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Frequently requested data on African American consumers

Black Buying Power:
  $656 Billion (2003)

Black U.S. Population:
  38.3 million

Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
  - Houston

Top Five Black Metros:
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
  - Philadelphia

Top Five Expenditures:
 - Housing 145.2 bil.
 - Food 56.5 bil.
 - Cars/Trucks 32.6 bil.
 - Clothing 23.0 bil.
 - Health Care 18.0 bil.

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Johnson Publishing Co. announces launch of Ebony, Jet product lines 9-18-08

Denise Campbell named associate publisher of Who's Who in Black Chicago 9-10-08

Kenard Gibbs resigns as publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines 9-5-08

Essence Communications names Joy Collins general manager 9-5-08

UPTOWN Magazine unveils study on spending by affluent African-Americans 9-3-08

Essence study: Black women use consumer technology for empowerment 7-31-08

Noir Media Group to launch NOIRwoman, as a supplement in Chicago Sun-Times 7-24-08

Uptownlife.net offers lifestyle destination to affluent African-Americans 7-10-08

UPTOWN magazine hires Squeakywheel Promotions for PR push 6-2-08

Essence founder Ed Lewis named chairman of Latina Media Ventures 5-14-08

Black Enterprise names Oprah's Harpo Inc. Company of the Year 5-12-08

Essence partners with Warner Bros. for new TV projects and Web strategy 4-22-08

EbonyJet.com to launch online comic strip with Dreadman Dave Fennoy 4-11-08

'Essence' ranks No.1 in ad revenues for March; 'The Green has biggest gain 4-7-08

UPTOWN Magazine launches exclusive survey for wealthy black consumers 3-10-08

MPA survey shows black magazine audience healthy and growing 2-15-08

'Black Enterprise' to honor Hollywood's top moneymakers at the Oscars 2-12-08

Magazine Publishers of American launch award for Magazine Mentor of the Year 1-25-08

Nightly Business Report, Black Enterprise join forces for MLK Day special 1-18-08

American Legacy, American Family team up for Black History Month 1-14-08

Uptown Magazine looks to expansion with InterMedia Partners investment 1-3-08

Susan Taylor, longtime guiding force of Essence magazine, is leaving 12-28-07

Johnson Publishing Co. lays off top three ad execs, names new group director 11-29-07

SalonSENSE marks tenth year with new site for beauty industry professionals 11-26-07

Latest data shows African-American magazine segment "up and healthy" 11-21-07

Fifth Annual African-American Magazine Summit to be held in New York this week 11-9-07

ONYX Style magazine, Houston�s regional black magazine, is folding 11-5-07

Len Burnett resigns position at Vibe to return to Uptown as co-CEO 10-23-07

Black Enterprise fund said to be selling interest in Florida radio stations 10-1-07

Black Enterprise gears up its two programs for fall TV season this Sunday 9-24-07

Anne Sempowski Ward named president, COO of JPC's Fashion Fair Cosmetics 9-11-07

Basil O. Phillips, Johnson Publishing Co. photo editor, dies at 77 9-4-07

The Johnson Communication Leadership Center established at USC Annenberg 8-24-07

Essence Studios debuts interactive, online programming with reality dating show 8-22-07

P&G/Essence Poll: Black women say they are portrayed 'worst' than others in media 8-13-07

Vibe Vixen magazine to return to being published only as a special issue 7-25-07

Keith Clinkscales to head ESPN Original Productions in division restructuring 7-16-07

Honey Magazine debuts website providing content for diverse audience 7-9-07

W. Leonard Evans Jr., founder of Tuesday magazine, dies at 92 6-27-07

Kenard Gibbs named group publisher of Ebony and Jet, also heads licensing division 6-8-07

Unilever/Essence survey finds black women see more than beauty in their skin

Johnson Publishing Co. names Associated Press to distribute Ebony, Jet photo archive 5-15-07

MPA promote Shaunice Hawkins to VP, Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives  4-17-07

B.E.'s Alfred Edmond named to Folio's 40 most influential magazine executives 4-17-07

National Urban League to distribute Urban Influence magazine on newsstands 4-11-07

Black magazines' ad pages rose for February; retail, automotive spending up 3-19-07

Robert Ingram joins Vibe magazine as associate publisher 1-30-07

Ebony's newly hired execs push for a new edge to retain, attract readers 1-30-07

ONYXStyle magazine forms advertising alliance with the Houston Chronicle

(Sept. 8, 2005) The Houston Chronicle has developed an alliance with ONYXStyle Magazine, Houston’s premier African American lifestyle publication.

The alliance provides a targeted marketing strategy for Chronicle advertisers to tap into ONYXStyle’s 75,000 plus readership of progressive black Houstonians.

“We appreciate that the Chronicle continues to recognize the importance of forming an alliance with Houston-based minority-owned publications which allows us to continue to serve our community and grow economically,” said Caleen Burton-Allen, Publisher, ONYXStyle Magazine. 

