Total spending in LGBT publications jumped 13.6% from $308 million in 2008 to $350 million in 2009 -- a remarkable performance, especially considering the adverse conditions in the economy at large.
For comparison's sake, overall consumer magazine ad spending fell 17.5% in 2009 compared to 2008, while total ad pages plunged 25.6%, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau.
On that note, the LGBT ad revenue increase accompanied a decrease in the number of ads, which fell by 6.8%, reflecting a trend toward larger, more expensive ad placements. It may also reflect an increase in prices for LGBT advertising, as niche media leverage their special connection with LGBT consumers to demand more premium rates.
Indeed, Rivendell found that the proportion of "gay-specific" ads in these publications (meaning ads that portray LGBT consumers or target them overtly) have increased from about 10% of all ads in 2002 to 62% in 2009.
In national gay publications, the proportion has risen to about 90%, suggesting that advertisers are seeing significant ROI from ads that actively engage with LGBT identity.
Separately, the number of gay publications tracked by Rivendell increased from 130 in 2008 to 136 in 2009. However, gay publications suffered during the economic downturn. A number of big titles closed, including Genre, while The Advocate and Out have changed hands several times, with a steadily decreasing price tag, followed by a move by new owner Here Media to bundle the two publications. That diminished The Advocate as a stand-alone title.
These woes are reflected in a drop in overall circulation for LGBT media, which fell 27.6% from roughly 3.3 million in 2008 to 2,387,750 in 2009.