Popular magazine

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Newspaper advertisement (1906) for a reading group for popular magazines

A general-interest magazine is a periodically published, journalistically produced publication that belongs to the public press . The public press is a main type of press and its popular content is usually aimed at broad target groups. It is read in leisure time for entertainment and orientation and does not contain any directly job-related content. That is why the titles were called leisure magazines in the past . Popular magazines are created by independent publishers and distributed as paid titles. In a broad definition, journalistic free titles are also counted as part of the genre. The titles of the popular press usually appear in the layout of a magazine, hence the name of the popular magazine.

General information on popular magazines

Consumer magazines generally have a comparatively high reach and circulation . The target group is not limited by profession, specialist knowledge or status. A general-interest magazine must appear periodically (periodicity), at least four times a year.

The dependency on image and layout is much more important than in newspapers .

In terms of content, they often have a high level of technical competence in their topic. Every hobby, every topic and every interest is satisfied.

Types of popular magazines

Magazines can basically be divided into general interest magazines, target group magazines, special interest magazines and very special interest magazines, whereby the latter two groups are sometimes viewed as separate genres.

There is great heterogeneity in the area of ​​general-interest magazines; they differ considerably in terms of content, the way they appear (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc.) and thus also in their topicality .

Private institutions present more detailed classification of journals. For example, the information community for determining the distribution of advertising media (IVW) distinguishes 31 types of popular magazines .

Consumer magazines can be divided into several groups and types:


The magazine division is often called the rainbow press. The level of the various titles is very different, from serious journalism (well researched and interesting) to tabloid journalism , in which the subjects of "sex and crime" dominate. The subjects of the magazines are mainly reports from the world of prominent people, scandals and court reports .

Women's magazines

Main article: Women's magazine

Examples of women's magazines are the titles Brigitte , Für Sie , Madame , Vogue , emotion, Petra, Freund, Allegra , Amica and many more. Women's magazines deal with women-specific topics such as fashion, cosmetics and cooking. Other topics are mostly health, psychology, advice (love, job, children).

Problems of emancipation have been dealt with in some women's magazines since the 1970s, especially Emma , which has been published since 1977, stands out here.

Due to their subject areas and the type of reports, some women's magazines are no longer up-to-date and no longer compatible with today's image of women and the changed role of women in society. In recent years, the topics have changed, especially in the advice sections of women's magazines, to topics of everyday professional life and the compatibility of work and family or to problems of single parents.

There are now more and more modern women's magazines that are a mix of typical women's magazines and lifestyle magazines.

Women now work almost exclusively in the editorial offices of women's magazines.

Women's magazines are an important group of advertising media for the advertising industry because women are an important target group. On average they spend up to 80% of the money they generate.

The topics of the individual titles are now very different, as is their preparation and intention. They are based on their target group, the type of woman this title is intended to address. There are currently more than 60 titles, the market is very changeable and competitive, which means that new types of women's magazines are published again and again.

Men's magazines

Main article: Men's magazine

Men's magazines are for example GQ , Maxim , Men's Health , Playboy , Penthouse or FHM . More and more men's magazines are currently being launched. In men's magazines, the focus is mostly on lifestyle, fitness and technology, and sometimes also on erotic content. Often there are also individual fashion editions of the individual titles, such as Maxim fashion, Mens health best fashion.

Program guides

Main article: TV program guide

Since the 1990s, program magazines have increasingly specialized in various types of television (feature film, series, etc.) and are mostly published every fortnight. The titles have increased steadily over the past few years, but the number of copies of the individual titles has decreased. There is fierce competition among the program guides, and in some cases also among the various titles of a publishing house. This is reinforced by the numerous simply designed and free program magazines that are enclosed with daily newspapers or other popular magazines or are delivered to the reader as mail.

The first program guides and pioneers were Hörzu (founded in 1946) and Funk Uhr (1952). In the meantime, the change to a fortnightly publication has almost taken place.

