Well, I’ve never seen any official studies of this, but I think TC once said that most muscle magazine buyers are males in their late teens to mid-twenties. You’re right about that being a broke demographic and perhaps that why the mags and ads have gotten so over the top ridiculous lately – they’re all just clamoring to get that limited amount of money/attention span.
I’m also guessing that this is one reason why Muscle Media changed. The new target of that mag is older people (read more disposable income) and women. Plus more people want to lose fat rather than gain muscle so you see a shift there too in the regular mags.
The T&A sells more mags obviously. And I think sex appeals to all demographics, not just young guys. Some mags even include a few “gay” looking pics to appeal to the homosexual population. In fact, a couple of muscle mags (I’m sure you know the ones) are in fact published by gay men for a gay audience. The whole “fitness” theme is a joke as these are not-so-cleverly disguised stroke mags aimed at the gay market. And I’m not making this up or being homophobic. I read an interview with a guy who owned 2 or 3 of these “exercise” mags that fit this category and he’s very open about who his audience is.
I think T-mag appeals to a wide age range. Our audience tends to be more experienced and more educated. It’s more a matter of IQ than age, although at one time I would have guessed our core audience to be older than normal since older = more experienced in most cases. But now I can’t say that. T-mag readers cover the whole age spectrum.