"The Houston Chronicle is thrilled about its new relationship with ONYXStyle Magazine,” stated Jocelyn Marek the Chronicle’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs. "It is exciting to be a part of a publication that has become such an integral part of Houston's African-American community. We look forward to the good things that we can accomplish together, both having such an absolute interest in Houston and what makes it great.”

A seasoned communications professional, Burton-Allen’s diverse background spans more than 15 years and includes experience in television reporting, public relations and media relations training.  She founded the magazine in 2002.

A high energy mix of fashion, art, entertainment, business and community profiles, cultural and social events, ONYXStyle has carved a niche as a leading publication among blacks in Houston.
The city is home to the nation’s sixth-largest black population; Harris County has the states largest black population; Texas has the third largest African American buying power in the United States totaling more than 46 billion dollars.

For more information visit www.onyxstyle.com

New magazine offers upscale shopping advice for African-American women

By Joy Sewing
The Houston Chronicle
(Sept. 5, 2005) If Claire Huxtable, the TV mom from The Cosby Show, were around today, she would be "jonesing" for a copy of Jones Magazine.

The new local shopping magazine, started by college friends Tracey Ferguson and Denise Hamilton, is a guide for African-American women who, like Huxtable, are professional, make good money and want nice things.

"We miss Claire," said the sharply dressed Ferguson carrying a bronze Fendi Spy bag she recently bought on the island of Capri. "She was sharp, polished, took care of her family and herself. We wanted to create a magazine of places where she would shop and stuff she would want because in reality she's more like us than Lil' Kim."

Jones Magazine, which debuts this month and will be produced quarterly, is available free at area retailers such as Kuhl-Linscomb, Chard, Uncle Funky's Daughter, Brown Eyes Blue and Noel Furniture as well as at the Houstonian Hotel. For $28, readers can subscribe to the publication and receive invitations to private and special shopping events.

(Jones is a slang term for wanting or desiring something. It also refers to the saying, "Keeping up with the Joneses.")

Ferguson, 35, and Hamilton, 34, say their magazine is the first local publication to address the needs and desires of black professional women, from finding the best stylist to highlight black hair without it falling out to where to find the "it" handbag of the season that celebrities aren't carrying.

"We read In Style and Lucky magazines, but they don't have what we need," Hamilton says. "We want to know that Giorgio Armani's foundation, which is one of the top in the world, only has a few shades that don't really work on us. We want to know what stores are friendly to us, and if a boutique only goes up to a size 8, we'll tell you."

Ferguson came up with the idea of starting a magazine while studying communications at Abilene Christian College, where she and Hamilton met. The two women jotted down ideas and concepts and dreamed of one day launching their own publication.

For years after they graduated, Ferguson told family and friends about her idea. But when her husband, Gary Ferguson, died suddenly from a heart attack after just three months of marriage in 2004, Ferguson immersed herself in the project as a way to heal from the loss.

"He was my biggest supporter. He kept telling me to do it."

Ferguson quit her job as marketing manager for the Houston Museum of Natural Science and eventually teamed with Hamilton, who was working in marketing at AOL in Miami, to work on the project. They ferociously read fashion and lifestyle magazines and researched the market to find the right mix of fashion, lifestyle and services information to offer in their magazine. They also used their own funds to finance the project.
Click here to read entire article
Click here for more information about Jones magazine

Amy Barnett steps down as 'Teen People' managing editor, remains at Time Inc.

Amy Barnett, Managing Editor of Teen People.(August 17, 2005) In a memo distributed today,  Time Inc.'s top execs, Norman Pearlstine and John Huey announced,  Amy Barnett's resignation as managing editor of "Teen People" magazine. When Barnett assumed the post two years ago, she became the only African-American to hold a top editorial position at the world's largest publishing company.

During her time at "Teen People," Amy oversaw a complete redesign and refocus of the book, helping it maintain a strong position in an increasingly competitive category," read the announcement.

Barnett, who is currently working on an advice book for young women, will remain at Time Inc. in the magazine development department reporting to
Isolde Motley. Lori Majewski, most recently executive editor at "Us Weekly," will replace Barnett at "Teen People."

Barnett's journalism career was launced at the travel Web site,  TotalNewYork.com. In 1999 she joined "Essence" magazine as lifestyle, beauty and features editor. A year later, Barnett was named Editor-in-Chief of "Honey" magazine, where she was recruited away by Time, Inc. in April 2003.

‘Black Enterprise,’ ‘Jet’ and ‘Vibe’ post big gains in latest PIB figures

(August 17, 2005) The top five black magazines are collectively showing signs of weathering tightening ad budgets. According to figures compiled by the Publishers Information Bureau of Magazine Publishers of America, "Black Enterprise" magazine had a whopping 23% increase in July ad dollars over the same month last year. "Jet" magazine reported a nearly 14% gain in revenues for the month over 2004. The five titles together averaged growth of four percent.

