Boom Times For Gay Papers

Editor & Publisher, Thursday, September 27, 2007 11 AM
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While much of the newspaper business is in a deep funk, it is the best of times for gay newspaper publishers, with steady increases in advertising revenue as fewer mainstream companies shy away from the medium.

According to the Gay Press Report, ad spending in gay publications, about half of them weeklies, was up 205% between 1996 and 2006 and last year's ad revenues of $223.3 million were up 5.2% over 2005. This at a time when ad spending on daily newspapers is essentially flat. "I think it's a great time to be in gay publishing," says Tracy Baim, publisher of the Windy City Times in Chicago. "It's so much easier than it was even 10 years ago to pitch to mainstream businesses."

For instance, 13 years ago, only 19 Fortune 500 companies advertised in the gay press, a number that ballooned to 183 by last year. Oddly, ad spending in gay papers actually declined by almost 18% between 2002 and 2003 in the wake of 9/11 and a series of closures of ill-fated start-ups. Now, there are far fewer startups, but also fewer closures, notes Sue O'Connell, co-publisher of Bay Windows, a Boston weekly. "Our profit margins are not as high as the dailies -- so we've been living in the real world all along."

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