While Redbook may be the one of the oldest of the "seven sisters," the magazine has repositioned itself toward a younger audience and is enjoying revived ad revenue growth, thanks in large part to publisher Mary Morgan.
When she joined Redbook in 2003, toward the tail end of its 100th anniversary, Morgan, the former publisher of Health, wanted to change the magazine’s positioning.
"The next year you wake up and it’s 101, it’s not necessarily the same scene." Morgan asked the staff to approach the magazine as if they were re-launching from scratch.
That meant recasting its audience. "The magazine serves women 20 to 44, and how different are those women from 20 years ago?" says Morgan. "In the next 5 or 6 years, the first Gen Y’ers are coming into their thirties. There will be two equal-size demos fighting for attention: Y’s and Boomers. You can’t serve both of them the same way." So Redbook decided to skew younger. From 2004 to 2005, the percentage of 18 to 34 year olds among Redbook’s total audience grew 33 percent, according to Morgan. "The traditional service title got a little older;they’ve stayed around the 40-year-old mark," she adds. "Do you follow your core customer or do you think about what might be coming in the future?"
In 2005, Redbook posted a 21.2 percent increase in ad revenue to $181.6 million and a 15.4 percent increase in pages to 1,475.2, over 2004, according to PIB. However, 2006 hasn’t started so well. Redbook was down 1.2 percent to $21.5 million in revenue and down 6.3 percent to 163.4 pages through February. New advertisers, including financial services, are wooing the mag’s new audience.
Morgan doesn’t think she has to contend on the newsstand with the other service titles;her niche is different. "We’re two million on the rate base and those folks are four million and above," says Morgan. "We try hard not to be compared."
VITAL STATS: The number of 18 to 34 year olds in Redbook’s audience grew 33 percent from 2004 to 2005.