Monthly magazines saw total ad pages grow 7.9% in June and 4.9% in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same periods last year, according to Media Industry Newsletter.
While these are modest growth figures, the second-quarter increase is a welcome reversal of previous trends, marking the first quarter of positive growth in ad pages after nine consecutive quarters of drops.
Total ad pages in 150 monthlies tracked by MIN topped 10,533 in June 2010, up from 9,763 in June 2009. For the year-to-date, total ad pages are still down slightly at 55,531 -- 0.16% less than last year's 55,622. However, the recent trend is quite positive because of the strong June and second-quarter numbers.
Growth was dominated by a large group of especially strong titles. Overall, 95 titles (63%) saw ad pages increase in June, with 30 (20%) experiencing single-digit percentage growth, 17 (11%) growing 10% to 19.9%, and the rest (48, or 32%) growing 20% or more.
But this good news was tempered somewhat by continuing losses at other monthlies. Among the 55 titles which saw ad pages decline, 25 titles (16%) experienced percentage drops in the single digits, 17 (11%) declined 10%-19.9%, and the rest -- 13 titles, or 9% -- dropped 20% or more.
Significantly, titles which were down in June were also more likely to be down by a comparable percentage for the year-to-date, suggesting that June is not an anomaly.
The continuing declines at some titles -- mirroring increases at others -- suggest that 2010 may bring a shakeout in the magazine business, as a strong cohort is buoyed by the tentative economic recovery, while a weak cohort suffers stagnation or even further declines.