Mag Bag: Razing the Bar

Is TV Killing Magazine Liquor Ads? The upswing in advertising for alcoholic beverages on cable TV would seem to be bad news for magazines, which traditionally dominated the market--but is it? The question is complicated, and depends on what kind of alcohol is being advertised. Even within specific categories, it's hardly a zero-sum game.

There is no question that TV is profiting from the end of a voluntary ban on alcohol advertising in 1996. According to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University, which tracks ad spend by medium, TV ad budgets for alcoholic products increased by 32% from 2001-2005, translating into $780 million in 2001 to more than $1 billion in 2005.

Cable TV is driving the boom, with ad dollars up from $156.7 million in 2001 to $441 million in 2005. Distilled spirits (hard liquor) advertising has grown especially fast, increasing 2,300% since 2001 to $121.5 million.

But magazines have taken a hit in hard-liquor advertising, which declined about 6% between 2001-2004--falling from $254 million to $239 million. Still, it's not all bad news for magazines--or good news for TV.

While magazines are seeing hard liquor ad dollars erode, beer companies are pouring it on, boosting spending from $31 million in 2001 to $65 million in 2004. Wine companies are also upping their budgets, from $29 million in 2001 to $47 million in 2004.

Prevention Gets New Editorial Director for Web Site

Nicola Bridges has been named the editorial director of Prevention.com--the companion Web site to Prevention magazine, one of the country's leading health magazines. The move is part of publisher Rodale's larger restructuring of its print and online business. Bridges will be in charge of creating content that relates to the magazine, but also expands on it. Previously, she served as vice president of editorial programming for iVillage.

Publishing Group of America Seeks Fulfillment

The Publishing Group of America, publisher of newspaper magazine inserts American Profile and Relish, has hired a fulfillment agency to help with the processing of orders, inventory management and product shipping. Since 2000, the circulation of American Profile has expanded from about 1 million to 9 million, and the company has partnered with Pro Flowers, Big Idea Entertainment, Time-Life and Gardener's Supply to market products related to magazine content.

San Diego Magazine Launches Web Portal

San Diego Magazine, covering travel and leisure in Southern California, has launched a new regional Web portal for the magazine, as well as related magazines like Travels, San Diego At Home, Charitable Events Registry, and Medical Guide. San Diego Magazine, published by CurtCo Media Labs, has an audited circulation of 54,000. The new Web site was produced in partnership with Godengo, Inc.

Mainline to Launch

A new magazine covering culture, leisure and lifestyle along Philadelphia's Main Line is launching this January. Produced by the editorial team behind Bucks, the first issue of the new publication will include a tour of Vanderbilt's mansion and profiles of various Mainline residents made good, including Sixers President Billy King.

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