Pride coverage goes on, despite some declining ad revenues

by Joe Siegel

As LGBTQ media prepare for Pride Month with lots of coverage, declining advertising revenue is having an impact.

In Los Angeles, for example, having two two Pride events one week apart has been a challenge.

Troy Masters, editor of the Los Angeles Blade

“We have two parades, June 2 is WeHo Pride and June 9 is L.A. Pride,” said Troy Masters, editor of the Los Angeles Blade. “It sounds like a golden opportunity but the result of two major back-to-back events is that sponsors are very careful. We have one issue covering both events and we have, in addition to the print edition, a mobile billboard truck on which advertising was also sold. It’s been a beneficial and helpful media addition.”

Rivendell Media CEO Todd Evans explained that revenues this year have been “way down … similar to last year after the Anheuser-Busch (AB) controversy. Last year, a few days after that AB thing we had over $300K in ads canceled that were already planned and approved.  Those same clients have not only not come back but won’t even check in or return phone calls. … it is very disappointing and I believe this is all do to AB caving in to the hateful right.” (Rivendell Media is the publisher of Press Pass Q.)

According to a May 22 story in Ad Age: “Earlier this month, Target announced it would be scaling back its Pride Month products this year — the collection will no longer include children’s wear and will only be available for purchase online and in half of the chain’s 2,000 stores. The Minneapolis-based retailer, which has offered Pride products for more than a decade, is not the only brand pulling back on Pride. Prompted by last year’s backlash and boycotts from conservative groups, as well as pressure from activist investors, many marketers appear wary this year of being overly vocal about LGBTQ+ support.”

Still, some LGBTQ news outlets are thriving. Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) published “a special, and thick, edition for our readers … to coincide with Philly’s Pride festival,” said Jeremy Rodriguez, editor of PGN. 

“This year, we put out 76 pages of amazing content highlighting our local community’s upcoming events as well as personal stories and profiles,” said Rodriguez. “It was a lot of work compared to the usual 20 or so pages we normally put out throughout the year, but it’s very rewarding to see the fruits of our labor come together. We are very proud of this year’s edition and we hope our readers enjoy it.”

In Chicago, “We will be doing the same amount of coverage as the last few years, which is pretty extensive, and trying to get articles up on as much stuff going on locally as possible,” said Matt Simonette, associate publisher of Windy City Times.

“We just redesigned our website after several months of hard work on it and have also had our events newsletter, Chicago Social Butterflies, up and running since the end of February,” Simonette said. “Those accomplishments, along with our great team of writers and photographers — not to mention folks on the back end making sure our stuff gets up — means we should be well-positioned for a good June this year.”

This year, both SGN (Seattle Gay News) and Seattle Pride are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

“In honor of our paper’s 50th anniversary, [SGN] will celebrate the significant contributions of individuals to the LGBTQIA+ community in Washington state by sharing their stories in a special Pride supplement,” according to editor Renee Raketty.

“Our lead story in our June 14 issue will focus on the 50th anniversary of Pride in Seattle, offering a retrospective as well as an informative overview of this year’s planned events,” said Raketty. “Additionally, we will highlight smaller Pride celebrations across Washington with a comprehensive calendar and a few spotlight articles.”

“The cornerstone of our Pride coverage is our 2024 Ohio LGBTQ+ Pride Guide, which this year has over 110 listings, with more coming in every week,” said Ken Schneck, editor of the online Buckeye Flame. “It is, far and away, our most viewed page of the year and has a lot of new searchable elements this year.  In addition to that, we have a number of articles coming up on first-time Prides, which we love highlighting.”

As far as ad revenue, “[It’s been] pretty solid,” Schneck noted. “We’re up about 20 percent over last year.” 

Volume 26
Issue 3

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