Publishers Information Bureau: Consumer mags still sliding

By Published on .

Yes, Virginia, there still is a recession in the magazine world. Ad pages at the 250 or so consumer magazines titles audited by Publishers Information Bureau continued to slip, posting a 2.3% decline in the first three months of '03.

One conceivable bright side was that the big-three business titles-McGraw-Hill Cos.' Business Week, Forbes and Time Inc.'s Fortune-all ended up in positive territory after years of declines. But there wasn't a trickle-down to former New Economy high-flyer, Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Fast Company, which had ad pages decline 22.8% to 130.5.

But many established titles suffered body blows. Martha Stewart Living's pages, stung by its founder's conviction, were off 34.0%. Conde Nast Publications' House & Garden watched pages fall 26.3% to 129.2; and sibling titles Self and GQ had their pages drop 17.7% and 21.9% respectively. Gruner & Jahr's YM, reeling from advertiser backlash from overstated newsstand sales figures, had ad pages fall 42.9%. Despite American Media's best efforts to pump up its Bonnie Fuller-ized Star, its ad pages fell 22.0%, a figure surpassed among the top 100 ad page leaders by sibling tabloid National Enquirer. Big drops also came from some key Time 4 Media's TransWorld titles, which formerly posted meteoric growth. Transworld Skateboarding had ad pages fall 21.7% and Transworld BMX's pages were off 34.6%.

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