Mag Publishers Tumble In First Half Of 2008

VanityFair Any questions about the state of the consumer magazine industry were put to rest by the Group Publisher's Report covering the first half of the year from TNS Media Intelligence. During January-June, nine of the top 10 publishers saw their total ad pages fall compared to the same period last year. Most percentage declines were in the high single digits, averaging about 7%. Following is a summary of results at big magazine publishers, in order of size by total ad pages.

According to TNS MI, Conde Nast saw total ad pages fall 6.3% to 17,560 in the first half of the year. This was due, in part, to declines at titles like Glamour (8.2%), GQ (5.2%), Lucky (12.2%), Vanity Fair (8.8%), Gourmet (18.5%) and The New Yorker (20.1%).

Time Inc.'s total ad pages slid 7.8% to 13,769. Flagship newsweekly Time is down 21.1%, joined by other big titles like People (4.9%), Entertainment Weekly (16.8%), Southern Living (6.7%), InStyle (9.6%) and Cooking Light (14.4%).

Hearst Corporation is down 3.3%, to 8,723. Contributing to the decline were Cosmopolitan (down 15.1%), Esquire (5.7%), Redbook (8.0%), Marie Claire (7.3%), Seventeen (5.7%) and SmartMoney (21.9%).

Bonnier Magazine Group, which acquired Time Inc.'s portfolio of enthusiast titles last year, saw total ad pages fall 7.6%, to 7,916. Among the titles that fell were Outdoor Life (down 5.8%), Ski (16.7%), Skiing (9.5%), Motorboating (23.6%), Salt Water Sportsman (24.6%) and Yachting (22.0%).

Hachette Filipacchi's total ad pages fell 7.9% to 6,362. Big titles experiencing declines included Home (down 30.9%), Car and Driver (8.6%), Boating (24.3%) and Cycle World (22.6%).

Ad pages at Meredith, publisher of women's interest titles, tumbled 14.4% to 5,612. Leading the way were flagships Better Homes & Gardens (down 12.7%), Ladies' Home Journal (14.3%), and Family Circle (14.5%). Also down were Fitness (23.9%) and More (23.4%).

American Media is down 1.5% to 4,095. This decline was mostly due to the National Enquirer, where ad pages fell 8% to 429.

Total ad pages at Source Interlink fell17.9% to 2,725. This was due to declines at Motor Trend (down 12.5%), Automobile (10.8%), Hot Rod (4.4%), and Soap Opera Digest (23.1%).

American Express Publishing Corp. was down 3.6% to 2,058. Among titles that declined in the first half of the year were Travel + Leisure (down 7.0%), Food & Wine (4.1%) and Departures (2.3%).

The sole exception in the top 10 was Rodale--publisher of Men's Health, Best Life, Women's Health, Cycling, and Prevention--where total ad pages remained flat. While this would have been considered a mediocre result a decade ago, Rodale's 0% change in ad pages looks positively remarkable in the current advertising climate.

Next story loading loading..