Memo Pad: Mag Pages Drop 26.6%... Fundraiser for Mariane Pearl's Film...

The third quarter presented more of the same for magazine publishers, with advertising revenue falling 18.6 percent to $4.5 billion.

SIMPLY GOOD NEWS: Finding good news in publishing is difficult these days, but not impossible. Take Real Simple, which has had growth in circulation and advertising in 2009. During the first half, the home and cooking magazine reported a 1 percent growth in newsstand sales, to 393,578. Though the magazine’s editorial formula has already gathered 2 million readers, managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop and new creative director Janet Froelich made some tweaks to the November issue. Froelich joined Real Simple in February from The New York Times magazine.

Aside from new photographers and contributors, fonts and navigational signals to the reader, Real Simple will add 14 columns, including Fashion Fit Lab, Beauty with Brains and Trends Worth Trying, which gives advice on beauty, fashion and home products that are hot that month. Froelich said the section is framed with large datelines across the top to signal immediacy.

On the advertising side, the title has rebounded somewhat from a brutal 2008, when pages fell 33 percent last fall. The October issue carried 8 percent more pages than October 2008 and November will be 10 percent larger than last year’s. Its December issue is on track to carry more than 30 percent more paging than last year’s. Publisher Kevin White said the magazine’s refreshed look and circulation growth have helped rope in new clients, from Chanel to Lancôme to Garnier, and increase market share. Up next, Real Simple will unveil social networking and community features on its Web site, and release a cookbook, “Real Simple Best Recipes,” later this month. The magazine is also launching an iPhone application for the holidays tied to its December gift guide.

Speaking of upbeat news, when Paula Deen stopped by Hearst Tower on Friday to celebrate her new Good Housekeeping cover, she revealed her own magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen, is doing well. “I think it’s my broad appeal,” she told WWD, adding that ad pages for the bimonthly title are up 30 to 40 percent for the year. “I think more people are learning more about me.”

— Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks

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