Monday, November 19, 2007

Women's magazines buck trends, sizzle

A writeup in Time magazine (Nov. 12) suggests women’s magazines are bucking industry trends by thriving. Ad revenues in one division of the Hearst Corp.—the division that publishes O and Cosmopolitan along with 17 other titles—increased to $2.5 billion from $841 million over a ten year period. Freelancers can take heart because this field, dominated by glossies, tends to pay more than creative, literary or news oriented publications.

Readers basically are bombarded with information in these content-laden (and ad-heavy) periodicals. I know because I have two daughters. I contribute to the well-being of these magazines by having more subscriptions than we can possibly read. I am at least two weeks behind on both Time Magazine and months behind on National Geographic. But our femme mags are dogeared within days of trotting into the home. We often hit high points with the information onslaught. Recently my husband received a cucumber facial, courtesy of our younger daughter. I am holding onto the photo of my man with his face covered in perfectly symmetrical cucumber slices. This photo is a powerful weapon. He won’t admit it, but his face really did look more youthful when the veggies came off.

Read women’s magazines and you will know what to cook for every meal, even if all your guests are from Morocco. You will be inspired to go on any number of special diets guaranteed to remove tummy flab. You will not be inspired to remain on those diets. You will learn things you never knew about sex, even if you have a long time mate and have reasonable levels of creativity. You will also read mountains of spiritually moving stories penned by women who have overcome every conceivable obstacle, including having 14 kids stuck in a 1500 sq. ft. Fargo home when the snow is higher than the barn and you can stand in front of the mirror and watch your eyes take on the sheen Jack Nicholson displayed so well in The Shining.

A managing director at a New York brokerage firm told Time everybody thinks the Internet is…where things are happening, but women’s magazines aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Unless that is, you’re the mother of daughters and all of you want to know what’s hot in colors for the upcoming season. Lots of attention from these quarters, and from 74 million readers of Hearst Corp.’s glossy content as well.

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