"Vibe" magazine is leading the way on growth in ad dollars for the year-to-date with a 13.9% increase. “Ebony” followed with slightly 10% improvement in revenues for this year compared with 2004. The average growth to date for 2005 for PIB measured magazines was 9.4%.


'Ebony' magazine hosts its second annual 'Hollywood In Harlem' film fest

Ebony(July 27, 2005) -- Ebony Magazine will present the "2nd Annual Hollywood In Harlem Film Festival," beginning Tuesday, August 2 through Saturday, August 6, at various Harlem legendary and heritage sites, including the Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Magic Johnson Theatres. The festival lineup offers world premieres, popular new and classic feature films and documentary screenings; panel discussions; celebrity guest appearances; red carpets and klieg lights.  

The five-day film festival, which celebrates Harlem Week and the myriad African-American contributions to the world of cinema, will include appearances by film, television and theatre legends, such as Ruby Dee, Don Cheadle, Danny Glover, Ruben Santiago, Nick Cannon, historian Cornell West and many others.

"This is a special opportunity for our readers and the Harlem community to interact with both the rising stars and legendary lights of film," said Ebony Associate Publisher Jeff Burns, Jr.  "We are thrilled to partner with The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and Disney to make this an unforgettable week."   

This year's festival will kick off with the world premiere of PROUD, starring actor/civil rights advocate, Ossie Davis, in his final film. The festival will also include the premiere of Underclassman , which stars Drumline star Nick Cannon. Also featured will be Reverend Al Sharpton in the documentary Moon Over Sudan, a portrait of genocide in the Sudan. Rev. Sharpton will moderate a panel discussion, with Danny Glover and others, about how this genocide impacts African-Americans and the necessity for their involvement.

A complete schedule of the festival is available online at www.ebony.com.

'Black Issues In Higher Education' changes name to 'Diverse' to reflect  future scope

(July 21, 2005)  The publishers of Black Issues In Higher Education have announced a new name for their publication, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. This change accelerates a new phase in the continued evolution of this specialized publication to reach a diverse audience in higher education.

The first issue of the newly named publication is slated for August 25, 2005. While Diverse will continue to focus on the wide range of issues affecting African-Americans, it will also add new writers and expand its unique coverage on the broad issues of diversity on college campuses--a program that actually began five years ago.

Black Issues In Higher Education
has been published for over 20 years by Cox, Matthews & Associates, Inc. of Fairfax, VA. Under the leadership of William E. Cox, President, and Frank L. Matthews, Publisher, the journal has become the leading higher education publication focused on the special interests of people of color.

"Over the years, our audience has grown to include a very wide spectrum of readers as we have embraced the challenging issues of diversity on college campuses. We felt the change would better reflect the direction of the publication and help our readers and advertisers fully appreciate the content covered by the magazine," Cox said.

"This is not just a name change, but a reaffirmation of our commitment to meet the needs of our entire target audience," said Matthews. "Our readers and our advertisers will benefit from our expanded focus and unique coverage of the higher education market place."

Advertisers were informed of the change effective mid-July, and leadership groups have been consulted related to the evolution plan. The first issue's content is under development, and new circulation efforts are being established to reflect the publication's broader audience. The inaugural issues and several to follow will benefit from a much wider circulation audience.

Diverse will continue the tradition of bi-weekly publishing with special reports throughout the year focusing on issues of critical interest to higher education.

Angela Burt-Murray named to top editorial post at 'Essence' magazine
Appointment marks return to the black women’s magazine

(July 18, 2005) Angela Burt-Murray, currently executive editor of Teen People magazine, has been named editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, it was announced today by Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of Essence Communications, Inc. The appointment becomes effective August 8th.

Burt-Murray, 35, becomes only the fourth woman to be editor-in-chief in the 35-year history of the nation’s leading publication for African-American women. Her appointment ends the search for a successor to Diane Weathers who retired from the post in March. Burt-Murray previously worked at Essence from 1998 to 2001 as fashion and beauty features editor.

”I couldn't be more excited about Angela re-joining us," Taylor told Target Market News. "She's knowledgeable and focused. She has a history of fine leadership and she wants to serve black people. She know who we are and the Essence way of doing things.”

Burt-Murray has had a fast-rising career in women-oriented publishing field. She joined Teen People in April 2001 as beauty director, then was named features director and assistant managing editor before being promoted to executive editor in October 2003. As executive editor, she helped execute the magazine's editorial mission, oversaw its staff, top edited its entertainment and real life departments, and managed the title's budget. She is credited with conceiving some of Teen People's most important features, including its annual sex survey.

Prior to Teen People, Burt-Murray was executive editor at Honey magazine. Her work as a writer has also appeared in Working Mother, Parenting, Heart & Soul, Atlanta CityMag, and Black Elegance.

