Age of Magazine Readers on the Rise

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The median age of readers of consumer magazines seems to be on the rise, having increased by more than 3 years between the spring of 2001 and spring 2009.

According to numbers from Mediamark Research & Intelligence, and crunched by MediaPost, the median age of readers of 90 leading consumer magazines has increased by an average of 3.1 years, while the age of the population at large has increased 2.1 years.

For readers of women’s magazines, the median age increased by 3 years, compared to 2.3 years for the female population in general. Some of the biggest leaps were seen by Harper’s Bazaar, which saw media age jump 6.9 years, Martha Stewart Living (6.4 years), Country Living (6 years), Ladies’ Home Journal (5.8 years), House Beautiful and Gourmet (5.7 years), Entertainment Weekly (5.4 years) and Bon Appetit and Health (5 years).

For magazines targeting men, the median age of readership jumped 3.5 years, compared to 2 years for the male population at large. Biggest increases were seen by Automobile (7 years), Hot Rod (7 years), and Road & Track and Field & Stream (5 years).

The median age of readers decreased for a number of magazines – some of them significantly. Cosmopolitan saw the median age of female readers fall by 1.7 years, Seventeen’s median age fell by 2.1 years, Skiing’s median age fell by 4.9 years, and the median age of Star’s readers fell by 4.6 years.

As the median age of magazine readers overall rises, advertising pages are plummeting. Ad pages for consumer magazines fell 26% in Q1 2009, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Big publishers suffered significant losses: neither Hachette Filipacchi Media nor Hearst Magazines had a single title that posted gains in ad pages, while Time Inc. had just one – Sports Illustrated Kids, which rose about 30%.

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