Mag Spotlight: Popular Science

The September issue of Popular Science is the largest issue revenue-wise in the magazine's history. "It may also be [the largest] in pages," says Publisher Gregg Hano. But he's not sure, as such records for the 133-year-old title become sketchy prior to, say, 1900.

Hano credits the ad boost at least in part to the magazine's win in the "General Excellence" category at the American Society of Magazine Editors (the 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 circulation segment) back in May. Apparently, it seems that advertisers care about such accolades. "I believe that more sophisticated buyers and clients do," he suggests.

Couple that with the magazine's anticipated 60-plus-page "The Future of the Car" feature this month, timed for the traditional fall rollout of new lines from Detroit, and Popular Science is benefiting nicely.

"GM came in and bought a ton of pages," says Hano, in support of its "American Revolution campaign" and others. Plus, the magazine saw new advertising commitment from Cadillac, Saab, and OnStar.

September continues what has been a very strong year for the magazine business-wise. Ad pages are up a whopping 18 percent through July of this year. That growth follows an overall resurgence for the venerable title in recent years. The magazine underwent an editorial revamp following Time Inc.'s acquisition of it and all other Times Mirror properties in late 2000 (the group now falls under Time Inc.'s Time4Media segment).

"The Future of the Car," like last year's "The Future of Aviation," is expected to receive a ton of publicity. "We also got very, very lucky, and got picked up by 'Anderson Cooper 360°,'" says Hano. Cooper's nightly CNN news show is running a five-part series this week highlighting the piece (it helps that Time Warner owns both companies).

Besides September's "Future of" feature, the magazine's December issue, "Best of What's New"--a roundup of the top 100 technologies in 12 categories--is expected to be highly sought after by advertisers.

The magazine has become far more service-oriented since its editorial revamp, boosted by the popular H2.0 sections on intricate do-it-yourself projects. Hano says that will continue. "You are going to see a lot more service, more buying guides."

More "Future of" issues are planned, including one on the human body.

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