Mag Bag: PGA Says Ad Pages Jump 19% in 4Q

relish/spry magazines

PGA Says Ad Pages Jump 19% in 3Q

After one of the worst years in memory, the consumer magazine business may be seeing the first glimmers of a turnaround, as evidenced by stronger results from a few big publishers. One of the prominent success stories is the Publishing Group of America, which reported that total ad pages for its newspaper-distributed monthly magazines -- American Profile, Relish and Spry, which altogether have a combined circulation of 34 million -- jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

Breaking out the specific results, in the fourth quarter, American Profile saw ad pages increase 16%; Relish, PGA's food title, grew 12%; and Spry, a health and lifestyle title, grew 48%.

PGA attributed the increases partly to a number of brands advertising in its titles, which are distributed free with millions of local newspapers in markets across the country. Companies introducing new brands included Pfizer, DelMonte, Unilever, Kraft, Wyeth and Merck. Apparel advertising pages increased 123% and food advertising 32%.

Earlier this month, PGA announced a reorganization to offer advertisers more multimedia options across local markets, including online, events and experiential marketing. In October, PGA unveiled a new research partnership with SDI offering pharmaceutical advertisers the ability to track their ROI in terms of brand trials, product sales and prescription compliance. The service, offered free by PGA to pharmaceutical advertisers, measures the impact of pharma ads in PGA titles in all three areas.

Conde Nast Announces Plan for E-Readers

Conde Nast is working on developing new electronic editions of its magazines that are compatible with the next generation of digital devices. In collaboration with Adobe, Conde Nast will introduce a new magazine application using Adobe AIR, which allows publishers to deliver rich media content via multiple operating systems without the need of a browser. The application should be compatible with various portable digital devices, including laptops, Netbooks, Smartphones and color e-readers set to debut in 2010.

Wired will be the first Conde Nast title to get an Adobe AIR application. Conde Nast is also rolling out new digital content applications for the iPhone, beginning with a digital version of GQ's "Men of the Year" issue, currently available at the iTunes App store.

Magazines Dominate Checkout Sales: Study

A new study from Dechert-Hampe & Company, titled "Front-End Focus," has found that magazines are one of the top three categories (out of 30) dominating retail checkout sales, along with confections and beverages. Sponsored by Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, and Time-Warner, the study used data documenting over 1 million checkout sales and also surveyed 1,300 shoppers about their purchases.

Pasick To Head Atlantic Digital Effort

Atlantic Media, publisher of The Atlantic, has hired Adam Pasick as managing editor of a new digital media brand that will be launched in 2010 and target global business executives. Pasick was most recently U.S. editor of Reuters.com.

Washington Post Co. May Sell Budget Travel

The Washington Post Co. is soliciting new investor support for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel; it is also open to the idea of selling the magazine, per the Folio Web site. The news comes not long after Newsweek, WaPo's flagship magazine, announced a new round of layoffs. According to the most recent corporate earnings results from WaPo, total revenues for its magazine publishing division fell 33% from $60 million in the third quarter of 2008 to $40.2 million in the third quarter of this year.

BusinessWeek Prepares for Layoffs, Hires New Editor

Just weeks after its sale to Bloomberg LP, BusinessWeek is bracing for layoffs that will reduce its staff by one-quarter -- with 100 positions eliminated, according to The Wall Street Journal. Major cutbacks were widely expected, as the new owners try to put the magazine on an even financial keel.

According to the Publishers Information Bureau, in the first nine months of 2009, total ad pages fell 34.7% compared to the same period in 2008, to 860. Also, BusinessWeek announced the hiring of Josh Tyrangiel, formerly the deputy managing editor of Time, as its new editor in chief. Tyrangiel will fill the position currently held by Stephen Adler, who will vacate his post by the end of the year.

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