Issue #1, Summer 1992
|Categories||LGBTQ, news, entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle|
|Circulation||203,000 (includes digital as well as print)|
Out is an American LGBTQ news, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle magazine, with the highest circulation of any LGBTQ monthly publication in the United States. It presents itself in an editorial manner similar to Details, Esquire, and GQ. Out was owned by Robert Hardman of Boston, its original investor, until 2000, when he sold it to LPI Media, which was later acquired by PlanetOut Inc. In 2008, PlanetOut Inc. sold LPI Media to Regent Entertainment Media, Inc., a division of Here Media, which also owns Here TV. The Out100 is their annual list of the most "impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people".
Out was founded by Michael Goff in 1992 as editor in chief and president. The executive editor was Sarah Pettit (since deceased). In 1996, owner Robert Hardman fired Goff and hired Henry E. (Hank) Scott, a former New York Times Co. executive, as president of Out Publishing Inc., with the charge to rescue the financially troubled magazine company. When Scott joined Out, the company had annual revenues of less than $4 million and expenses of $7 million. Scott changed Out LGBT focus, arguing that gay men and lesbians had little in common other than political and legal issues. He fired Pettit and hired James Collard, editor of Attitude, a gay magazine published in the U.K., to refocus Out on an affluent and style-conscious gay male audience. Audited circulation grew by 67 percent to over 130,000 and the household income of the average Out reader, as measured by MRI, grew from $70,000 a year to $90,000 a year. With the help of Lou Fabrizio, a senior advertising executive whom Scott hired from The New York Times, Out began attracting major fashion advertisers and brands such as Saturn, which previously had not advertised in gay publications. Three years after Scott took control of Out, it had tripled its revenue and become the largest-circulation gay magazine in U.S. history. Those changes positioned the publication for a sale by Hardman to LPI Media in 2000.
In 2001 the circulation was 100,000. By 2006, when the magazine was acquired by PlanetOut, Out circulation had reached 130,000. Out attracted international attention when it published its debut Power Issue in May 2007, with a cover that featured two models wearing masks of journalist Anderson Cooper and the actor Jodie Foster above the cover line, "The Glass Closet". Some lesbians have criticized Out for primarily focusing on gay men. A writer for the website After Ellen noted that in 2008, no lesbians were featured on the magazine's cover, and that only 22% of the persons featured in the 'Out 100' were lesbians.
In 2008, Out, along with its sister publication The Advocate, was purchased by Here Media Inc. Since acquiring the brand, Here Media has expanded the magazine's web presence, OUT.com, and added a mobile application.
On April 18, 2012, it was announced that a newly formed company, Grand Editorial, would oversee the editorial content of Out as a contractor for Here Media. Out editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin founded Grand. Although the in-house editorial department was eliminated, Hicklin said that he would hire most of the editorial staff back as contracted freelancers.
In 2013, Here Media and Out hosted the 19th annual OUT100 event in New York City at Terminal 5. The annual event celebrates the compelling people who have had a hand in moving forward LGBT rights.Out introduced a Reader's Choice Award in 2013 in addition to its editorially curated list of the top 100 honorees.
In 2017, Here Media sold its magazine operations to a group led by Oreva Capital, who renamed the parent company Pride Media.
On August 2, 2018, Hicklin announced that he would be stepping down after 12 years as editor-in-chief. R. Kurt Osenlund, the magazine's managing editor since March 2014, assumed the role of executive editor and acting editor-in-chief for one issue.
On August 23, 2018, Phillip Picardi was announced as the next editor-in-chief. Despite editorial changes, the parent company and magazine were still rife with financial issues and frequent complaints from freelancers and contract employees. Picardi left Out in December 2019, announcing his abrupt departure via Twitter.
In February 2019, Women's Wear Daily (WWD) reported that more than forty contributors wrote an open letter to Pride Media and Oreva Capital, its operating entity, as well as its former editorial management partners Grand Editorial and McCarthy LLC, demanding payment for past work. They filed a nonpayment grievance via the National Writers Union. "The National Writers Union is now representing 25 freelance contributors to Out magazine, who are owed more than $40,000 for work that was contracted, produced and published," the union said in a statement.The New York Times detailed the nonpayment issues and that the total owed was in excess of $100,000. The New York Post reported Pride Media owed more than $100,000 in unpaid ad commissions to PinkNews, a London-based digital publisher catering to the global LGBT audience.
Since its beginning, Out offered an annual list, the Out100, documenting a hundred "influential, inspirational" LGBTQ personalities and celebrities and "founded to celebrate and honor some of the most influential LGBTQIA figures." In conjunction with the listings is the annual Out100 Awards honoring a handful of that year's celebrities with: Ingenue of the Year, Reader's Choice, Artist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. In 2019, editor Phillip Picardi said the Out100 was the magazine's "greatest and most well-known tradition".