The consumer magazine business -- battered but resilient after the recession -- is growing again, at least in the number of magazines being published. That's according to MediaFinder.com, an online database of U.S. and Canadian magazines owned by Oxbridge Communications, which says 193 new magazines launched in 2010, offsetting 176 closures.
Food magazines led the list of new launches with 28 new titles, including Northeast Flavor and ChopChop. Food was followed by regional magazines with 15 new titles, including Bel-Air and 944 Dallas.
The health category saw 10 new titles launch, including Livestrong Quarterly, while sports brought nine new titles to the table, including Athlon Sports -- a new, newspaper-distributed magazine from Athlon Sports Communications, which debuted in October with a circulation of 7 million. (Athlon said that makes it the largest sports magazine in the country.)
On the debit side, 176 magazine closures represented a sharp 70% drop from 596 closures in 2009, according to MediaFinder.com. One surprise -- the venerable Gourmet and the popular Domino.
The biggest losses came in the home category, reflecting continued weakness and uncertainty in the U.S. residential real-estate market: a total of 13 shelter titles closed in 2010, including Mountain Home and Home Miami. The lifestyle category saw seven titles cease publication, including Salt Lake Living.
MediaFinder.com also found that fewer magazines abandoned print for online-only publication in 2010, with 28 titles making the shift, down 65% from 81 titles in 2009.
While more new titles may be launching, 2010 has been a mixed bag for consumer magazines in general, reflecting a lukewarm print ad environment. According to the Publishers Information Bureau, total ad pages for the industry fell 1.3% in the first nine months of 2010, compared to the same period last year.
However, ad page comparisons have improved noticeably on a quarterly basis. After falling 9% in the first quarter, ad pages rose 1.1% in the second quarter and 3.6% in the third quarter, also per PIB.