Friday, May 16, 2008

Magazines: Ad Pages Slip First 4 Months Of '08

Magazines: Ad Pages Slip First 4 Months Of '08
by Erik Sass

Most big magazine publishers saw total ad pages decline in the first four months of 2008 compared to the same period last year, according to the most recent Group Publisher's Report from TNS Media Intelligence. While some losses can be attributed to the closing of various titles since last year, the broad nature of the declines, cutting across a number of categories, looks ominous for the magazine industry.

(None of the magazines named in this article are necessarily the sources of declines at their respective publishing groups; they are simply some of the leading titles published by those companies.)

Among the "big three" publishers, Time Inc. is definitely faring the worst, with ad pages down 8.2% in the first four months of 2008 to 8,467. Conde Nast and Hearst experienced more modest declines. Conde Nast--which publishes Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ, Details and Portfolio--saw ad pages fall 2.9% to 11,961. Hearst--publisher of Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Esquire--saw ad pages slip 0.6% to 5,614.

Enthusiast and lifestyle publishers were not spared. Bonnier Magazine Group--which purchased a number of enthusiast titles from Time Inc. in 2007, including Field & Stream, Popular Science and Parenting--saw ad pages fall 9% to 4,759 in the first four months of 2008.

Hachette Filipacchi Magazines (publisher of Elle, Woman's Day, Home, Car and Driver, and American Photo, among others) fell 7% to 4,083. Hachette closed the print version of Premiere, an entertainment news title, in favor of online-only publication in March 2007; the decline in ad pages may reflect this move, at least in part.

Meredith Corporation--publisher of women's interest titles, including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle, saw ad pages tumble 13.4% to 3,359.

American Express Publishing Corp., which publishes Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, is down 5% to 1,280 ad pages. Source Interlink, which publishes Motor Trend, Automobile, Hot Rod and Soap Opera Digest, is down 17.1% to 1,828. Finally, Wenner Media, publisher of Rolling Stone, Men's Journal and Us Weekly, is down 9.1% to 1,186.

Rodale Builds Muscle with Men's Health
By Amy Wicks

LIFTING THE VEIL - SORT OF: On Wednesday, Rodale Inc. gave a glimpse into its performance so far this year, which included an increase in print advertising revenues of 8.8 percent, although ad pages declined slightly by 0.6 percent. There's a limit to its openness, however - the company doesn't actually provide profits and sales, or dollar figures of any kind.

Men's Health recorded a 12.1 percent jump in revenues compared with the first quarter of last year; however, ad revenue decreased by 5.6 percent and ad pages were down 11.4 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The January/February issue of the magazine sold a record 750,560 copies on the newsstand, coinciding with a cover price increase to $4.99 from $4.50. Men's Health editor in chief David Zinczenko's book, "Eat This Not That!" has sold more than 400,000 copies since December and is currently the best-selling health and fitness title in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Women's Health continues to build on its early success, up 50.8 percent in ad pages and 133 percent in ad revenue. On Tuesday night, the magazine held its first major event in New York, hosted by Chloƫ Sevigny, and Jessica Stam was one of the DJs. The event showcased a new partnership between the magazine and the Environmental Media Association.

Over at Best Life, ad revenues and pages were both up, at 25.6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Runner's World Media Group had mixed results, with a 6.1 percent revenue increase but Runner's World magazine had a 2.3 percent dip in ad revenue and pages were down 6.7 percent. And Bicycling magazine's ad revenue was up 2.4 percent, while pages fell 3.5 percent.

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