Monday, 27 July 2009

the september "issue"

.: just how fashion forward is japan? this is the only september 2009 vogue cover i've found. model iris strubegger for vogue nippon september 2009 :.

while most of the fashion world await with bated breath for anna wintour's documentary/film "the september issue" (a behind the scenes look at how the september issue of US vogue magazine was curated), there exist a real "september issue" out there: ad revenues for this september's issue is down materially as compared to 2008. banks lost money, economy tightens, people lost jobs, consumers spent less, retail industry hard hit, retailers spent less on advertising to cut costs, magazines' ad revenues decline.

.: ad pages statistics, :.

according to, the number of advertorial pages taken out by retailers had fallen for most magazines. vogue's ad pages fell by about 37%, GQ fell by about 32%. these are the main source of income for magazines, and the september issue is traditionally jam packed with advertising. the issue goes on sale around 1st week of august, the time where retailers' discounting on previous season had ended and new collections in store.

magazine's circulation
retailers' reluctance to spend on print advertising is also partly due to reduced magazines circulation. vogue UK sells about 220,000 copies per month, french vogue 133,000 copies and US vogue at 1.2 million. UK's another magazine sells about 70,000 per half yearly issue (12mb if you download pdf doc). when i was in milan, someone said to me that one of the "popular" mens magazine in the UK sells about 7,000 copies per month. and i say this humbly, my blog has more hits per week than that.

when was the last time you bought a fashion/lifestyle magazine? mine was 3 months ago.

.: another magazine, issue spring summer 2009 :.

advertising costs
just how much does it costs to advertise? if i interpret this correctly, it costs US$128,220 for a one page advert at US vogue (i hate to think that's a monthly rate but then again they sell 1.2mil copies per month). another magazine charges £13,005 per page (12mb if you download pdf doc). now you know why there are so many adverts in our magazines.

and then there's the gradual shift towards online advertising. people want instant gratification, they can't wait till the end of the month for a hard copy magazine. vogue UK charges "£35 pcm" for a standard banner. pcm stands for per 1,000 views. so it is significantly cheaper to advertise online. but a "standard banner" only measures 468 x 60, which is this big:

and then there's the free publicity from blogs and forums, which shouldn't be underestimated. but the problem being it's free, retailers don't have much control over the end product appearing on blogs/websites. but i always believe there's no such thing as bad publicity, only no publicity.

change, that's probably the only thing constant about this economy. not waging a war against magazines, but i find it interesting, how behavioral patterns change. that said, i do look forward to "the september issue", anna wintour's documentary that is.

source / source / source / source / source


  1. I read through this and it is quite interesting.

    About when was the last time I picked up a magazine? I buy Vman whenever it hits the shelves and Esquire's Blackbook because I love their layout. I also like 10 men and Another Man but getting those in the US is four times the price of a regular magazine.

  2. cant wait for 'the september issue'. Saw the trailer,awesome. btw,great write up!

  3. i can't wait for the documentary too, its going to be fascinating

  4. AnOther claim sales of 70,000. Having worked in their offices for Dazed & Confused, I know this is absolute rubbish. Only trust the magazine circulation figures that are audited. All the others are 'enhanced'!

  5. anon: scandalous!!!
    do you know if the prices quoted for the ads are annual rates or per issue rates?

  6. Ah, funny you ask, was just about to post another comment on that. The ad rates you've quoted are the 'full rate' per issue. In the case of Vogue, the brands may pay near the $128,000 figure quoted. As you pointed out, they do have a huge (audited) circulation. Also, there is a rule of thumb that for every magazine bought, 4 people read it, so you could argue that potentially 5 million people will read a copy of American Vogue. AonOther, on the other hand, I know never gets anywhere near that £13,000 rate. basically, magazines have 2 rates - one for advertisers and one for PRs. The 'official rate' is for PRs. So, for example, if AnOther feature an article on Calvin Klein, they tell CK that the article is 'worth' £13,000 in promotion. In fact though, they do not charge CK this figure. I would guess it's closer to the 1k/2k mark. I know that before Arena magazine closed, they were charging as little as £500 per page. So, following your very interesting piece about the ad sales decline, I would expect a few more magazines to go before the year is out. Great article BTW!

  7. anon: that is fascinating insight! i guess this industry is like the others, it goes through consolidation too. the strong ones will survive, and the divide between luxury and everyday commodity will once again be more evident.

  8. Yes, I completely agree; consolidation and innovation. All the changes allow new forms of media to become stronger such as...blogs! keep up the good work! x


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