An Overview of Health Magazine and Advertising
By: Jenna Ritter
“Time Inc. brands reach more than 138 million consumers monthly across multiple platforms, more than half of the U.S. adult population”- Time Inc. For the quarter ending in June 2011, the company’s total revenues were $7.03 billion –NYtimes. Here is a look at Health Magazine, just one of Time Inc.’s hundreds of media commodities.
Health Magazine has been around since 1987. It is the 13th largest magazine reaching affluent women. It is a health and lifestyle magazine that focuses on exercise, diet, beauty, relationships, food, sex, and more. This media commodity is part of the larger Health brand and they are content partners with Healthwise, HealthDay, and HealthLine. Health Magazine is owned by Time Inc., which is a division of Time Warner, who also owns Health.com. Health.com also offers easy links to All*You, Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Food&Wine, My Recipes, Southern Living, and Sunset magazines,as well as Fit Sugar, MSN health & fitness, CNN, Fox, TIME who all are owned by Time Warner. Health Magazine has had a +70 growth over the last five years and has over 2.5million readers. Magazines are in monopolistic competition and with Health being such a popular magazine, competitive brands want and will advertise in it.
Most of the production for Health Magazine is funded by advertisements. The editorial structure of Health Magazine is based on seasons, focusing on food, fashion, and beauty for that specific month. Advertisers will produce certain ads to complement or fit into articles. Want to advertise in Health magazine? For $108,270 you can have a full page in the magazine. There are many markets involved in creating this magazine including: photography, writing, modeling, and the consumer market.
Health Magazine is distributed in the United States and Canada 10 times annually. This magazine is on almost every news stand, grocery store check out, and book store (if there are any left). The average price for the magazine on a newsstand is $3.99. Subscribers get the magazine mailed to their house for an average price subscription price of $16.50, which equates to $1.04 and issue. Within a period there are over 601,617 total subscriptions sold.
You can also access information (as well as advertisements) from Health Magazine at health.com as well as signing up for a daily newsletter. This media blast comes into your e-mail selling you the latest health food, clothes, and workout tips. The demographics that consume Health Magazine are adults with a median age of 48, 75% of the readers are women and 58% are employed.
Why it matters?
Audiences are bought and sold by demographics. Certain magazines offer a certain audience demographic. Advertising companies need to know who they are so they can advertise accordingly. Essentially, audiences are packaged up and sold.
According to Dallas Smythe, magazines main revenues come from selling ads, and therefore they sell access to their demographic to companies in advertising, thus the audience is a commodity bought and sold in a market. “The specifications include age, sex, income level, family composition, urban or rural location, ethnic character, ownership of home, automobile, credit card statues and social class.” He also says that audiences never get leisure time because we are constantly working for the advertiser while we consume media.
When looking at main advertises in Health Magazine you see large brands such as Target, CoverGirl, Tampax, Nike, Kraft Foods, R.E.I, Weight Watchers, Estee Lauder and more. These products are being sold as ‘health’ and cater to the certain demographics that read this magazine. The whole idea of health is now a media commodity sold to you by brands. And, what do you know Time Warner interlocks with Corporate America and is partners with Estee Lauder.
Breaking it down: Advertising effects content in magazines because the advertisers want the articles to cater to the ads. Like the Estee Lauder example displays; Time Warner magazines advertise this brand because they are partners with it and it will gain them profit. It’s all connected. Ben Bagdikian said “The dumbing down” of the content also acts to promote a “buying mood.”The Media Monopoly, Sixth Edition, (Beacon Press, 2000), p.138. Articles that are scientific and critically based are rarely written in consumer magazines because then it is likely the reader will not give into the advertisements that may follow. As my research shows, since advertising is how magazines eat, breath, and sleep they will conform to advertising conglomerates desires. The result: now we get articles that are mostly written solely to attract certain readers who will most likely buy the products(that the media company is partners with) advertised in the magazine. Or even worse, there are whole magazines created just to sell us things.