Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ad pages in magazines dropped 11.7% in 2008

Of the more than 230 magazines tracked by the Publishers Information Bureau, only 42 -- or about 18% -- saw ad pages increase for the year, according to figures released by the Publishers Information Bureau via Folio's Jason Fell.

Of the more than 230 magazines tracked by PIB, only 42—or about 18 percent—saw ad pages increase for the year. In other words, it was the biggest dropoff since 2000, the earliest year comparative PIB numbers are available.

Each of the top 12 advertising categories declined in 2008. Hardest hit? Automotive, with titles such as Hot Rod and Automobile, which saw ad pages fall 24.3 percent and revenues decline 20.5 percent to $1.67 billion.

Next up were business magazines. SmartMoney, owned jointly by Hearst and Dow Jones, saw the most severe decline, with ad pages falling 29.7 percent for the year. Mansueto Ventures’ Fast Company was the lone holdout, which posted a 23.9 percent gain in pages. (It should be noted that FastCompany effectively shuttered their online unit and pushed its resources exclusively toward the printed product. -Ed.)

Newsweeklies were next. U.S. News & World Report, which will become a monthly, saw ad pages plummet 32.4 percent for the year. The Week was one of two magazines that posted flat ad page results for the year.

Finally, music magazines. Fell writes that Blender is on "life support" and saw ad pages fall 30.6 percent for 2008. Rolling Stone, which shrunk its signature-sized magazine this year, wasn't far behind, with ad pages declining 23.8 percent.

See if you can pick your favorite title out of this table:


So, who wants to be a magazine editor? Anyone? Anyone?

UPDATE: A great related article by Salon's Rebecca Traister. Here's a good bit from it:

Despite decades of premature bell-tolling about the death of print, turn-of-the-21st-century magazines were, in many ways, plump geese, fattened on big advertising budgets, a seemingly limitless market and an expanding class of consumers eager to spend money on expensive things (whether they could afford them or not). Americans wanted to eat well, dress fine and live lavishly, and that was good for food and shelter and fashion magazines. Americans wanted to wallow in celebrity gossip, and a passel of glossy weeklies was born, delivering Hollywood gossip in photo-larded installments. The pesky divide between editorial and advertising melted with the development of magalogs, publications like Lucky and Domino devoted entirely to introducing readers to stuff they might want to buy.
Good stuff.

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Ethan Anderson said...

Wow, what does that say about Fast Company? I have always liked the magazine, but this makes me want to go out and get a subscription! They must be doing something right if they can be the ONLY MAGAZINE to post double-digit growth in ad pages. I realize the downsizing or "shuttering" of their online presence is a disappointment, but maybe that's just an example of the magazine showing that it's gutsy, business-savvy to the hilt, and not afraid of the hard choices.

Kudos to Fast Company - other magazines should take note!

Ethan
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