Publishers Information Bureau: June sees ad-page drop

By Published on .

Isn't it over yet? A big-bang ad recovery still eludes publishers. Ad pages for the month of June fell 3.2% even as the overall totals for the first half of '03 made a marginal 1.8% gain. This has slipped a little from the first quarter's gain of 5.3%, but that increase owed a lot to comparisons to the massive post-Sept. 11 advertiser pullback, which hit monthly magazines in early 2002.

Bright spots were glimpsed at automotive monthlies, with Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.'s Car and Driver and Road & Track and Primedia's Motor Trend and Automobile all posting double-digit gains. But magazines relying on tech advertising continued to post choppy performances even as the tech category's overall pages grew 4.1% in the first half of '03. Ziff Davis Media's PC Magazine and Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 continue to post negative performances, but Conde Nast Publications' Wired was up 36.6%. The big three business books-Forbes, McGraw-Hill Cos. Business Week and Time Inc.'s Fortune-all posted losses. In the first quarter Forbes notched a 28.8% gain.

Among men's titles, Hearst Magazines' Esquire and Fairchild Publications' Details posted gains of 10.5% and 37.1%. But their page totals still trail those of Conde Nast Publications' GQ even as that title's total fell 1%. Pages at Rodale's Men's Health, while similarly lagging behind GQ's total, shot up 31.4%.

Meteoric growth at the second-tier lad books stilled significantly, with Emap's FHM eking out a 2.2% gain and Dennis Publishing's Stuff falling 2.9%. But growth continued among two next-generation women's titles, which like those lad books posted major gains in '02 as the industry faltered. Conde Nast's Lucky saw ad pages rise 69.6% to 660.6, and Time Inc.'s Real Simple-Ad Age's most recent Magazine of the Year-watched ad pages increase 62.4% to 562.4.

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