Publishers Information Bureau: Mags post 3.8% increase

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A strong fourth-quarter ad-page performance, including a December of double-digit gains, left the magazine industry with a solid ad-page gain for full-year 2004. Ad pages rose 3.8%, to 234,387.3, compared to 2003, and in December alone magazines' aggregate ad pages rose 10.4%. This is no mean feat: The last year magazines posted a yearly gain was 2000, when paper-castle dot-com behemoths strode the earth, if only for a moment.

The big business books seem solidly in bounce-back mode, with McGraw-Hill Cos. Business Week, Forbes and Time Inc.'s Fortune all posting gains. (The one to watch in that category in '05 is Business Week, which will replace longtime Editor in Chief Stephen Shepard with The Wall Street Journal's Deputy Managing Editor Stephen Adler.) But bridal magazines, long the fattest titles on the newsstands, showed signs of slippage almost across the board. And the traditional women's-service magazines-such as Hearst Magazines' Good Housekeeping and Redbook-that have long been a backbone of the industry all posted ad-page drop-offs.

A range of newer magazines that put a new spin on women's-magazine motifs-from Hearst Magazines/Harpo Productions co-venture O, The Oprah Magazine to Conde Nast Publications' Lucky to Wenner Media's Us Weekly, which was Advertising Age's Magazine of the Year-remain among the hottest titles around, and once again among the biggest gainers.

Still strong as well: Fitness titles aimed at women, led by American Media's bright spot Shape, which posted a whopping 24.1% ad-page gain and was named to Advertising Age's A-List of top magazines.

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