Unfazed by the global economic meltdown, publishers launched 335 new magazines in 2008, according to MediaFinder.com, which tracks new launches in its online database. The categories seeing the most action are health, with 31 new titles; regional, with 25 new titles; and cooking and epicurean, with 17 new titles.
The number is somewhat less than the roughly 600 launches tallied between October 2007 and September 2008 by Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi also known as "Mr. Magazine."
MediaFinder said the surge in the health category reflects the increasing interest in health-related matters among aging baby boomers, whose leading cohort (born 1946) entered its 60s earlier this decade. One of the biggest new launches in this category was Spry, a newspaper-distributed magazine from the Publishing Group of America, which debuted with a circulation of 9 million in September. HealthyStyle, a competing newspaper-distributed title from Hearst, launched around the same time. Other big health category launches were Autism Research, Therapy Times and Living Well.
Regional magazines launched this year included Michigan Avenue, Orange Appeal and Mountain Time Magazine. This category, like others, has had its setbacks, including the closing in June of BusinessWeek's experimental Chicago edition, and the shuttering of Atlanta Peach, a luxe title for well-heeled citizens of Atlanta, earlier this month.
Finally, the food category has seen some high-profile launches, including the Food Network Magazine, published by Hearst in conjunction with the popular cable network. It is the latest in a series of magazines developed by Hearst around popular TV brands, including ESPN The Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, and the less successful Lifetime, which closed in September 2004.