Burt-Murray is the co-author, along with Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller, of the critically acclaimed humor book, “The Angry Black Woman's Guide to Life” (Dutton), and the forthcoming novel, “The Vow” (HarperCollins/Amistad). She is a member of National Association of Black Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, and has made numerous television appearances.

A graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Finance, Burt-Murray resides in South Orange, New Jersey, with her husband of nine years, Leonard Murray who is a partner in an asset management firm, and their two young children, Solomon and Ellison.

Black Enterprise's Top 100 issue leads pack for revenue gains among magazines

(July 18, 2005) The annual listing of the nation's top black-owned businesses earned Black Enterprise the top spot for ad revenue gains among black magazines in June, according to figures from the Magazine Publishers of America's Publishers Information Bureau.

The B.E. June issue had an estimated $6.8 million in advertising revenue, a 131% increase over May, and just a one percent decrease in dollars earned for June 2004.

Ebony and Jet both did substantially better with their June issues this year compared with the same month last year. Ebony posted a 27 percent increase in ad revenue, and Jet grew by 11 percent.

Collectively, the leading black magazines fought to maintain revenues as ad dollars tighten. The five black PIB titles had a one percent drop in June ad pages over the previous year, while all PIB magazines posted an average two percent increase in ad pages.

June '05 vs May '05 Ad Revenues

Source MPA/PIB. Figures in millions

June '05 vs June '04 Ad Revenues

Source MPA/PIB. Figures in millions

Carol Watson steps down as publisher of 'Vibe' magazine and weighs next move

(June 27, 2005) Carol Watson, one of the most successful women executives in publishing, resigned from her position as publisher of Vibe magazine two weeks ago. Watson’s surprise departure comes as Len Burnett returns to the magazine to assume the title of group publisher for both Vibe and Vibe Vixen magazine.

In a memo to the staff, Vibe president, Kenard Gibbs, wrote “We thank her for her enormous contribution to the magazine, most notably in leading the efforts of the 10 year anniversary and the first annual Vibe awards. She will truly be missed.”

Watson told Target Market News that she has been fielding inquiries from other publishing companies but has not decided where she’ll take her talents. “I want to continue working with advertisers in ways that will bring them success in reaching the multicultural urban market,” she said.

As Vibe publisher, Watson was responsible for generating more than $100 million dollars a year in advertising and promotional revenue. During her first year as publisher in 2003, Vibe magazine had its most successful year in the history of the magazine.

Watson began her career in advertising sales at Essence magazine. She then moved to the New York Times Co. for a 12-year tenure. While there she was responsible for the launch of a publication for the teen market as ad director of The New York Times Upfront magazine.

She has also served as senior vice president of sales and marketing at Market Place Media, a specialized multimedia marketing company, where she was responsible for generating more than $50 million dollars in revenue, rebranding, and marketing.

The parting between Vibe and Watson comes at a time when there’s lot of change taking place in black magazine publishing. Just in the past few months, Essence has come fully under the ownership of Time Warner, and the company is making other moves to strengthen its position with ethnically-oriented media.

magazine has re-launched and Ebony magazine is branching into the licensing arena. Where Watson goes ultimately could change the competitive landscape, say media watchers.

Johnson Publishing gives TurnerPatterson development rights to 'Ebony' brand name
Ebony(June 20, 2005) Johnson Publishing Company, publishers of Ebony magazine, has announced plans to pursue licensing opportunities for the first time in the 60-year history of the nation's largest black magazine through an exclusive agreement with the TurnerPatterson agency. The announcement coincides with the Licensing International Show opening in New York City this week.

JCP will partner with TurnerPatterson to analyze licensing opportunities that target African-American consumers. Initially the focus be on home, financial services, mobile entertainment and Internet technology, apparel, music, toys and home entertainment appealing to African-American women, families, teens and children
“As a leading brand in African-American homes for the past 60 years, Ebony has acquired a unique knowledge of the needs and wants of the various demographics of African-Americans,” stated Linda Johnson Rice, president and CEO of JPC. “We are thrilled to tap the expertise of TurnerPatterson, which will enable Ebony to join forces with companies to bring high-quality merchandise to the marketplace.”
Ebony is a well respected brand among African-Americans," said Debra Turner, president and CEO of TurnerPatterson.  “Ebony is a well-respected brand among African-Americans, and brings years of history, culture and brand equity to the licensing arena.  We look forward to working closely with Johnson Publishing Company to continue to build and strengthen its brand and to redefine the licensing industry.”
JPC will mark Ebony's sixtieth anniversary with various activities this November, and Turner said that she sees tremendous potential for merchandising using the magazine's archives of photographs and editorial material.
The agreement means that Ebony will at last join Essence and Vibe in capitalizing on its popularity and millions of readers with licensing deals. JPC's Fashion Fair cosmetic line has long shared its name with the company's traveling fashion show, but this is the first time that Ebony will be developed as a stand alone brand outside of the pages of the magazine. 
TurnerPatterson, which is black-owned and has offices in Santa Monica, Calif. and Chicago, has developed a number of licensing projects for major corporations. Among their current activities is an agreement with Viacom to create an apparel line for the hit television show, "Girlfriends."

