I've noticed that there are often many, many more ads in American magazines than there are in magazines from the U.K., France, or Australia (most of the "international" ones that I see on the rack are from those countries). I read a recent Reuters article that mentioned that the current issue of American Vogue had 750 total pages, of which something like 576 were ads.
Magazines that I see from the other three countries often appear to have the ad-article ratio reversed. They may have an unbroken block of articles/photo essays that covers many pages.
If there are more ads and fewer and shorter articles/photo essays in American magazines, that may shrink the market for editorial photographers. It may also lessen people's appetite for magazines ($5.00 for a book that's mostly ads may not attract people).
Do you think that at some point the majority of magazine-buyers would say that there are too many ads to justify purchasing a certain magazine? If so, what do you think would determine that "breaking point?"
Do you think that American magazine-buyers have a higher tolerance for ads than do people in other countries? Do you think that American people in general like to see the ads in magazines?
I tend to think of it as "is the magazine content worth the purchase price" the actual advert ratio doesn't really factor in. A local camera magazine (I'm in Australia BTW) has some interesting articles in it, but the rest is adverts or worse still, adverts disguised as reviews (same layout and look as real reviews except for some fine print saying it's really an advert). I'll browse the interesting article at the newsagents (newstand,etc) but won't buy it for the one article. On the other hand, I buy several UK based magazines that are 2 or more times the price of a local one, but believe them to be better value for money since all aspects (except the adverts for stuff I can't really buy although these can be interesting to see what's available anyway!) are interesting and I read them cover-to-cover.
One thing I can't stand are the new digital camera adds covering 90% of the magazine ad realestate. There's just this air about them I can't deal with. "Buy our new x megapixel camera now, and prepare for a holy experience..."
It's enough to make me gag http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/sick.gif
As far as Vogue is concerned, the magazine is subsidized by advertising, keeping the purchase price way down in comparison to the european versions of the same magazine. And with this subject matter, fashion, the quality of the photos in the ads is more often than not MUCH better than in the editiorial section. And it's easy to see why. The mags don't pay a lot to have shots taken because the photographers will be getting such great exposure. That should be compensation enough (is what the AD will say anyway). Where as a fashion photographer shooting an ad for a client that will appear in Vogue, will run up a nice bill.
The ads don't bother me, in fact, I buy the mags mostly for the ads.
Almost every magazine is paid for by the advertising - how do you think they make their money?
In many, many cases, the actual "editorial" content is really just a vehicle for attracting subscribers to attract more advertising. This is especially so in the case of the likes of Vogue, Elle etc, and in many ways, some of the photo magazines too (I notice recently for example that Outdoor Photographer, I think it was, appears more and more to have been basically re-cycling old articles from a few years ago (something some of the others have been doing since about the 50's!)
Something like Harpers or Adbusters (great photography) is at the other end of the scale - such magazines are often supported by a foundation (DoubleTake - which lost a few million ion it's first few years) or someone's personal fortune.
If you are ever around a small start-up magazine, no matter how noble it's intent, first order of business is usually ADVERTISERS! Magazines don't usually pay for themselves with subscriptions.
If you look at View Camera and CameraArts you will see complete articles and portfolios without interruption.
Most major US photo mags are basically glossy catalogues for manufacturers which is why I don't buy them at all. It's quite sad. There are exceptions to the rule - the smaller niche magazines. But if you want something mainstream you better buy British, French, or German magazines. Funny how those are able to survive with so few ads, isn't it? ;-)
As such there's nothing wrong with some adverts in photo magazines but what invatiably rattles me are the articles that are thinly disguised promotions for certain products, mainly digital stuff these days.
I read an article on digital B&W photo paper and those special grey inks the other day and even in reproduction on the magazine page the sample pics looked rubbish: one without any detail in the shadows, the other one had a strong reddish cast. In stead of admitting this the journalist could only say that both faults lend a certain charm to the pictures. So in these post modern times faults become the norm. In other words: go digital and take bad quality into the bargain. O tempora, o mores.
LensWork is one of those niche publications that doesn't have a lot of advertising now. It is going the other way as an experiment. No more outside advertisers by the end of this year.