Publishers Information Bureau: Mags post 5.6% increase

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There's good news in Publishers Information Bureau's tally of magazine ad pages for the first quarter, but it comes with caveats. While magazines measured boasted an overall gain of 5.3%, that gain comes compared to the extraordinarily depressed first quarter of 2002, when monthly magazines took a big hit from advertisers' post-Sept. 11 pullback.

Given that-and the disproportionate impact on travel advertisers-it's unsurprising that two of the top 10 gainers were Hachette Filipacchi Media US's Travel Holiday, followed closely by American Express Publishing Corp.'s Travel & Leisure, which posted gains of 53% and 50.1%. (Conde Nast Traveler didn't fare too shabbily either, notching a 22.5% increase.) Similarly, the resurgence of bridal books, Conde Nast Publications' Bride's and the indie Bridal Guide, point to less-wary travel advertisers-at least for the first quarter.

Losses at two formerly-new-economy titles-Conde Nast's Wired and Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Fast Company-reversed, posting 21.5% and 18.4% ad-page gains respectively. But those at Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 continued, with ad pages dropping 12.6% to 99.2.

Drops at the big-three business books eased, with McGraw-Hill Cos. Business Week dropping 3.2% and Time Inc.'s Fortune falling 0.8%. And Forbes posted a 28.8% gain. A category still under stress: music. Miller Publishing's Spin and Wenner Media's Rolling Stone both posted double-digit slips. And while war fears scared some newsweekly advertisers, Time nonetheless notched a 5.5% increase and Washington Post Co.'s Newsweek's ad pages rose 11.7%.

The biggest gainer of all, and on track to post over 1,000 ad pages this year, is Conde Nast's shopping title Lucky, which saw ad pages rocket 89.5% to 251.5.

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