Magazines Turn In Soft Third-Quarter Ad-Page Counts

Some Titles Down Double Digits Year to Date

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NEW YORK ( -- The decline in magazine ad pages accelerated again in the third quarter of 2008, when ad pages came in 12.9% lower than the third quarter of last year, according to new counts from the Publishers Information Bureau. That's a sharper loss than the second quarter, which saw an 8.2% drop, or the first, which slipped just 6.4%.
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Magazine Ad Page Leaders Third Quarter 2008

"We're seeing the unfortunate result of the softness in the economy," said Ellen Oppenheim, exec VP-chief marketing officer at the Magazine Publishers of America, in a statement accompanying the new numbers. "Consumers have cut spending and advertisers have followed suit. It's affected every ad category and every ad-supported sector of the media industry."

Nowhere to hide
Declines showed up in all 12 of the major ad categories tracked by the Publishers Information Bureau. The quarter saw automakers somehow find a way to cut another 1,294 ad pages for a 27.9% chop. Ad pages pushing food sank by 23.4%. Pages for drugs and remedies cratered 19.9%. Home furnishings and supplies dropped 18.5%.

The media and advertising category proved the strongest of the third quarter; its ad pages fell just 5.6%.

Most magazines are now facing declines for the year so far, across all genres. You can see big collapses at The New Yorker, where ad pages sank 22.3%; Blender, which saw pages drop 24.6%; Boating, off its mark by 25.4%; SmartMoney, which fell 25.7%; Country Weekly, itself 26.8% lower; More, which gave up 27.1%; Coastal Living, down 27.9%; and U.S. News & World Report, down 28.2%.

Gainers included Men's Journal, up 10.8%; In Touch, up 12.7%; House Beautiful, up 13.2%, Fast Company, up 31.1%; and OK, up 34.4%.

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Additional PIB rankings of magazine pages and dollars can be found at AdAge DataCenter.
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