There is a high level of reader-magazine loyalty in program magazines. The reader gets used to the structure of the magazine and the structure and presentation of the television programs. The high reader-magazine loyalty is of course good for the advertising sales of the publisher, the title.

youth magazines

Main article: Youth magazine

There is only a small number of titles, but these have a high circulation, such as the Bravo . Bravo magazine now publishes numerous other titles, such as Bravo Girl or Bravo Sport . Most youth magazines are published in magazine format . Topics are mainly music, film, television, celebrities and starlets, and sports. It is controversial whether comics and puzzle books belong to the youth magazines.

More types of consumer magazines

  • News magazines and political magazines such as Der Spiegel , Focus or Stern . See also the detailed article News Magazine.
  • Zeitgeist magazine, independent title
  • Entertainment and leisure magazines
  • Family magazines
  • Erotic magazines
  • Health magazines
  • Movie magazines, cinema magazines
  • Nature magazines
  • EDP ​​and computer magazines
  • Technology magazines
  • Event magazines, mostly only distributed regionally

The Association of German Magazine Publishers e. V. (VDZ) collects industry data for general- interest magazines, specialist journals and denominational magazines and uses the Media Analysis Working Group (AG.MA) and Nielsen Media Research as a basis for the typification of general-interest magazines .

Distribution, market shares and circulation

Program magazines are read the most, followed by news magazines, women's magazines and business magazines . Popular magazines have a higher circulation on average than daily newspapers. They are sold 40% by subscription and 60% at retail. A copy of a consumer magazine is very often read by several people.

The popular magazines have the highest circulation of the magazines. High-circulation popular magazines are HörZu, TV Movie, Stern, Spiegel and Focus.

In 2004 there were 2,340 titles in the general- interest magazine segment, in 2005 there were 837 titles in the IVW with a total circulation of 123.1 million copies. Every year there are many new titles and old ones are disappearing.

Five major publishers have a market share of almost 65% in the consumer magazine market: Heinrich Bauer Verlag is the market leader for TV guides with 19% (it only employs one central editorial team for all of its TV guides); Hubert Burda Media with 15% (especially program magazines, women's magazines, Focus, Bunte); the Axel Springer AG with 13%, especially program magazines and general interest magazines of the BILD Group ( Bild der Frau , Auto Bild , Computer Bild , Sport Bild ); Gruner + Jahr (the majority belongs to the Bertelsmann group) with 9.5% (Stern, women's magazines and special-interest magazines); finally the Funke media group with many women's magazines and program magazines.

The reading circle is important here, because it increases the LpE, the reach and the number of readers. It is a special form of subscription, the price of the subscription depends on how up-to- date the title is, the first folder is accordingly the most expensive, and the subscription is cheaper for readers. However, the previously high number of subscribers to reading circles has been falling sharply for twenty years. About 140 titles are sold through the reading circle, 55% to private households, the remaining 45% are mainly subscribed to by hairdressing salons and doctor's offices for the waiting room.

Individual evidence

  1. See: Klaus Merten: Introduction to Communication Science , 1999, page 315.
  2. Vogel, Andreas: Data on the market and the concentration of the public press in Germany in the first quarter of 2010. In: Media Perspektiven 6/2010, pp. 296–315.


  • Andreas Vogel: Data on the market and the concentration of the public press in Germany in the first quarter of 2016. In: Media Perspektiven 6/2016, pp. 321–343.
  • Mike Friedrichsen and Martin Brunner (eds.): Perspectives for the general-interest magazine. Springer Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-49434-8 .
  • Hans-Bredow-Institut (ed.): Media from A to Z. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14417-0 .
  • Edigna Menhard, Tilo Treede: The magazine. From the idea to marketing. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz 2004, ISBN 3-89669-413-8 .
  • Andreas Vogel: The popular press in Germany. Your basics, structures and strategies. Reinhard Fischer Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-88927-222-3 .

Web links

See also