For years Ad Age's Magazine A-List honors were grounded in metrics such as ad pages and circulation, but these days consumers and marketers are demanding more of their media brands, so those are no longer the only way to gauge success. This year AdAge looked for magazines that were truly operating as magazine brands, whether that meant making smart licensing moves, becoming retailers in their own right, creating revenue-generating digital content, building smart cross-media content and ad platforms, or finding a way to engage and monetize their communities. The winners in the AdAge report are getting ready for a new era – and, AdAge believes, are worthy of emulation.
Rodale's Women's Health is this year's big winner! Why? Because it is a true 360° magazine brand, as AdAge explained. Its free website, for example, is, in terms of visitors, ahead of Fit Coach and the Abs Diet for Women, which charge membership fees. The Women's Health brand's third annual "Are You Game?" event attracted more than 60 000 women and nine sponsors last Summer. Women's Health is also publishing two books in the second half of 2010 and plans to publish somewhere between six and ten more books each year going forward. All are just some of the reasons why Women's Health is Ad Age's Magazine of the Year.
Women's Health has also delivered its publisher, Rodale, new advertising in women's fashion and beauty: ads in the October issue promoted brands including Clinique, Garnier, Tresemme and Aveda. Ad pages in the issues from January through October 2009 only fell 14.4% from the same period in 2008 whereas US monthlies overall fell almost 22%, according to the Media Industry Newsletter.
Also, magazines overall saw newsstand sales fall 12.4% in the first half, but Women's Health increased newsstand sales 8.7% to 333,463 copies (1.5 million rate base).
Lastly, Women's Health has another major asset: Men's Health, the magazine brand from which it was spun. "There's no doubt Women's Health had a jump-start when it launched because of brand recognition," as Jack Essig, senior VP-publisher of both titles, told AdAge.
For a complete overview, please check out AdAge's Magazine A-List website.