Report: Gay Press Ads Growing Three Times Faster Than Consumer Magazines

By: E&P Staff Advertising spending on gay-oriented newspapers, magazines, and other publications targeting gays and lesbians grew nearly three times than spending on consumer magazines over the past decade, a report released Monday said.

According to the 2006 edition of the Gay Press Report, ad spending in gay and lesbian publications last year was $223.3 million, an increase of 5.2% over 2005 and an increase of 205% since 1996. By contrast, consumer magazines during the same 10-year period rose 47%. Calculating a compound annual growth rate for the two sectors, the gay press grew annually at 11.8% while consumer magazines grew at a rate of 4%.

"Over the past ten years, the gay market has become one of the most coveted demographics in the advertising industry," said Todd Evans, president and CEO of Rivendell Media, a gay media rep firm that jointly produced the report with Prime Access Inc., a multicultural advertising agency.

"Gay and lesbian consumers have more discretionary time than their straight counterparts, and Fortune 500 companies and local businesses alike are committing more and more advertising dollars to reach them," Evans added.

The report studied 131 "non-sexually explicit" titles. About half of the publications were weekly newspapers.

Ad spending on the gay press is overwhelmingly local, the report found -- with local newspapers capturing 52.4% of all ads. Newspapers were followed by local magazines, with a 21% share, and entertainment guides, with 19%.

The study found that 183 Fortune 500 brands bought advertising in the gay press, up from 150 in 2004 -- and 19 in 1994.

Advertisers are aiming the ads more specifically at gay and lesbian readers, the report says. Advertising that made "unmistakable references to a gay and lesbian target audience through images and/or messages" accounted for 48.6% of all ads in 2006. While that was down 3.4% from 2005, the report noted it was up significantly from 2002, when just 9.9% of ads had "gay-specific" content.

"This year's report confirms how, in just one decade, gay and lesbian consumers have gone from an overlooked niche to an audience that Fortune 500 companies are working overtime to reach," Howard Buford, founder and president of Prime Access, said in a statement. "The numbers make it clear that corporate America recognizes and values both the spending power and influence of gay consumers."


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