Magazine Trends

June 6, 1986

Report Outline
The Crowded Marketplace
Demographics of Publishing
The Struggle to Thrive
Special Focus

The Crowded Marketplace

From American Health and Working Mother to American Photographer and Food & Wine, The Guide to Good Taste, there are now more magazines published in the United States than ever before—11,090 at last count. Publishers have rushed to serve special interests, especially those of affluent young Americans, whose spending habits are reflected in publications devoted solely to jogging, gourmet cooking or other “upscale” pursuits.

“The proliferation of special interest magazines and departmentalization of general purpose magazines to reach these special interests,” William F. Gorog, president of the Magazine Publishers Association, has noted, “has been a phenomenon of the last 10 years.” The ultimate significance of the phenomenon is unclear. It may be that the fragmenting of American magazines bespeaks a fragmenting of American society, a new preoccupation with self at the expense of the larger community. But whether that is so or not, there is no doubt that magazines have been avidly pursuing every special interest that bounds into view.

In 1984, the advertising-rich year of the Olympics and the presidential election, magazines had a very good year: Advertising revenues for the 142 magazines then in the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) totaled $4.7 billion, the highest ever. But last year, although ad revenues climbed a bit higher, to $4.9 billion, ad pages were down and so, yet again, were store sales of single copies. While no cause for widespread panic, these downward movements, with their hint that there may be limits to growth, have made the magazine industry at least a little uneasy. There is more need than ever before, said Leo Scullin of Young & Rubicam, a leading New York ad agency, for “careful and astute management” of both magazine advertising and circulation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Journalism, Newspapers, and the Media
Jan. 28, 2022  Misinformation and the Media
Oct. 02, 2020  Social Media Platforms
Sep. 18, 2020  The News Media
Aug. 24, 2018  Conspiracy Theories
Jun. 09, 2017  Trust in Media
May 30, 2014  Digital Journalism
May 03, 2013  Media Bias
Apr. 26, 2013  Free Speech at Risk
Apr. 12, 2013  Combat Journalism
Nov. 2010  Press Freedom
Oct. 08, 2010  Journalism Standards in the Internet Age
Feb. 05, 2010  Press Freedom
Mar. 27, 2009  Future of Journalism Updated
Jun. 09, 2006  Blog Explosion Updated
Jan. 20, 2006  Future of Newspapers
Apr. 08, 2005  Free-Press Disputes
Oct. 15, 2004  Media Bias
Oct. 10, 2003  Media Ownership Updated
Dec. 25, 1998  Journalism Under Fire
Jun. 05, 1998  Student Journalism
Sep. 20, 1996  Civic Journalism
Sep. 23, 1994  Courts and the Media
Aug. 24, 1990  Hard Times at the Nation's Newspapers
Jan. 19, 1990  Finding Truth in the Age of ‘Infotainment’
Aug. 18, 1989  Libel Law: Finding the Right Balance
Jun. 06, 1986  Magazine Trends
Oct. 12, 1984  News Media and Presidential Campaigns
Jul. 15, 1983  State of American Newspapers
Oct. 23, 1981  High Cost of Libel
Dec. 23, 1977  Media Reforms
Mar. 11, 1977  News Media Ownership
Jun. 21, 1974  Access to the Media
Dec. 20, 1972  Newsmen's Rights
Aug. 16, 1972  Blacks in the News Media
Dec. 15, 1971  Magazine Industry Shake-Out
Jul. 18, 1969  Competing Media
Sep. 02, 1964  Politicians and the Press
Dec. 04, 1963  Libel Suits and Press Freedom
Jan. 09, 1963  Newspaper Mergers
Dec. 20, 1961  Reading Boom: Books and Magazines
Dec. 02, 1959  Privileged Communications
Apr. 25, 1956  Newsprint Deficit
May 06, 1953  Government and the Press
Sep. 21, 1948  Press and State
Sep. 05, 1947  Newsprint Supply
Mar. 26, 1947  Facsimile Newspapers
Dec. 10, 1945  World Press Freedom
May 01, 1940  New Experiments in Newspaper-Making
Nov. 04, 1933  Press Freedom Under the Recovery Program
Consumer Behavior
Print Media