Magazine Print Ad Revenue Will Ebb Until 2013, Outlook Says

But Magazines' Digital Ad Revenue Expected to Keep Growing

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- U.S. consumer magazines will continue to earn increasing digital ad revenue over the next few years, but not enough to erase their troubles selling print advertising, according to the annual global entertainment and media outlook from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Print ad spending in U.S. consumer magazines is set to decline again in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before finally rebounding in 2013 and 2014, according to the outlook, which was released today.

After losing 21% of their print ad revenue last year, U.S. consumer magazines will see print ad revenue dip 7% this year, 3.5% next year and 1.1% in 2012 before increasing 0.6% in 2013, according to the outlook. Their print ad revenue will total $9.1 billion in 2014, down from $10 billion in 2009 and $13.8 billion in 2007, the previous peak.

"We project things will bottom out and start to grow, but in low-percentage terms, and that reflects what we think to be a fairly permanent shift to digital," said Tim Corrigan, partner with the entertainment, media and communications practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

All media, of course, have been affected by the recession, and traditional media have struggled to find the best response to digital media's arrival. U.S. newspapers can expect their print ad revenue to fall 15% this year, for example, and their digital ad revenue to fall 6.8%, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. But not everyone is being hit quite so hard. Terrestrial radio advertising in the United States will grow 3% this year, the outlook predicted, while the country's broadcast TV networks will see advertising expand 5.2%.

U.S. consumer magazines' digital ad revenue never declined in the recession, just grew at a far slower rate: 1.6% last year compared with 114.5% in 2008. Their digital ad revenue will grow 8.5% in 2010 and post double-digit percentage increases after that, according to the outlook. U.S. consumer magazines can expect digital ad revenue of $1.6 billion in 2014, up from $902 million in 2009 and $414 million in 2007.

"If there is a bright side, that's where it is," Mr. Corrigan said. "The expansion of web-enabled digital devices continues to grow. You can be sure, especially in the young demographic, there will be good news there. But we continue to expect magazines to be a tough space to play in."

Circulation revenue is expected to decline again in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before improving in 2013 and 2014, although not enough to reclaim its 2009 level.

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