However, many magazines offer unannounced discounts on their reported "rate card" prices, making it difficult to know the true extent of price inflation.
The first three quarters saw big spending increases in the drugs and remedies category, which led revenue growth, although drugs and remedies slumped in the third quarter--possibly due to the political controversy surrounding direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies.
Other categories enjoyed considerable revenue growth: food and food products were up 16%; media and advertising rose 10.4%; retail grew 13.2%; and cosmetics jumped 10.9%. These increases paralleled somewhat smaller single-digit gains in ad pages in those categories.
While year-to-date results are good news for the magazine industry overall, some giants are ailing. Time Inc. in particular is having a difficult year, according to a report from TNS Media Intelligence, which says total ad pages at Time Inc. publications are down 6.6% and revenue basically flat, with a 0.3% decline in the first three quarters.
By contrast, Conde Nast is one of the big winners, with ad pages up 3.9% and revenue jumping 10.9% in the same period. Meredith Corp. follows with a 7% increase in revenue in the first three quarters compared to 2006.