The magazine industry isn’t just about magazines anymore. Sure, that original wireless device (that needs no charging, ever, by the way) is at the heart of it all, but more and more publishing companies are transitioning to media companies—meaning there’s digital and tablet editions, even branding opportunities and merchandising partnerships.
When Ad Age set out to determine its 2013 Magazine A-List winners, it considered magazines not just for their success in print, but also their willingness to innovate beyond the traditional medium. Of the ten titles that made the list, these are our picks of the ones to watch.
Men’s Fitness: This men’s magazine vs. competitor Men’s Health has been a longstanding battle since both were established in the ‘80s. For the longest, Men’s Health held the upper hand across the board, but under the guidance of former editor David Zinczenko, Men’s Fitness is emerging as a force to be reckoned with, thanks to surging newsstand sales and ad pages.
EatingWell: This food magazine has been one of our favorites since before Meredith took ownership. With the backing of the bigger publisher, EatingWell is hitting its stride, and the July/August issue is on pace to set a record with newsstand sales. As the former indie title takes its place in the national food and health conversation, its partnerships with health-care providers and major brands have been a major source of growth.
Women’s Health: This women’s fitness magazine made Ad Age’s A-List in part for its editorial excellence, but maybe even more impressive is its attempts to reach readers and potential readers in unlikely ways, such as through its Run 10 Feed 10 fitness-fundraising push that teams up with FEED projects to provide meals and raise money to help end hunger.
InStyle: One of the two repeats from last year’s Ad Age A-List, this fashion bible continues to test the potential of social media. It’s providing tablet-exclusive content and asking readers to weigh in on its Social Media Awards. The popular women’s fashion magazine is also entering into branded merchandise. It’s “Perfect White Shirt” measures fit by bra size, meaning no more tugging or unsightly gaping.
Esquire: There’s digital, then there’s what this men’s magazine is doing. While most publications have revamped resources to invest into websites and tablet editions, Esquire goes out and creates its own television network. It might sound kind of out there, but there are several tie-ins with the magazine. For example, reader-favorite sections “Women We Love” and “Best Bars in America” are being adapted into network specials.
Bon Appetit: The other repeat from Ad Age’s A-List from a year ago seems to have put the controversial editorial changes of a few years ago behind it. The food magazine boasts an increase in ad pages—counting several luxury brands among them—a redesigned website, and events that unite top chefs and restaurants. For its all-around success, Ad Age dubbed Bon Appetit its “Magazine of the Year.”