‘USA Weekend’ Reports Record Growth in 2004

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By: Jennifer Saba

Many newspaper companies saw only so-so advertising growth in 2004, but USA Weekend defied the odds and reported a record increase. The Sunday supplement that competes with Parade and Life magazine announced yesterday that ad revenue for 2004 jumped 9.5% over the previous year, to $416 million.

Advertising pages also grew 9.5% in 2004, “significantly outpacing the 3.8% average increase for all consumer magazines,” a statement claimed.

Why the rise? “Advertisers are looking for ads to appear in publications that get noticed and acted upon,” explained Marcia Bullard, president and CEO of USA Weekend. “We position the magazine to advertisers as a way to get response from readers.”

December proved to be the supplement’s strongest month, with ad-revenue growth of 23%. The roughly 24-page folio instituted a rate increase of 3.5 % in 2004 and another of 3.5% in 2005.

As for 2005, the momentum continued in January though February and March aren’t looking as strong. “We would love to think that December was a good omen,” Bullard said. But echoing other newspaper executives’ she added, “It seems unpredictable at this point. We’re cautious.”

The 20-year-old USA Weekend runs in 608 papers in the country with a total circulation of 22.7 million.

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