July 18, 2013 6:05 pm

Fashion magazines swell to prodigious sizes in September

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This September, fat is the new black for fashion magazines.

Packed with hundreds of pages of ads, the much-anticipated issues are weighing in as some of the thickest books to date. September issues of fashion magazines are considered one barometer of health in the magazine industry, as they draw a mass of fashion and beauty marketers who are eager to buy ads next to fashion forecasts for the cold-weather season.

The issues mark a recovery after the financial crisis, when frugal fashion advertisers slashed spending. Ad pages in Condé Nast’s Vogue plummeted by more than a third to 429 pages in 2009, down from 2007, when Vogue celebrated its record-setting September issue which included a total of 727 ad pages – 840 total pages – and weighed in at 4lbs, 9oz.

But publishers should not pop the champagne cork yet, as the rest of the year isn’t looking so rosy. Challenged by the shift of ad budgets to digital outlets, consumer magazines reported a 5 per cent dip in ad pages during the first half of the year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Publicis’s ZenithOptimedia expects ad spending on consumer magazines to drop 3.2 per cent in 2013 followed by a steady decline in subsequent years.

Some highlights:

Condé Nast

• Vogue will publish the second-largest issue in its 121-year history, with 665 total ad pages, up 1 per cent from 2012

• W will include 288 total ad pages, a 17 per cent gain from 2012 and the magazine’s largest issue in five years

Hearst

• Elle is boasting its largest September issue, with 442 ad pages, a 12 per cent increase from 2012

• Harper’s Bazaar will include 397 ad pages, a 10 per cent increase from 2012 to mark its largest issue and its 16th consecutive issue of growth

Time Inc

• InStyle is set for the largest September issue in its 19-year history with 455 ad pages, up 3 per cent from 2012

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