Essence’s anniversary issue only top black magazine with ad gains for May

(June 15, 2005) The nation’s leading black magazines continue to fight off tight economic conditions in the industry. Advertising pages were down for Black Enterprise, Ebony and Vibe, with Jet posting a two percent increase. Collectively black magazines reporting to the Publishers Information Bureau of the MPA performed well below the industry as a whole. All PIB magazines produced a 16 percent increase in both revenues and pages for their May issues.

There appears to be at least one bright spot for black publishers; advertisers are supporting special issues. Essence’s May anniversary issue created a 118 percent increase in advertising over April’s issue. Vibe more than doubled its one-month ad performance back in March with its special women-focused Vixen special issue.

Black magazines are keeping pace with the industry in their year-to-year comparisons. Collectively, May 2005 black issues had a ten percent gain in ad dollars over May 2004, while all PIB titles posted 12 percent growth for the same period.

Source: MPA/PIB

'Black Issues Book Review' and 'QBR' merge to better serve publishing industry

By Wayne Dawkins

(June 10, 2005)
Black Issues Book Review and Quarterly Black Review of Books, two leading magazines about black literature, announced a joint marketing agreement, promising to work together to create a unified powerhouse.

, founded by Max Rodriguez in 1993, will cease publishing and combine its circulation with the six-year-old, 41,000-circulation Black Issues Book Review, which will focus on publishing every other month. 

will direct its energies toward its annual Harlem Book Fair, its core business, which last July attracted 40,000 people to 135th Street near Lenox Avenue and attracted extensive TV coverage on C-SPAN. 

The Harlem Book Fair, which began in 1998, has expanded to eight cities including Long Island, N.Y., San Diego and Chicago, and with the merger, Max Rodriguez (left) promised to grow to a dozen cities, adding Boston, Buffalo, N.Y. and Phoenix.

Publishers William E. Cox of BIBR and Rodriguez told BlackAmericaWeb.com that the partnership was in the making for about six months.

“This is going to benefit both organizations,” said Cox, who also publishes Black Issues in Higher Education, based in Fairfax, Va. “We were providing services to the literary community. Our interests are similar, but separate and distinct.”

Just outside the crammed editorial offices of BIBR in the Empire State Building, Rodriguez said, “We thought it was the right time to bring our efforts together into one marketing entity that brings the strengths of three brands. Black Issues Book Review will publish under BIBR/QBR. Bill will focus on editorial. I will focus on the development side, the Harlem Book Fair, and bring the magazine in for upcoming publishing events.”

In the joint statement that was read to about 60 cheering book industry people spilling out of the 15th floor office, Rodriguez said, “This unified effort provides publishers and other advertisers the single most effective way to reach and market to African-American readers. BIBR, QBR and the Harlem Book Fair create a tremendously powerful brand.”

“This relationship will have an impact on the entire publishing marketplace,” said Cox in the statement. “Because there is now a strong single marketing force for black books and authors, the longevity of African-American readers is secured. Working together, both companies will grow, and the market for black books will grow even more.”

At an evening reception for black book publishers day before
Book Expo America opened here, Clara Villarosa, founder of Hue-Man Bookstore on 125th Street in Harlem and organizer of the two-year-old African American Booksellers Conference at BEA, said she was pleased that two black men could unite over common interests rather than fight.

“They’re coming together,” literary matriarch Villarosa said of Rodriguez and Cox, “to create something that’s better for all of us."

“How often does that happen?" she asked. "Not often enough.”

'Precious Times' announces distribution agreement with Barnes & Noble chain

(May 24, 2005) “Precious Times” magazine, the quarterly lifestyle publication for contemporary Black Christian Women, today announced that single copy sales of the magazine will be immediately available in select stores of Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest retail book store chain.

In making the announcement, Barnes & Noble noted that ”Precious Times” magazine is the only 100% African American female-owned black Christian women’s publication distributed through the national upscale chain. The magazines cover price is $4.95.

"Affiliation with the giant book seller expands 'Precious Times' distribution and enhances our vision, passion and commitment to empower the voices of black Christian women – worldwide and to widen the gates to the kingdom,”  says publisher Marilyn White.

“We owe our rapid growth and success to a dedicated community of black Christian women,' said White. 'Our advertisers recognize the Christian community as a segment with a pre-disposition to companies, products and services that support our core values and principals. Our advertisers will benefit from the added exposure to Barnes & Noble customers.”

