Ad Dollars Spent Targeting Gays Continues to Rise
|Advertising spending in gay publications rose for the fourth consecutive year to $120.4 million, a 20.2 percent increase over 1997. Mulryan/Nash reviewed the advertising and editorial content of 152 gay-oriented magazines and newspapers in the U.S. to complete its fifth annual Gay Press Report. A complete copy of the report is available at www.mulryan-nash.com.
Gay publications continue to out-distance both mainstream newspapers and magazines in advertising revenue growth. According to the Newspaper Association of America, mainstream newspapers have grown only 5.6 percent year-to-date, while mainstream magazines have experienced a nine percent increase in ad revenue, according to American Demographics magazine.
This years revenue estimates of gay publications are based on a sample of 152 publications, up from 138 in 1997. Gay publications included in this report comprise National Magazines, Local Newspapers, Arts & Entertainment Guides and Other" Publications, primarily newsletters and resource guides.
As in previous years, Local Newspapers accounted for the largest share of advertising revenue in the Gay Press, currently at 50.9 percent of the total market. However, this figure is down from 61.5 percent a year ago. "We have looked at the spending in these newspapers and magazines for five years now, and the trend continues to be, as Tip ONeill said about politics, All advertising is local," said Dave Mulryan, president of Mulryan/Nash, the New York-based advertising agency which conducted the study. "The largest advertisers are local, community-based entities. The question that will determine the fate of these papers is will large national advertisers use these vehicles for national campaigns? The answer to that question is unknown at this point."
Of the notable trends uncovered in the report, one in particular stands out: the fact that advertising and editorial are shifting away from the downbeat, HIV/AIDS and death-related content in favor of forward-thinking, life-affirming themes. As people living with HIV/AIDS continue to live longer and healthier lives (for the first time since 1991, AIDS is not one of the top ten causes of death in this country), advertising for funeral parlors/cemeteries and editorial space devoted to obituaries experienced declines for the third consecutive year.
The pharmaceutical industry continued a recent trend of significant ad increasesup to 2.5 percent from 1.6 percent of the total ad space in 1997in order to promote more manageable and effective HIV therapy options.
As AIDS-related deaths decline, editorial content and advertising noted a shift to an emerging theme in the gay and lesbian communityparenting. Growing numbers of lesbians and gay men are making the decision to bear, father or adopt children. And as HIV-positive individuals experience a potential new lease on life, they join with these evolving gay families to bolster a growing market for long-range future interests from home decor to job recruitment, investments to real estate. Advertising in all of these categories increased between 1997 and 1998.
Other areas covered by the report include circulation, detailed analyses of editorial and ad content, and in-depth statistics on ad spending.
Mulryan/Nash is a communications consulting firm with expertise in advertising, public relations, investor relations, marketing and corporate relations.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 2, March 12, 1999