65.43 ad pages. Publisher Michael Wolfe talks about MJ‘s success of the past year. “It is fueled by a number of factors, including strong audience growth among leading demos, our recent National Magazine Award [‘Leisure Interests’] and advertising increases in key categories including automotive, apparel, liquor, watches, and travel."

The active lifestyle of the MJ reader has attracted such new advertisers as Mercedes-Benz,  Amstel Light, Magellan, Cooper Tires, Nautica Apparel, Hilton Garden Inn, Gold Peak Tea, United States Postal Service, Starz, and Symantec. Wolfe also cites such promotional events as partnering with menswear company J. Hilburn to provide a custom-shirt experience to key clients who are also "influencers."

3. Food Network Magazine

Food Network publisher and chief revenue officer Vicki Wellington tells minonline that it is the #1 epicurean title on the newsstand (376,761 single-copy average in second-half 2010). The hugely successful July/Aug. ad pages are +35.57% versus July/Aug. 2010 with a +8.41% year-to-date.  “With a circulation rate base of 1.3 million, the magazine provides true 360-degree programs developing customized ideas and executions that harness the power of a top cable network, a robust Web site and, of course, our pages.”

New advertisers in July/Aug. 2011 are Cover Girl, Chrysler and Samsung. Diverse marketers want to be align themselves with the editorial content and Food Network stars (both in print and on TV), which are a big part of the appeal.

4. Trailer Life

Trailer Life takes fourth place in our chart with a +22.09% ad-page July, and a +20.33% year-to-date. Increased ad pages are due to TL‘s 70th-anniversary celebration as well as an ongoing contract of dealer sales that will continue for the next couple of months.

5. Competitor

Again in our top 5 lineup, Competitor has a +21.88% July and a huge +50.94% year-to-date. “Competitor is filling a great void created by an enormous shift in consumer behavior, says Competitor Group executive VP of media and publishing Andy Hersam.

"Ten years ago, runners ran. Period. The same could be said about bicyclists: they rode and little else. Fast-forward to today, and we’re living in a time where endurance athletes are no longer single minded-practitioners.

“Today’s endurance athletes are using fitness as an adventure, and advertisers are recognizing that Competitor is the most trusted media brand to reach the growing numbers of affluent participants in the sector.”

For more, see the premium story including the exclusive monthly boxscore chart for July.

Greer Jonas is managing editor of min.