"Precious Times" started publishing its Christian message in hard copy format in 2003 after existing for more than ten years as an on-line website. The magazine has a quarterly audience of 350,000. Now entering its second year of publication, the magazine has gained multiple new advertisers and has grown to more than 72 pages.

'Ebony' leads trend in increased ad pages for most black magazines in April

(May 16, 2005) Most of the five leading black magazines posted increases in ad pages in April over figures for March, according to data released by the Publishers Information Bureau. Ebony magazine had the biggest increase, with a 14 percent jump in ad dollars.

Ad pages for the top five black titles were down by a total of 13 percent, due to significant earlier increases for Essence and Vibe. Black Enterprise, Jet and Ebony all had double-digit growth in ad pages, while the industry average for all PIB-measured magazines in April was down three percent.

The slow down in the economy and advertising can be seen in how black magazines fared over their performance in 2004. Ad pages for the month of April were down three percent for the same month a year ago. The difference in all magazines for 2004 versus 2005 was a decrease of one percent.


ibe' bucks downward trend in March ad revenues for black magazines

(April 13, 2005) It was back on the revenue rollercoaster for most of the top black magazines as the ad revenues for March issues headed downhill following a significant rise in February. Tightening ad budget handed some magazines double-digit  loses, but there was an exception. Vibe magazine more than doubled its ad revenues over the monthly period.

Much of the growth at Vibe was attributed to its Vibe Vixen special edition, which accounted for an additional $2.3 million in revenue. But the main magazine had substantial growth in ad dollars, thanks to a rate increase and more volume.

As a result of Vibe's growth, the leading magazines again collectively out-paced industry revenue trends. All titles reporting to PIB had a nine percent drop in ad revenue between February and March, while the black PIB titles posted a 17 percent increase.


Diane Weathers resigns post as Essence editor-in-chief

(March 22, 2005) Essence editor-in-chief, Diane Weathers announced to her staff yesterday that she is stepping down from her position after five years. Her decision comes as the latest of a number of major shifts taking place at the leading publishing company targeting black women.

Just last week the sale of the Essence to Time Inc. was completed. A week prior to that, the company suspended publication of its newest venture, Suede magazine, after four issues. But Weathers told Target Market News her exit is unrelated to those developments.

”I’m leaving for personal and professional reasons,” said Weathers in an interview yesterday. “I’m going through some things with my family and I really need more time to focus on them. I don’t have the energy to really put the attention that I need into the magazine. I need to focus on family issues.”

Weathers will remain on Essence’s masthead as editor-at-large. Until the search for her successor is completed, editorial director Susan Taylor will assume her duties.

Weathers’ departure will be one of the few breaks she has taken in a 30-year career as a journalist and editor. The mother of two daughters and wife of New York Times veteran Ron Smothers, Weathers has had tenures at Black Enterprise, Newsweek, Red Book and Consumer Reports. She was also an information officer for the United Nations based in Italy for six years.

Weathers began her Essence tenure as a member of the senior editorial team from 1993 to 1997, during which she developed story ideas, worked with freelancers and frequently wrote feature stories on a broad variety of social issues.

She says of her stint as the black women’s magazine’s editor that she’s pleased with where the magazine is now. “I’m proudest of the quality of the magazine. I think it has never been better. I’m proud of our campaigns, The War on Girls, Saving Our Sons and now Take Back The Music. And I’m proud of our numbers -- our newsstand sales are up at a time when many women’s magazines have been suffering on the newsstands.”

If she could leave a message for the next person that will sit at the editor-in-chief desk, what would it say? “That’s a tough question,” she said. “I would say that the audience is a huge cross section of people, and they think of it as their magazine. And it’s a real art to meeting the needs of such a diverse audience. It’s a very powerful voice, and it’s a very important platform that is respected.”

Black magazines bounced back in February with above average revenue growth

(March 14, 2005) The nation's leading back magazines bounced back from seasonal drops in their January issues to show above average growth in ad revenues for February. All but one of the top five titles significantly out-performed the industry, according to figures from the Publishers Information Bureau of the Magazine Publishers Association.

Black Enterprise had the greatest growth at 65 percent, closely followed by Jet with 64 percent. The growth in ad dollars for all PIB measured magazines between January and February was 28 percent. Collectively, black magazines had a one-month growth rate of 26 percent.

Essence logged the most in ad revenues with $6.9 million, followed by Jet with $6.3 million. As a group, the leading black magazines took in $26.1 million for February. These titles also out-performed the industry in growth of pages by reaching 36 percent, versus a 20 percent growth in pages for all magazines for February.


New distribution agreement puts 'Gospel Truth' magazine in 1,800 Wal-Mart stores

Multi-award winner Gospel Recording Artist, BeBe Winans, will be featured on the cover of Gospel Truth Magazine (March 3, 2005) Thanks to a new distribution agreement, Gospel Truth Magazine's will expand it's current distribution through Wal-Mart stores from 400 to 1,800 Wal-Mart stores starting in May. Each store was selected based upon a history of significant sales of gospel music and other urban based publications such as Vibe and Source. This expansion translates to an additional 100,000-plus issues of GTM available to Wal-Mart shoppers.

