The grip of the ad downturn eased for magazines in the last quarter of `02, thanks in part to comparisons with the frozen ad period post-Sept. 11. Weeklies and every-other-weeklies, the easiest titles to pull ads from, showed a 4.7% gain in the quarter and eked out a 1.1% gain for the full year. The only categories to report down quarters were largely those still stung by broad economic setbacks, like computers (down 8.8%) regional business titles (down 3.1%), boating-yachting (down 4.9%) and in-flight magazines (down 4.8%). Interestingly, travel titles posted a 18.3% ad page increase-the largest of any category save for the surging science/technology (up 21.4% in the quarter) and Sunday newspaper magazines (up 20.9%). National Sunday magazines-like Parade, USA Weekend and American Profile-didn't do too shabbily either, posting a 10.7% increase and a 7.6% jump for the full-year. Some comfort may be taken by the national business magazines, which went into the black this quarter with a 2.9% increase after feeling much pain throughout the entire recession. Publishers continue to caution no rapid rebound from the downturn is in sight, but look for most categories to put in a good showing for the first quarter of `03, which, for monthlies, compares against a period most hard hit by post-Sept. 11 falloff.
Linage is given in paid ad pages. (X) represents the number of times published each year; publications are monthly unless otherwise specified. Sectional linage is prorated to circulation of regional editions. A. Figures do not reflect comparable number of issues. B. Incomplete report, not included in group total and percentage change. C. Figures suppled by Publishers Information Bureau. D. New magazine, comparable results not available; not included in total group and percentage change. E. Current time periods include a special issue. Ad Age makes no attempt to verify figures and is not responsible for inconsistencies or errors.
-Compiled by Elizabeth Sturdivant