Magazine ad revenue declines 3.1% in first half

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New York—Total magazine rate card-reported advertising revenue reached nearly $11.6 billion in the first half, down 3.1% from the year-earlier period, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures released by the Magazine Publishers of America.

“Sustained economic softness has negatively affected magazine advertising across a range of categories in the first half of 2008, including the particularly sensitive auto sector,” the MPA said in a news release. “Declines were also seen in toiletries & cosmetics, home furnishings & supplies, apparel & accessories, direct response companies and financial, insurance & real estate. In addition, drug advertising throughout media, subject to intense regulatory scrutiny in the earlier part of the year, may have contributed to softness in that magazine ad category.

Categories showing gains in the first half were: food & food products, retail, and public transportation, hotels & resorts.

“Recent reports indicate a downward trend in overall ad forecasts for 2008, which is reflected in PIB first-half numbers for magazines,” said Ellen Oppenheim, exec VP-CMO of the MPA. “The magazine ad trend this year is similar to those of the last ad dropoffs—in the early 1990s as well as 2001-02—when PIB revenue and pages declined but later rebounded as the ad market picked up.”

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