Publisher, Kerry DouglasGTM publisher, Kerry Douglas (left) said a comprehensive marketing and promotion plan has been put into place to ensure sell-through of the additional copies. The first part of the plan includes a half pallet display program with the capacity to hold 186 magazines will be executed in 386 Wal-Marts with the highest propensity to reach the most African American customers.

Other marketing and promotional programs includes various campaigns with GTM s media partners that will include, but not limited to, television partners, Music Choice and Black Family Channel Networks. Radio partners will include ABC Radio Network's REJOICE! Musical Soul Food, and SGN's The Light. Campaigns will comprise of opportunities to win Wal-mart gift certificates, CD's, issues and/or subscriptions to Gospel Truth Magazine and family vacations.

GTM was founded in 1998 by Douglas as a means to promote the awareness of new gospel recording artists to the music industry. Today, GTM has grown into the largest publication of its kind, reaching over 200,000 readers bi-monthly.

Black MBA Magazine ranked by African-Americans among top business publications

(March 2, 2005) Black MBA Magazine, a trade publication targeting African-American MBAs, students and other professionals, emerged as one of the top three publications of choice for African Americans with MBA degrees who consult periodicals for their professional information, according to a poll by Universum Communications.

Black MBA Magazine is the official publication of the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), a professional organization based in Chicago. Universum Communications is a global research and consulting company that helps large organizations improve their talent attraction and retention strategies

Black MBA Magazine ranked high in two Universum polls—one that measured readership preferences of African-American MBAs in general and another that noted the preferences of African-American female MBAs versus African-American male MBAs.

“These rankings are an important indicator of what Black MBA Magazine has come to mean to the business community,” said Pamela McElvane, and CEO of P&L Publishing which publishes Black MBA Magazine. “We will continue to strive for excellence to sharpen our edge.

Founded in 1996, P&L Group Ltd. specializes in association publishing, sourcing and staffing, and diversity consulting. The firm also publishes Black IT Professional Magazine, which is the official publication of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), a 4,700-member organization based in Philadelphia. The biannual publication is distributed in April and August.

Vibe launches bi-annual beauty and fashion title targeted to young black women

(Feb, 28, 2005)VibeVixen, a new beauty and fashion title for women from the publishers of Vibe, hit newsstands last week. The semiannual title will publish in the spring and fall of 2005.

Vibe Vixen
is designed to cater to the young, urban, trendsetting female whose passion for urban music and culture inspires her choices in beauty and fashion. For more than eleven years, women have represented half of Vibe’s readership, and Vibe Vixen expands on the publication's coverage of cutting-edge fashion and beauty trends for urban-minded women.

The launch issue provides readers with insight to the season’s must-have products, from the latest cosmetic shades that Kimora Lee Simmons can’t live without to the fabulous hairstyles on the runway and the denim staples necessary for today’s stylish vixen. The issue also focuses on this season’s “It” bags and the newest technology on the market. In addition to profiling the latest styles from the fashion industry’s elite, Vibe Vixen features exclusive interviews and commentary with Ashanti, Halle Berry, and Jill Scott, as well as some of the hottest upcoming designers. February’s premiere issue spotlights rising star Ciara.

“We are thrilled with Vibe Vixen and think it’s exactly what our female readers have been looking for in a women’s magazine. This issue is full of the hottest trends in fashion, beauty and makeup, combined with fascinating features on fashion and lifestyle as well as sophisticated survival information for today’s modern, urban woman. I can’t wait to read the feedback letters. I think that our readers will be as happy as we are with the final product,” says Editor-in-Chief Mimi Valdés.

Vibe Vixen will launch with an initial rate base of 425,000 and will be published bi-annually.

Essence president explains why the decision was made to suspend 'Suede'

(Feb. 24, 2005) The announcement this week from Essence Communications Partners that it was suspending publication of its newest title, Suede, was followed by a wave of speculation that the decision was somehow connected to the recent sale of the 35-year-old company to Time Inc. However, in an exclusive interview with Target Market News, ECP president, Michelle Ebanks said the decision had nothing to do with the new owners, and everything to do with the numbers behind the new business.

”We’ve been evaluating the business from pre-launch,” said Ebanks, “but we’re getting more consumer research and results in now and we’re seeing how difficult it is to reach this multicultural audience. It’s not something that's ever really been done successfully.”

What’s never been done, she explained further, is a magazine for women of color with an editorial mix of high-end fashion and lifestyle service features. Suede billed itself as a publication that blends what Vogue and Glamour offer individually, but targeted to a multicultural reader.

