Turnaround Eludes B-To-B

At a time when industry forecasters are beginning to upgrade their expectations for consumer media spending, B-to-B ad spending continues to languish, although its rate of erosion appears to have leveled off.

In April--the most recent month for which data is available--ad pages fell a smidgen, dropping 0.2 percent in the U.S. business press, according to estimates released Tuesday by American Business Media. That's the most stable month yet in a year that has seen B-to-B ad pages drop 2.0 percent, and which follows three consecutive years of significant ad page erosion. B-to-B ad pages fell 3.2 percent in 2003, 15.0 percent in 2002, and 19.7 percent in 2001.

Ad revenues rose 2.7 percent in April, and are up 0.2 percent through the first four months of 2004, according to the estimates compiled by the Business Information Network for ABM.

"April numbers turned out to be just as we forecast," said Gordon Hughes, president and CEO of American Business Media. "We're projecting that most of the growth for 2004 will take place in the second half of the year."



Six of the 11 ad categories tracked by BIN posted an increase in April ad pages. Automotive was up 6.0%; Telecommunications up 5.8%; Drugs & Toiletries up 1.8%; Services, Direct Response & Classified up 1.2%; Retail up 0.7%; and Finance, Business & Advertising up 0.3%. The remaining categories were down: Software by 11.0%; Manufacturing by 5.5%; Computers by 4.4%; Travel by 1.8%; and Home & Building by 1.7%.

B-to-B Ad Pages, Revenue

Ad Pages Ad Dollars
January -4.6% +2.4%
February -0.9% +0.2%
March -5.5% -2.6%
April -0.2% +2.7%

Year-to-Date -2.0% +0.6%

Source: American Business Media from the Business Information Network database. As of January 2004 estimates are derived from IMS/The Auditor.
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