NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Automotive advertisers increased their ad pages and rate-card ad spending in United States magazines in the first quarter of this year, compared with the first quarter of 2009, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. That's the first time auto advertising rose by both measures since 2007, when the bureau adopted the current quarterly reporting format.
The magazine business already received an initial picture of its first quarter in February, when the Media Industry Newsletter reported that a 5.7% decline in ad pages across the titles it tracks, the smallest drop in two years even if it represented the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.
The new figures from the Publishers Information Bureau show a steeper ad-page drop across the titles that the bureau tracks, which saw ad pages fall 9.4% from the first quarter of 2009. Keep in mind that these comparisons are being made against a quarter last year that was wholly abysmal, with a 25.9% drop in ad pages by the bureau's count.
The bureau's new report also shed new light on which advertisers are coming back and which are still buying fewer pages.
Three of the 12 major advertising categories in magazines ran more magazine ad pages in the first quarter this year than in the first quarter last year: financial, insurance and real estate, which increased ad pages by 11.3%; toiletries and cosmetics, which increased ad pages by 7.6%; and automotive, which increased ad pages by a slim 1.3%.
The other nine big marketer categories continued to post significant drops, led by apparel and accessories, which ran 15.7% fewer ad pages; drugs and remedies, which ran 15.6% fewer ad pages; technology, which ran 14.7% fewer pages; media and advertising, which ran 13% fewer ad pages; and public transportation, hotels and resorts, which also ran 13% fewer ad pages.
"The picture was brighter with an increase in major categories posting ad page and revenue growth, despite softness overall," said Ellen Oppenheim, exec VP and CMO at the Magazine Publishers of America, which released the report. "In addition, almost six times as many titles generated ad page gains compared to the first quarter of 2009, another sign of industry improvement. The positive trending in pages and revenue suggests that second quarter performance for magazines will be stronger."