The problem? Plenty of aspirational features, but not enough service, said Ebanks. “The magazine was very aspirational in its execution. It was more like Vogue than Marie Clare or InStyle, in so far as there was more aspiration than service. We need to work on that balance so that we have more of a mass appeal versus being as aspirational as we were. You find that the books that are more aspirational tend to have smaller circulations.”

The Suede business plan called for the magazine to hit the ground running, quickly building the circulation to 250,000 by year’s end and publishing ten issues across 12 months. Monthly issues were to begin with the April edition. ”We didn’t see yourselves getting there as cost effectively as we had planned in terms of marketing it,” she said. “But the product was more expensive than we thought [it would be] as well."

Having the resources of Time Inc. suggested to some that a way could have been found to give Suede more time to catch on with readers and advertisers. But Ebanks said nothing would have changed what the research was telling them. “It’s tough to make these small circulation models work. And we were ambitious in that we thought we could hit the ball out of the park from the beginning. But it’s going to cost too much to keep everything going at 250,000 circulation at ten times a year”

Ebanks hopes to find a way revamp the concept and return to publishing. Until then, she’s focused on finding positions for the 46 staffers. More than half have already been placed within Essence or Time Inc. There’s no word yet on the future plans for star editor, Suzanne Boyd, but Ebanks would like her to stay with the company.

”For me [losing Suzanne] is one of the biggest disappointments of all,” said Ebanks. “She’s such a huge talent. The fact that we need to step back and re-look at the business model puts her on hold and that’s an unfair position.”

Ebanks said that the suspension of Suede is no reflection on the financial state of Essence magazine -- which is in the process of closing its upcoming 35th anniversary issue -- or the Essence Music Festival to be held in New Orleans in July.

If she had known a year ago what she knows now about the fate that awaited Suede, Ebanks said “I probably would have started out as a quarterly, just taking baby steps instead of walking and running. I would have given myself more time to test the concept, test the audience and let the infrastructure build up around it as we learned more. That’s what I would have done differently.”

But she added "I have to be financially mindful of the investment relative to the pay off. If I can halt and reconstruct the business model in a way that creates a reasonable investment relative to the return, then that’s what I have to do."

Time Inc.'s Essence Communications suspends publication of 'Suede' magazine

suede.jpg (Feb. 24, 2005) In a statement released last night, Essence Communications Partners (ECP) announced that "Suede" magazine will be going on hiatus after the April issue, its fourth issue. The new title for women of color was launched in September of last year as joint venture between ECP and Time Inc..

In making the announcement, Ed Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Essence Communications Partners, said, "Suede's unique approach to fashion defined a new category. The magazine is smart, exciting and provocative. However, although some of our most talented people have been working on Suede, it has become clear that more time and resources would be needed to further develop this brand. This decision will give us the opportunity to step back and reevaluate the concept and its place in the market."

The closure is the first major business decision since Time Inc. acquired ownership of Essence Communications last month.

Essence sponsors "Take Back the Music Week" beginning Feb. 21st

(Feb. 16, 2005) Essence magazine has declared February 21st through the 25th as Take Back the Music Week. The weeklong initiative is a call to action for individuals to express their concerns, likes and dislikes about popular music. Essence is encouraging the public to effect change by calling, writing letters and sending e-mails with their thoughts about how black women are portrayed in music and videos directly to the people who can make a change—programming executives at cable networks, radio stations and record companies.

The finale of the Take Back the Music Week will be a Town Hall Meeting cohosted by Essence and Spelman College. The Town Hall Meeting will be held, Friday, February 25, 7–9 p.m., at the Cosby Auditorium on Spelman’s campus in Atlanta, Georgia. The topic will be “Where Are We Now? How Did We Get Here? Where Are We Going?” The panel discussion will feature Michael Lewellen, vice-president of corporate communications at BET; Bryan Leach, vice-president Urban A&R at TVT Records; Kevin Powell, author and activist; MC Lyte, female hip-hop artist/actress; Tarshia Stanley, Spelman professor of English; and Moya Bailey, Spelman student. The panel will be moderated by Michaela angela Davis, ESSENCE executive fashion and beauty editor.

Take Back the Music Week is a part of Essence magazine’s campaign of the same name, which is a yearlong in-depth examination of the ways in which black women are depicted in popular music and videos. Throughout the year, Essence will survey the landscape to present a broader scope and understanding of this provocative issue, and provide a platform for discussion.


 11th Annual Edition Available

'Buying Power' report reveals surge by black households for consumer electronics

Despite tighter economic times, African-American households are significantly increasing their expenditures on consumer electronics for the home, according to the newest edition of The Buying Power of Black America report. In many categories such as video games, televisions, CD players, cable TV service and sound equipment, black households are spending more on average than their white counterparts.

According to the 103-page report, black households had $656 billion in earned income in 2003, an increase of 3.9% over the $631 earned in 2002.

Read more and see the latest expenditure figures for black consumers


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