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Survey: Frat Bros Read Sports Illustrated, Sorority Chicks Read Cosmo

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Occasionally, scientific inquiry reveals that young men and young women approach the world in different ways. More often, media research accomplishes this, as is the case with a recent nationwide survey by Student Monitor on undergraduates’ magazine-reading habits. The result: Boys like Sports Illustrated, girls favor Cosmopolitan. Shocking!

In a nationwide survey, Student Monitor interviewed 900 undergrads, 150 men and 150 from each grade. The goal: to see what, if any, magazines this crucial demographic reads between games of beer pong and screenings of The Big Lebowski.

Perhaps the most revealing stat from the survey, conducted in October 2009 and released to Student Monitor’s clients three weeks ago, is Sports Illustrated‘s dominance among males and Cosmopolitan‘s hold over females.

In subscriptions, SI was far and away the best at getting young men to pay for magazine delivery; twelve percent said they subscribed. (Is the swimsuit issue that compelling?) Next was Men’s Health (7.5%), then ESPN (6.5%).

Cosmopolitan held a tight grip on women, with 12% of respondents saying they subscribed. That placed the glossy well ahead of runner-up Seventeen (7.6%).

Student Monitor also found that 74% of all students read at least one magazine from a provided list of 31 general circulation titles. Meanwhile, 37% say they subscribe to at least one magazine.

More highlights from the report after the jump.


– Men and women apparently have few shared interests when it comes to magazines; Time was the only title to rank in the top 10 for both genders.

People, Cosmo and Sports Illustrated won the overall student demographic; each secured an 18% share of college readership in 2009. Rounding out the top spots were Time (14%), ESPN (12%) and Rolling Stone (11%).

– In subscriptions, Sports Illustrated again won the top spot; 6.6% of all students said they subscribed. Cosmo came next at 5.9%, and then there was a dramatic dropoff in rates to third-place Seventeen (3.9%).

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