More magazines launched than closed in the first quarter of the year, which saw the debut of 52 titles, versus just 12 titles shuttered, according to MediaFinder.com, an online database of U.S. and Canadian publications.
The number of new launches was down slightly from the first quarter of 2011, when 54 titles began publishing. But at the same time, the number of closures fell steeply from 24 last year.
The top category for new launches was restaurants, thanks to five new DiningOut guides from Pearl Publishing. Other big categories for new launches were hunting and fishing, with four new titles from J.F. Griffin Publishing, and lifestyle magazines, also with four new titles, including Bloomberg Pursuits. Magazine closures included Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade and Spa.
The Q1 figures are roughly on the same pace as last year, when 239 new magazines launched -- up 24% from 193 new launches in 2010, according to Mediafinder.com. The number of magazines that closed last year decreased year-over-year, from 176 in 2010 to 152 in 2011.
Both the number of new launches and magazines shuttered were down significantly from a few years before, when adverse economic conditions took a heavy toll on the industry. According to MediaFinder.com, a total of 596 magazines closed in 2009, while 275 launched that year.
The magazine industry faces continuing declines in print advertising. According to MIN Online, total ad pages for big consumer magazine titles decreased 6.3% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period last year. Just 34 of the 150 titles tracked by MIN showed ad page increases.