MPA: Mag Ad Share Holds Steady In 2007

Magazines' share of total ad spending rose about 1% in 2007, compared to 2006--to almost 18.5%, according to the Magazine Publishers of America. The figures, based on data from TNS Media Intelligence, put magazines ahead of every other media category except the Internet in terms of share growth. Online spending also rose about 1% from 2006-2007, to 7%.

The MPA tabulation also seems to put magazines in a different league from other traditional media, which are all stagnant or declining, with the exception of outdoor advertising. Also per TNS, TV's share of total revenues slipped 0.45% to 44.2%, newspapers fell just over 1% to 17.4%, and radio's down 0.3% to just over 7%.

Separate data from the Publishers Information Bureau gives some idea where the growth is. In 2007, the drugs and remedies category saw ad pages grow 3.1% to 19,674, in large part due to more direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies. Food and food products were also up 9.8% in ad pages, and retail rose 2.2%. These helped offset drops in technology, down 14.1%, and automotive, down 6.3% in ad pages.



The ad revenue figures from TNS and the PIB should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are based only on the official revenue rate cards provided by magazine publishers to set standard prices. That means they don't reflect discounts offered by many magazine publishers behind closed doors. It's hard to know the true extent of discounting across the industry, but there is anecdotal evidence of discounts up to 90% at some struggling pubs.

By the same token, it's clear that some magazine publishers are booming.

According to its own revenue figures, Rodale's revenues grew 7.8%, thanks in part to the popularity of titles like Men's Health, Women's Health and Runner's World--benefiting also from the pharmaceutical DTC boom.

Meanwhile, Meredith Corp.'s publishing revenues rose 2% in its fiscal year 2007 (ending in June), according to the form 10-K it filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission--like Rodale, benefiting from DTC ads.

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