Magazine Ad Revenues, Pages Fall in Q1 2010

April 13, 2010

Ad pages also declined in Q1 2010 compared to Q1 2009, falling 9.4%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB).

Q1 2010 magazine rate-card-reported advertising totaled $4.04 billion USD, while quarterly ad pages totaled 34,794.94.

Auto, Finance, Toiletries Ads Do Well in Revenue
Despite the overall quarterly magazine advertising decline, magazines saw PIB ad revenue and page growth in three of 12 major advertising categories during the first quarter of 2010. These categories were Automotive; Financial, Insurance & Real Estate; and Toiletries & Cosmetics. (Twelve categories are the most significant contributors to PIB revenue, comprising more than 85% of total advertising spending.)


Quarterly Finance magazine ad spending grew 18.3%, from $160.9 million USD to $190.3 million USD. Auto magazine ad spending grew 16.3%, from $199.2 million USD to $231.6 million USD. Toiletries magazine ad spending rose 11.5%, from $438.3 million USD to $488.6 million USD.

Other major categories saw an ad spending uptick within subsectors in Q1 2010. These included pharmaceutical companies and fitness/diet programs in Drugs & Remedies; footwear, jewelry and other clothing accessories in Apparel & Accessories; branded clothing shops and discount department stores in Retail; household appliances, supplies and cleansers in Home Furnishings & Supplies; and communications companies in Technology.

Tech, Hotels, Apparel Biggest Money Losers
On the flip side of the PIB ad revenue coin, the three categories with the largest losses (percentagewise) in Q1 2010 were Technology, Public Transportation, Hotels & Resorts, and Apparel & Accessories. Quarterly Technology magazine ad spending fell 19.7%, from $175 million to $140.5 million. Hotels magazine ad spending dropped 17.6%, from $218.3 million to $180 million. Apparel & Accessories magazine ad sending declined 11.6%, from $359.1 million USD to $317.3 million USD.

Revenue Leaders also Lead Ad Pages
Not surprisingly, the same three categories which gained in PIB magazine ad revenue during Q1 2010 were also the three categories which gained in PIB ad pages for the quarter. Finance magazine ad pages grew 11.3%, from 1,432.46 pages to 1,594.39 pages. Toiletries magazine ad pages rose 7.6%, from 2,932.49 pages to 3,154.59 pages. Auto magazine ad pages increased 1.3%, from 1,670.83 pages to 1,692.94 pages.

This marks the first time since 2007, when PIB moved to a quarterly reporting schedule, that the Auto category has posted an increase in both revenue and pages. The gains were driven primarily by US automarker activity. Cosmetics, personal hygiene and hair products boosted the Toiletries category, while credit cards and banking contributed to the growth in Finance.

Apparel, Drugs, Tech Lose Most Pages
In terms of negative percentage growth in PIB magazine ad pages during Q1 2010, two of the three categories which lost the highest percentage of revenue also lost the highest percentage of ad pages. Apparel & Accessories magazine ad pages declined 15.7%, from 4,078.23 to 3,436.67. Drugs & Remedies, which was not in the top three magazine ad revenue-losers for the quarter, lost 15.6% of its magazine ad pages, going from 4,433.08 to 3,740.5. Technology ad pages decreased 14.7%, from 1,500.22 to 1,279.91.

Other Findings
During Q1 2010, 85 magazines posted an increase in ad pages, compared to 15 magazines during the same period in 2009. One-hundred-and-one magazines registered PIB revenue gains in Q1 2010, compared to 28 titles in the same period of last year.

“The picture was brighter with an increase in major categories posting ad page and revenue growth, despite softness overall,” said Ellen Oppenheim, EVP/Chief Marketing Officer, Magazine Publishers of America. “In addition, almost six times as many titles generated ad page gains compared to first quarter of 2009, another sign of industry improvement. The positive trending in pages and revenue suggests that second quarter performance for magazines will be stronger.”

Magazine Ad Pages Fall 26% in ’09
Overall declines in magazine ad revenues and pages during Q1 2010 is a continuation of a negative trend displayed in 2009, according to The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Recent Pew data indicates that magazine ad pages fell 26% for the year across the board. Time and Newsweek saw ad pages fall 17% and 26% respectively. Among niche news magazines, the only one to gain ad pages was The Week, which grew 9.5%.

Some of this decline is likely due to declining magazine readership. Pew research also indicates that magazine circulation fell 2.23% for the second half of 2009, compared with the same period a year earlier. Single-copy sales fell 9%, following an 11% drop a year earlier. Across the six news magazines tracked, circulation fell 8.2%.

About the Data: Kantar Media collects and monitors consumer magazine advertising spending and related data and supplies it to PIB. PIB is a membership organization, administered by Magazine Publishers of America, consisting of approximately 250 different magazine titles and newspaper-distributed magazines.

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