Summary:

Following months of flat growth rates, magazine ad pages have dipped a bit from January to September, a sign that the wider economic problem…

Stack Of Magazines
photo: Corbis / Alfred Schauhuber

Following months of flat growth rates, magazine ad pages have dipped a bit from January to September, a sign that the wider economic problems have started to reverse hard won gains for print since the 2010 recovery, figures from the Publishers Information Bureau show.

Ad pages during the first three quarters of 2011 dropped 1.1 percent compared to January through September, 2010. Meanwhile, PIB ad pages were down 5.6 percent in Q3 compared to the same period last year.

Some will say that publishers are up against some difficult comps versus 2010, when advertising came roaring back across the board. But the pullback this year in ad spending in general has been fairly minimal, mostly due to the fact that ad budgets for traditional media are committed months in advance. The economy was in a hopeful mode for the first half of the year. It wasn’t until August that fears about a double-dip recession really began gathering force.

Still, the PIB is quick to note that it wasn’t all bad news. For example, beauty products and apparel ramped up spending by double-digits in terms of ad revenues; as did financial services. But as most observers of the magazine industry know, the revenue figures are based on rate cards — and except for but a handful of publishers, marketers often get deep discounts from what’s officially stated. Release

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