Out and the Advocate are owned by the same company–Regent–so aren’t the two monthlies competing for advertising and readers? You’d think so, but Out‘s Aaron Hicklin tells Advertising Age‘s “MediaGuy” Simon Dumenco that there isn’t a lot of overlap.
[B]ut with Out and The Advocate, believe it or not, the overlap between readers is less than 30%. That’s because both titles have a very different mission, plus The Advocate has a bigger percentage, relatively, of lesbian readers. Broadly speaking the reader experience with Out should almost be fetishistic. It’s designed to look beautiful and luxurious, with an emphasis on design and photography. That’s not to say it’s not also thoughtful and smart — it is, but a big part of what we deal with is aspiration and imagination.
Hicklin told Dumenco that the Advocate has seen a four-fold increase in traffic and online revenue in the past year. Dumenco also asked about the decline of LGBT media and Hicklin made a strong point about its significance.
As for the crisis in gay media, we’re certainly not immune to the problems facing print media in general, and the profound shift in the way people consume media, but I wouldn’t categorize it as a post-gay problem. As long as there are gay teens unable to come out to their parents, talk of a post-gay world is a little spurious. That said, there’s increasing overlap between gay and straight culture that I find compelling and overdue, and it’s important that Out be a part of it. And while mainstream media is doing a better job at covering stories of gay interest than it has in the past, I don’t think they begin to compensate for the articulate gay point of view that Out can bring to the task. I’m not sure a mainstream publication would have written about Lady Gaga through the particular prism that we did, or about the culture of Manhunt, the online gay dating site. For a gay audience that gives us a decided advantage.
Another interesting tidbit is that Dolce & Gabbana no longer spend significant money on gay-centered advertising.
Then there’s the odd case of Dolce & Gabbana, a brand that has a big gay fan base but no longer reciprocates by advertising in gay media. I don’t know if it’s because they take the gay market for granted, but given the homoerotic imagery of their campaigns, and often positive gay messaging, it seems like a big missed opportunity.
The whole interview is a good read, especially in terms of the LGBT market and why advertisers are interested in attracting LGBT consumers. While it is easy to bemoan the constant focus on gay (male) consumer taste and luxury brands, Hicklin points out the level of brand loyalty–I can’t even begin to count the number of iPhones I saw at NLGJA’s conference–and why it is important for the media.