Just How Healthy Is The New Yorker?
The rumor mill has been churning recently about the health of one of my favorite magazines, The New Yorker. There’s no question that almost all magazines are hurting, especially those owned by Condé Nast, but the question remains as to how badly The New Yorker is being wounded by this recession.
While interning with the production at The Atlantic, I’ve learned about the way that specific issues of magazines can by compared through analysis of their advertisements. There are two specific measurements that are particularly telling: the ad-to-edit ratio and the ads in the beginning of the magazine. Each magazine has a specific balance of ads and editorial content that it strives for in each issue. The most expensive ads are in the beginning of the magazine. For an anecdotal, qualitative approach, I’m looking at two issues of The New Yorker.
May 18, 2009: This is most recent issue of the magazine. Of 86 pages, only 13 were ads, at 15.1%. The rest was editorial content, taking up the remainder of 84.9%. Some advertisers request that their full page ads are in the first 20% and other request placement in the first third, so I looked at which ads were place in the first 25% of the magazine. In this issue, there was BMW, Fidelity, Verizon, RoC, and their “showcase,” which has a lot of small ads in it.
July 21, 2008: The famous “terrorist fist-jab” cover. This magazine comes to us from a past where the print media looked far less dead than it does at this moment. Though we were officially in a recession last summer, every sector of media was riding the wave of interest in the Presidential Election. So, was the magazine in better shape? The first sign is that the magazine had over ten more pages, clocking in at 98. 23 pages were ads, giving the issue 23.5% ad content and 76.5% edit content. In the first quarter appeared: Citi, Embassy Suites, Mercedes, Chevron, Vanguard, Westin Hotels, Verizon, Express, and two spreads — Exxon Mobil and Bridgestone.
This is obviously not an exhaustive study, and it would be difficult to draw conclusions from this data alone even if it was taken from magazines over a period of several years. I even pulled out another issue from 2007 and it fell in between the two looked at here on both counts. However, it is interesting that these two issues diverge so greatly.
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