In a Brutal Media Climate, Gay Press Ad Revenue Jumped 13.6% in 2009

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Advertising spending for gay-oriented newspapers and magazines jumped 15.6% in 2009 to a record $349.6 million, according to a new study.

The increase in ad revenue at LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender) media came during a period when print newspaper ad revenue plunged 28.6% and consumer magazines ad spend fell 15.6%.

“The numbers do not lie, and even I was surprised at how gay media held its own in such a tough market,” said Todd Evans, president and CEO of Rivendell Media, an ad placement firm for the LGBT press. “Gay media sales have always doubled in past recessions as companies focus their media on their best customers. While we didn’t see that kind of increase this year, the numbers are still significant.”
According to the 2009 Gay Press Report by Rivendell and the advertising agency Prime Access, the number of ads in the LGBT press fell by 6.8% compared to 2008. Advertising revenue increased, though, because of the placement of larger ads overall.

Since 1996, according to the study, LGBT advertising revenue is up 377%.

The 2009 ad revenue increase also came despite lower circulation of LGBT newspapers and magazines. In 2009, the study found, there were 251 issues released by the LGBT press the firms track, 27 fewer issues than in 2008. Combined circulation plunged 27.6% from 2008 to 2,387,750, the study found.

According to Prime Access and Rivendell, the percentage of ads that are “gay-specific” — those that portray gay and lesbian consumers in artwork and/or text – reached an all-time high of 61.9% in 2009. By contrast, in 2002 just 9.9% of ads in the gay press could be called gay-specific.

The complete study can be accessed here.

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