'Mo Media

The Advocate Is Doing Super Well, Claims The Advocate

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Who says gay print media is dying? You know, besides everyone? The Advocate, the historic gay news bi-weekly monthly that Regent Media bought for a handful of pennies and nickels, says things are on the up and up!

Revenues is up 12.5 percent for 2009’s first quarter, versus 2008’s Q1. Ad pages are climbing, too, “bucking an industry-wide trend,” bandies about a press release. Which explains why Stephen Macias, executive VP and general manager of Regent Media, feels confident enough to soundbite: “Advertisers come to The Advocate confident their product is being associated with the best brand in gay media. We speak directly to our diverse community on a daily basis.”

This is true! The Advocate is a great gay brand. But to say advertisers are confident paying for pages in the magazine? That’s not exactly true.

In conversations with our own advertisers, many of whom spend with Regent’s portfolio of gay properties, they are feeling less and less inclined to buy ad pages in Advocate or Out, the company’s other gay rag. And it’s not because the brands are terrible (they’re not … yet) or because advertisers bought into the rhetoric that “print advertising doesn’t work” (often times it does, but more and more, not so much), but because there’s no accountability with print advertising. And as media budgets grow more constrained with the collapsing economy and advertising climate, there’s a constant push for “give us more and we’ll pay you less” — something print magazines simply cannot compete with versus their online counterparters. Which means more and more full color ad pages are being given away to clients at steep discounts, or for zero dollars. Which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Talking about advertiser confidence in gay print media serves no other purpose than to generate momentum for that mentality among clients, even if it’s far from their best interests. Heh. It’ll probably work.