Owned by Torstar, the weekly appeared to be floundering, against the venerable NOW magazine.
But it appears momentum may have shifted.
According to Leading National Advertisers (LNA) data, ad pages were in decline:
- 2008…1,009 pages
- 2009…902 pages, down 11%
- 2010…735 pages, down 19%
- 2011…708 pages, down 4%…and a cumulative slide of 301 pages or nearly 30%
But after a bold new re-design and re-branding, which debuted in May 2011, The Grid has won many awards, including cover of the year at the National Magazine Awards, and, perhaps more importantly, is winning back advertisers.
“When we set out to launch The Grid, we wanted to create a sexy, immersive environment for advertisers. We also wanted to be as creative on the client side as we hoped to be on the product side. I think we’ve very quickly established a reputation in the agency community for generating really fun, energetic, creative ideas that we can execute both quickly and at a high level. More and more, we find that agencies come to us when they want something unusual and impactful,” says Laas Turnbull, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.
According to LNA data, The Grid has sold 717 ad pages from Jan–Sep 2012…up from 481 pages in the same period in 2011…that’s an increase of 236 pages or a 49% improvement. That’s huge. And the 4th quarter could see even bigger gains.
On top of this, The Grid decided to stop accepting “adult classified” ads, a very lucrative, but controversial category of ads, that NOW magazine continues to carry, despite it’s so-called “progressive" editorial slant.
NOW’s ad sales, according to LNA, have been in a steady decline since 2007.
- 2007…2,385 pages
- 2008…2,130 pages, down 11%
- 2009…2,057 pages, down 3.4%
- 2010…1,991 pages, down 3.2%
- 2011…1,841 pages, down 7.5%, and cumulative loss of 23% since 2007
- 2012 year to date ad pages are flat….almost identical to 2011 Jan-Sep at 1,330
However, “adult classified” ads are not counted by LNA, so that represents potentially huge revenue for NOW. Perhaps the LNA data suggests that ad agencies are starting to grow weary, or are simply embarrassed, about having their brands associated with “adult classifieds”.
[See how The Grid and NOW stack up in the most recent Masthead Top 50 magazines list.]
Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.