Maxim, FHM Claim Readership Momentum Esquire may have grabbed hold of some serious prestige after taking home four "Ellies" at last month's National Magazine Awards, but 'laddie-mags' Maxim and FHM continue to prove that what men really want are semi-naked photos of ex-actresses from Baywatch and the WB, along with lots of bawdy humor and shorter, graphics-heavy editorial. During a year in which young men have proven harder to reach, both titles showed strong audience growth in the latest MRI Spring 2004 study, and each was talking up their success. For the first time, Maxim's audience surpassed 10 million men. The six-year-old men's title saw its total readership climb by 180,000 (1%) to 12,817,000. That figure is nearly three times larger than once venerable GQ, which has recently gone more babe-oriented. "We look at the category very broadly right now," said Maxim Publisher Rob Gregory. "Our position is not to be the leader of the so-called laddie books, but to be the leader of all men's magazines." To Gregory, that includes titles such as Rolling Stone, Men's Health, and others beyond the usual suspects like Esquire. At the same time, FHM is claiming a victory of its own. It leads the category in percentage growth, posting a 12.3% increase in total audience, although from a much smaller base (FHM's audience is 4.3 million, 3.8 million men, according to MRI). "We are ecstatic," said FHM Publisher Dana Fields. "Especially considering how lousy MRI has been to other titles." Both FHM and Maxim are remarkably similar in demographics, each recording a median age of 27 with a median household income of around $64,000. When it comes to the coveted 18-34 demographic, Maxim has the highest reach among all MRI books, while FHM wins on concentration. FHM's success has been noticed by Maxim, but is not yet considered threatening. "They had a nice jump," Gregory said. "I can see them in the corner of my rearview mirror...but guys understand the concept of what is original and what is derivative. It doesn't worry me in the slightest." While FHM's Fields doesn't want or expect to catch Maxim any time soon in circulation, she cited ad pages as a place in which the two books may soon be on equal footing. Both titles believe that veteran books like Esquire (2.5 mill, average male reader age 45) and GQ (4.9 million, 34-year-old men) are fading. "The traditional model for men's magazines is hemorrhaging audience," Gregory said. "Men's Health, GQ, and Esquire each had double-digit losses. That tells you something about the old model." The MRI numbers are bearing out what these titles have been seeing for a while. "It just underscores what a shift that has taken place in the men's magazine market," said FHM publisher Dana Fields. "What the marketplace is saying is that the old books are old. The new books are modern, fresh, and written for me." For Maxim, the challenge will be to sell advertisers on the idea of Maxim as a category leader. "People think our audience is guys whose knuckles drag on the ground," he said. "We deliver more affluent men than any other magazine." Country Home Collects with eBay In July, Country Home, as it has for the last decade, will release its annual issue on collecting and antiquing. This time around, the popular issue will include survey data on collectors gathered through a unique relationship between the title and Internet auction giant eBay. "Every year, we do an issue dedicated to antiquing," said Carol Sheehan, editor in chief of Country Home. "This year, because of the widespread use of eBay, it occurred to me, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could go deeper?'" Fortunately for Country Home, eBay has conducted a survey examining the collector lifestyle with AC Nielsen since 2002. According to Mark Bequeaith, Consumer Insights manager at Meredith, eBay allowed Country Home to tailor specific questions on this year's survey that dove deeper into the collector mentality. "We added questions like, 'Have you ever collected anything out of a dumpster?'" he said. "Country Home wanted something we could project out to the total population." For eBay, it was an opportunity to get some friendly PR, and thus, no dollars were exchanged. "Basically, eBay and Country Home collaborated together to identify questions for the survey," said eBay spokesperson Eva Baran, who emphasized that this deal was not technically a partnership. "We had a common interest in collectibles." Country Home's Sheehan said that eBay, given its ability to allow quick searches for the most obscure of products, has revolutionized a once under the radar obsession. "Before eBay, (collecting) was 'on the road where you found it,'" she said. Now the pastime has reached unseen levels. "Everybody likes the thrill of the hunt (of collecting). "It's a way of life, a passion. One that is not limited to high-priced rarities. "You can collect lava lamps or antique silver," she said. According to the study, at least 25 million Americans enjoy the thrill of hunting for antiques. Two-thirds (66 percent) of these collectors are female. New Name for BPA Magazine auditor BPA International (Business of Performing Audits) is undergoing a comprehensive makeover, including changing its name to BPA Worldwide as of June 7. The company will also introduce a new master brand logo and complementary product-line logos, and will launch a completely redesigned and restructured Web site, www.bpaww.com. The new logo graphic--a globe with surrounding check mark--is meant to visually convey BPA's worldwide scope as well as its commitment to auditing accuracy, integrity, transparency, and timeliness. In all of BPA Worldwide's member countries and marketing materials, the new logos will be accompanied by a new "tag line": "Leading the World in Media Auditing." The BPA relaunch also includes an extensive trade campaign, including humorous full-page ads in Adweek, MediaWeek, and Brandweek, among others. According to Karlene Lukovitz--vice president, communications at BPA International--the company's revamped brand image is being driven by a need to reiterate just how large BPA's worldwide network is, as well as reminding the ad community that BPA does more than just monitor business-to-business magazines. "The diversity of products and services we have; we audit over 500 consumer magazines, a fact that is not that well-known," she said. Rodale Gains Weight from Diet, Prevention Publisher Rodale announced a 28 percent revenue increase in the first quarter of this year versus the same period in 2003, driven by The South Beach Diet franchise, as well as a 20 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in magazine ad revenue. Standout magazines include: • Prevention, which saw revenues increase by 23 percent year-over-year following a January 2004 redesign • Men's Health, named to AdWeek's Top 10 2004 "Hot List" of magazines in March while also receiving a 2004 National Magazine Award, was up 13 percent in revenues. • Runner's World, which saw increases of 47 percent in revenues and 15.8 percent in ad pages versus last year The South Beach Diet, (released April 2003) has now reached 7.7 million copies through its 24th printing while The South Beach Diet Cookbook had the largest initial print run for a cookbook at more than 1.5 million copies, and is now in its fourth printing with nearly 2 million copies in print. New Mags Not Really New Hundreds of new magazines are launched every year in the United States and Canada--but most are unoriginal, says a new study by Wooden Horse Publishing. Using the company's detailed magazine database, the study found that most new magazines are aimed at younger readers, with few aimed at the growing population of Americans over fifty.