Positive signs finally emerge for US magazines

14 July 2010

NEW YORK: Magazine publishers in the US have experienced the first signs of meaningful growth since 2007, according to new figures.

The Publishers' Information Bureau, the trade body, reported that advertising spend, based on rate card estimates, jumped by 5.7% to $5.2bn in the second quarter of this year.

More broadly, the volume of ads featured in the titles assessed climbed by 0.8% to around 43,000, with 130 magazines, including The Atlantic, Vogue, The New Yorker and Time, enjoying upticks on this measure.

This marked an increase from just 15 publications that generated improvements in demand during the period from April to June 2009.

One contributor to this trend was the highly favourable comparisons from the low base recorded across the whole of last year, when offerings like Gourmet and Modern Bride were forced to close.

However, several product categories boosted their outlay in Q2 2010.

For example, automakers heightened their investment in this medium by 28%, with the amount of ad pages attributable to car brands leaping by 41% as a result.

Financial services, insurance, real estate and cosmetics firms followed a similar strategy, the Publishers' Information Bureau revealed.

Topping the list of the biggest gainers in the second quarter was Food Network magazine, which saw ad sales surge by over 800%, as its density of ad pages more than doubled.

Newsweek, which was put up for sale last month, posted a modest increase of 2.9% in terms of pages, while its revenues contracted by 23%.

These totals stood at 14.7% and 38.6% in turn for TV Guide, which also found the trading climate particularly challenging.

Despite this, the PIB predicted the strong gains for the magazine industry will continue to pick up pace in the next two months.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff