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(Aug. 9, 2001) -- What passes for good news from the Publishers Information Bureau survey of magazine ad pages through July is this: While the slide from last year's lofty heights continues, the speed of the slide is slowing.

Through July, the 249 magazines audited by the bureau posted an average ad page loss of 11.7%; through June that figure was 11%, but in May it was 9.4%. Heading downward was Time Inc.'s stalwart In Style, which showed growth in the early part of the year but has now fallen for the first time with a 0.8% decline.

Of the top four advertising categories -- in order, automotive, direct response, travel and sporting goods -- the latter two eked out low single-digit gains of 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively. But last year's high-flyer and top category -- computers, software and Internet -- fell to fifth place, with ad apges off 43.7%.

All of the three newsweeklies were down in the 20% range.

Last year's ad page leader, Industry Standard is No. 21 in the overall ad page derby this year, with pages off 75.3%. -- Jon Fine

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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