Tech Ad Erosion Resumes, May Never Stop
Tech magazine ad pages declined 16.5% in July versus July 2002, according to estimates released this week by the IMS Auditor, a unit of tech publisher CMP Media. That's actually a slightly greater rate of erosion than the 16.2% drop the category experienced during the first seven months of 2003, though it is an improvement over an 18.0% drop over the past 12 months.
The rate of tech ad erosion isn't nearly so severe for consumer magazines, but it appears to have expanded in recent months, according to data released this month by the Publishers Information Bureau. Total consumer magazine ad pages bought by technology advertisers were down 6.6% in July, compared to a decline of only 2.7% through the first seven months of the year.
The picture isn't any better at the Wall Street Journal, which reported a 15.7% in its tech ad pages for July, though that is the same rate of erosion that the paper experienced through the first seven months.
"I think tech saw its heyday. And when it crashed, it came down hard. It will never be at that level again. At least not until another major development comes along," predicts Caroline Riby, media director at Rochester-based Roberts Communications. She says it would take a major impetus along the magnitude of the "introduction of personal computers" or the Y2K technology upgrade to get the tech category up to the levels it experienced during the Internet run-up period.
While few tech-dependent titles are prepared to wait until Y3K, Riby says there still is positive news in the rate of tech spending erosion.
"It's leveling off. It's doing what it's supposed to do, but people are expecting it to go back to where it was and that's just not going to happen. Where it was, was probably too high to begin with," she notes.
Tech Magazine Ad Spending
2003 Ad Pages 2002 Ad Pages Change
July: 5,410 6,481 -16.5%
Year-to-July: 39,804 47,502 -16.2%
12-months-to-July: 73,887 90,138 -18.0%
Source: CMP Media's IMS Auditor report.