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Magazine revenue goes down yet again

There were 29.5 percent fewer magazine advertising pages sold in the second quarter of 2009 than in 2008, the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) announced late Friday. That follows a 26 percent decline in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2008, while 2008 ended on a 17 percent drop compared to 2007’s last quarter. It appears magazines aren’t going to get thick, the indicator of a financially healthy magazine industry, any time soon.

Regarding the entire first half of the year, the PIB, which tracks the advertising pages and revenue of the magazine industry, showed there were 79,245.30 advertising pages sold so far

Magazine revenue down again

Magazine revenue down again

in 2009, down 28 percent from first half of 2008.

Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Magazine Publishers of America, the parent group of the PIB, issued a statement with the revenue release. Like the previous three quarters, it was the recession impacting the magazine industry.

“The sectors most severely affected by the downturn –  automotive, finance and retail – show the greatest declines in ad revenue and paging during the first half,” she said.

Concerning revenue, the drop in figures is smaller, but some magazine industry experts argue that advertising page counts are a better indicator of the industry’s health. Magazine rate-card-reported advertising revenue for the second half of 2009 closed at $9,095,979,740, a 21 percent drop compared to the first half of 2008.

A list of major magazines and their advertising revenue and pages for 2009 are here. Some of the major declines in advertising pages included Town & Country, down approximately 43 percent; Architectural Digest, 49.5 percent; and Business Week, nearly 37 percent.

Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS Media Intelligence, said in a telephone interview that he doesn’t believe advertising revenue for magazines, or the rest of the media, will improve this year.

And once the national economy improves, he said it would be four to six months before advertising spending, and thus media revenue, would show a significant increase. Advertising spending lags behind the economy by a number of months, he said.

“The carnage in the rearview mirror is pretty ugly, and the view down the road is murky,” he said.

–Michael Blankenheim

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