Small Is Beautiful

Magazine ad pages dropped slightly in 2006, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, and the state of publishing doesn’t do much to raise the confidence of media buyers. This winter Time Inc. shed employees like pine needles off a Christmas tree. Titles like Hachette Filipac chi’s ELLEGirl moved online, while Hearst’s Shop Etc. and Weekend, were abandoned.

A look at smaller publications is more cheerful. Highly targeted and deeply connected with their audiences, niche magazines are doing brisk business by offering advertisers more loyal and engaged readers than large consumer magazines.

“You know you’re getting a focused market,” says Anita Malik, editor and founder of East West, a 20,000-circulation magazine for Asian-Americans. Her publication started online. Since expanding to print, she has attracted advertisers by pointing out that her readers have the highest average income in the country and are the fastest-growing ethnic group.

Since East West only runs about 88 pages per issue, advertisers are sure to be seen, Malik says. In fact, “because we’re small, we may be exclusive to your industry,” she says.

C. James Dowden, executive director of the City and Regional Magazine Association says niche subscribers have much more “stick-to-it-ive-ness,” and think of their regional magazine as being more “with it.”

That can mean better market penetration, Dowden adds.

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