Readers of the National Journal pay $455 a year for the publication, the highest subscription price of any magazine. Now the Washington weekly is going to see whether advertisers as well are willing to pay top dollar.
After surviving for years strictly on subscription income, the magazine plans to sell advertising starting with the Oct. 16 issue.
A full page ad will cost $2,900 -- cheap by the standards of other national magazines but a staggering 60 cents apiece for National Journal's 5,000 paying subscribers.
For that price, an advertiser could send a first class letter instead, but publisher John Fox Sullivan contends his magazine's intense readership and impressive demographics justify the relatively high cost.
"Advertisers aren't going to buy National Journal on the basis of cost per thousand (readers)," the usual basis for measuring the cost of advertising in competing publications, Sullivan said.
For one thing, each copy is read by an average of 10 persons, which splits the stiff subscription price and multiplies the advertising impact.
Also, National Journal subscribers are one of the most exclusive audiences in the country. The White House takes a stack, the House and Senate office buildings are prime territory and more than half the subscribers live in the Washington area.
The weekly's political clout far exceeds its financial success, however. National Journal's $2.2 million a year subscription income barely covers its editorial budget, says Anthony Stout, chairman of Government Research Corp., National Journal's parent company.
Stout and Sullivan carefully surveyed their readers before deciding to sell ad space. When they found no objection, they hired Washington Journalism Review founder Roger Kranz as ad director.
Kranz is making his pitch primarily to "issue advertisers," the companies, unions and trade associations that toot their horns in the Outlook section of The Washington Post or the op-ed page of The New York Times.
Except for books and magazines, no product ads will be accepted and -- again with the exception of publications -- all ads will be a full page, black and white.
The target is five or six pages of advertisements per issue, Kranz said.Meeting that goal will bring in between $750,000 and $1 million a year. And since the publication is already paying its own way, that's virtually all gravy.
The Washingtonian has a 15-year head start in advertising sales and is setting records with its September issue.
The 332-page Washingtonian is the fattest issue ever. Its 180 pages of ads are another record. For the year, Washingtonian advertising is up 229 pages at a time when most general circulation magazines are far behind last year because of the recession.
With a circulation of over 129,000, Washingtonian says its 10 percent penetration of the local market is better than any other city or regional magazine. Washingtonian claims its readers have a median household income of $50,470, and says that's better demographics than The New Yorker or Smithsonian.
When business is that good, somebody else is bound to horn in on it, and sure enough, another new local magazine is about to be launched.
It'll be out next month under the title Washington Goodlife.
Gimmick number one is that Goodlife is a franchise, the magazine equivalent of McDonald's, one of 60 planned to serve every city with a population worthy of being called "upscale".
The home office will print the magazines and sell national advertising. The local franchise, based in McLean, will sell local advertising and provide local editorial copy to wrap around a batch of national features that will be the same in every city.
Although Washington Goodlife Publisher Allan Dunphy says he will compete with Washingtonian and Dossier, the concept is more like that of Washington Calendar, an ill-fated attempt to produce a national magazine with local ads and features.
Gimmick number two is that Goodlife will be what is known in the trade as a "controlled circulation magazine." In other words, they'll give it away. But not to just anybody. Computers already have selected 60,000 households deemed affluent enough to appreciate the good life and hopefully Goodlife.
If you don't get Goodlife in the mail next month, don't ask. Your life isn't good enough. Move to a neighborhood with a more exclusive zipcode.
Investment opportunities are the meat of Penny Stock News, a weekly published in Columbia by Jerome Wenger.
So-called "penny stocks" are cheap shares, "the $2 window on Wall Street," as one analyst calls them. With inflation, "penny stocks" are shares of any companies selling for less than $5 a share. Most of the penny stocks are new issues, coming on the market at $1 or $2 a share, sometimes less.
Launched a couple of years ago as Penny Stock Newsletter, the tabloid has professionalized its graphics, picked up advertising and prospered. Which is more than can be said for the penny stock market.
Denver is the Wall Street of penny shares and things are truly rocky out there. Two of the biggest Denver brokers have been indicted so far this year for rigging stock prices and other affronts to investor confidence. New issues have dried up. Until recently the two-bit mining stocks that make up much of the penny market were as depressed as the prices of gold and silver.
If times weren't hard enough, Penny Stock News had the misfortune this summer to add a new market columnist, an anonymous author specializing in wave theories of stock market performance.
Analyzing the 50-year cycle much beloved by wave theorists, the fearless forecaster spotted a major turning point coming in the market. By no later than mid-August, he predicted, the Dow Jones average would take a nose dive.
Good timing, bad direction. At the anointed hour, the market turned not down, but straight up -- better than 100 points in two weeks. All the investors who took the wave watcher's advice could do was wave goodbye to their money.