Last May, inVocus took a look at the top tier magazines based on interest or genre. While industry experts debate the structure of the business model for today’s print magazines, there’s no debating the reader loyalty of these glossies. Topping the list this year are magazines that cover sports, home décor and life after 50.
Looking at weekly and monthly magazines with the highest circulation rate base, it looks like several other genres are giving women’s interest publications a run for their money this year. Not reflected in this higher echelon is the explosion of popularity in food magazines. While you’ll find plenty of them in wide variety, they are still mostly small indie pubs without the visibility of Food Network Magazine.
In descending order, we’ve listed some of the most popular weekly, bimonthly and monthly magazines according to circulation rate:
Parade - The target audience for this publication is split pretty evenly down the middle for both men and woman, while the median age of readers is roughly 50.7. Rate base weekly circulation: 32,400,000.
AARP Magazine – Readers for all editions are about equally split among male at 41.6 percent and female at 58.4 percent. Rate base bimonthly circulation: 23,748,475.
USA Weekend – In a fairly even split, 44 percent of this publication’s readers are men and 56 percent are women. The median reader’s age falls at 51. Rate base weekly circulation: 22,654,682.
Spry: Targeting health conscious baby boomers, this magazine has an audience that is predominantly women at 80 percent with a median age of 51. Rate base monthly circulation: 9,231,280.
Dash Magazine – Targeting readers who are 25 to 54 years of age, the majority of this magazine’s readers are women with a median age of 45.7. Rate base monthly circulation: 8,000,000.
Better Homes and Gardens – Roughly 78.1 percent of the readership is women, while 57.6 percent falls between the ages of 18 to 49 with a median age of 47. Rate base monthly circulation: 7,644,011.
Athlon Sports – This publication targets sports enthusiasts and is distributed with the Chicago Sun-Times and other Sun-Times Media newspapers across the U.S. Rate base monthly circulation: 7,048,506.
Reader’s Digest – This publication targets Americans of all genders and age groups. The median age of readers is 52.7. Rate base monthly circulation: 6,112,811.
Game Informer Magazine – Targeting video game enthusiasts, this magazine has a readership that is predominantly male at 84 percent and has a median age of 27. Rate base monthly circulation: 5,073,003.
National Geographic Magazine – The readership is almost evenly distributed between males at 56 percent and females at 44 percent. The median age of readers is 45.6. Rate base monthly circulation: 4,493,024.
Good Housekeeping – This magazine has a predominantly female readership of 88.7 percent with a median age of 48.4 years. Rate base monthly circulation: 4,427,964.
Ladies’ Home Journal – This magazine has a median age of 55.8 with the majority of women readers being 30 or over at 95.4 percent. Rate base monthly circulation: 3,837,286.
People Magazine – The median age of readers is 41.1. Approximately 71.6 percent fall between the ages of 18 and 49, while 64.9 percent are between the ages of 25 and 54. Rate base weekly circulation: 3,553,420.
Time – The median age of its readers is 45.9 and readership is almost evenly distributed between males at 53 percent and females at 47 percent. Rate base weekly circulation: 3,312,484.
Cosmopolitan – About 85 percent of the readers are women, while 58.1 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34, and 27.9 percent are between 35 and 49. The median age is 31.4. The median individual income is $26,053 with 44.9 percent making at least $20,000. Rate base monthly circulation: 3,046,229.
ESPN The Magazine – The median age of readers is 33. Seventy-nine percent of readers are male and 45 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34. Rate base bimonthly circulation: 2,073,812.
Sports Illustrated – The median age of readers is 38, with 43 percent falling between the ages of 18 and 34. Its audience is mainly male, with 77 percent men and 23 percent women. The median household income is $63,595 with 40.6 percent bringing in at least $75,000. Rate base monthly circulation: 3,212,278.
Looking at the highest circulation only is a tricky way to measure the popularity of magazines. Titles like Parade, USA Weekend, Dash and Athlon Sports are inserts into daily newspapers, which don’t necessarily reflect the same readership numbers as newsstands. But the rising interest in sports and food this year is an interesting trend. The million dollar question is: will we ever see the rise in real estate magazines that we saw in 2007? Probably not anytime soon.
– Rebecca Bredholt