US Magazine Ad Pages Down 11% in 2008

16 January 2009

NEW YORK: The number of advertising pages in US magazines fell by 11.7% in 2008, as many marketers who typically favor the medium cut back on spending, reports industry body the Publishers Information Bureau.

According to the PIB's estimates, the first quarter decline was 6.4%, followed by an 8.2% drop in Q2, a 12.9% slip in the third quarter, and a 17% slide in the final three months of the year.

Auto manufacturers took 24% fewer ad pages over the year, with financial and home furnishings executions also down by over 10%.

Over 80% of magazines assessed by the PIB posted a decline for the year as a whole, with Time and Newsweek down 19% each, and the US News & World Report hemorrhaging 32% of pages in 2008.

Among other well-known titles, Rolling Stone was down 24%, while Condé Nast titles The New Yorker (–27%) and Vanity Fair (–15.5%) also registered sizeable losses.

Robin Steinberg, director of print services at MediaVest, predicts an equally challenging 2009, saying: "It's going to be a rough first half of the year, with high uncertainty for the second half."

The publications bucking the trend were unusual bedfellows, including Women's Health (+12%), Elle (+5%) and The Economist (+4.4%).

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff