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First Half for Magazine Ad Pages Flat

Automotive Way Down, while Retail and Drug Pages Come Through

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The industry already knew the first half turned out pretty flat for magazine-ad-page sales, but the just-released official count by the Publishers Information Bureau puts a finer point on it: Pages for standard consumer magazines fell 0.2%, while total pages were flat at 0.1% when Sunday magazines such as Parade and Life are included.
Time Inc.'s 'People' is down 1.6%, though it's still the industry leader with 1,839 ad pages.
Time Inc.'s 'People' is down 1.6%, though it's still the industry leader with 1,839 ad pages.

Much of the pain is can be traced to the car makers; automotive-ad pages are down 16.9% so far this year. But magazines managed to increase pages from drugs and remedies, a category that was up 12.2%, and retail, also up 11.7%.

41.2% drop at 'Jane'
The publishers on the hottest seats might be found at Conde Nast, which has been notoriously quick to punish ad-page failures. Ad pages plummeted 41.2% at Jane magazine, perhaps reflecting the departure of founder Jane Pratt and transition to new Editor in Chief Brandon Holley -- but bad news regardless for VP-Publisher Carlos Lamadrid, who was named to the post last November.

Also at Conde Nast, The New Yorker suffered a 17% decline and Vanity Fair ad pages fell 15%.

At Wenner Media, another company that can get itchy when ad pages fall, Rolling Stone was off 11.9%. The title, however, underwent a change in publishers during that time, which couldn't have helped sales.
Chart: Top 200 Magazine Page Ad Page Leaders
Chart: Top 200 Magazine Page Ad Page Leaders

Gains at 'Guideposts'
There were impressive gains at titles including Guideposts, which was up 50.5% and Rodale's Best Life, which grew pages 66.8%. Some young titles working from smaller bases also performed well, including Conde Nast Publications' Domino, where pages rose 171.1% and Rodale's Women's Health, where pages grew 201.8%.

But look at how Martha Stewart Living continued to rack up gains with Ms. Stewart's prison days behind her: The title's ad pages rose 74.5% to 586.6.

Far more common, however, were titles with small gains or losses, such as Time Inc.'s Business 2.0, up 1.3%; Hearst Magazines' Cosmopolitan, up 2.4%; Meredith's Family Circle, down 0.9%. Meredith's powerhouse, Better Homes and Gardens, is off 10% in ad pages for the first half. Time Inc.'s People is down 1.6%, though it's still the industry leader with 1,839 ad pages.
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