The long, steady decline of print advertising continued in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Information Bureau, which tallied total
magazine ad pages at 28,567 -- down 4% from 29,745 in the first quarter of 2013.
Losses were widespread, with 109 out of 181 titles (or 60% of the total) tracked by the PIB
experiencing year-over-year declines.
Within this group 54 titles -- or 30% of the total -- experienced ad page declines of 10% or more, and 23 -- or 12.7% of the total -- experienced
declines of 20% or more.
Women’s domestic and homemaking titles took some of the biggest hits, with Martha Stewart Living
down 34.8% to 109 ad pages; Country
down 29.2% to 63; Family Circle
down 28.2% to 160; Better Homes and Gardens
down 23.4% to 191; Ladies’ Home Journal
down 22% to 87; and
down 18.1% to 212.
The list of big titles that experienced significant declines also included Rolling Stone
, down 27.1% to 139;
, down 25.3% to 40 ad pages; Men’s Fitness
, down 24.4% to 144; People Style Watch
, down 22.3% to 193; Lucky
, down 19.9% to 141; Motor Trend
down 19% to 132; Entertainment Weekly
, down 16.7% to 214; and Food Network Magazine
, down 15.7% to 138.
According to a PIB analysis, two categories -- tech and
retail -- were responsible for 63% of the overall ad page declines.
Taking a longer view, the total figure for ad pages in the first quarter of 2014 represents a 54.4% decline from a
peak value of 52,533 in the first quarter of 2007.
One bright spot: many magazine publishers are reporting strong results in digital advertising delivered as part of tablet editions.