Global Magazine Recovery Proves Erratic, B2B Shifts From Print To The Web

North American publishers are leading the worldwide magazine advertising economy out of a protracted recession that began with the media market crash in 2001, but many key magazine markets continue to lag, finds the 2004-05 edition of World Magazine Trends released Tuesday by ZenithOptimedia Group and the International Federation of the Periodical Press.

While North American magazines are now "well into their second year of relatively strong recovery," the report reveals an erratic ad recovery in other markets, especially Asian markets like Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

The report finds that U.S. ad revenues rose 6 percent of consumer magazines and 2 percent for business-to-business titles, reflecting estimates compiled by the Magazine Publishers of America and American Business Media, respectively. However, the ad revenue growth obfuscates the fall-off in demand for magazine ad pages that has continued for business-to-business magazines, and was somewhat erratic for consumer magazines in the United States until only a few months ago.



Consumer magazine ad revenues rose 9 percent in 2003, the strongest rate of growth of the developed magazine advertising markets.

"Ad spend in most business-to-business magazines continued to suffer as B2B advertisers shift spending from traditional print magazines to websites, exhibitions and alternative media such as search engines," finds the report. "Many B2B magazine companies are seeking to capture these revenues by diversifying into new media formats, thus becoming B2B media companies rather than just magazine publishers."

The report also illustrates that fundamentally different business models operate for publishers in some key magazine markets. In all markets except for the United States and Germany, consumer magazine publishers derive more revenue from copy sales than from advertising. This proved to be a significant issue in many markets in 2003, as circulation was steady or slightly lower than the previous year in most developed markets. In most developing markets, magazine circulation continued to grow, fueled by rising incomes and increasing literacy rates.

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