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Mag Publishers: Digital Barely Made A Dent In ’08 Ad Revenues

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Magazine publishers can expect an even tougher year of declining ad pages. And the promise of digital ad sales someday making up for print losses is looking ever more distant. An AdAge survey of mag companies’ digital revenues show that even those that have been most active on the online front have a long way to go.

— Time Inc. came in far ahead of everyone else in terms of dollars — last year, the company brought in an estimated $245 million in digital ad dollars. But that’s only 10 percent of its total ad revenue. Condé Nast’s digital take last year — $104 million — is on its face an impressive figure. But digital contributed a paltry 3 percent of the company’s advertising stream, a surprising fact considering Conde Nast’s early efforts to build an online ad presence.

— Others are making greater strides when it comes to boosting online as a share of their advertising, but their digital revenues are much lower than those of places like Time Inc. At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO), online made up about 12 percent of its ad sales in 2008, but digital revenues totaled just $14 million. Some individual magazine titles are converting to digital at a faster rate. New York Magazine currently gets 20 percent of its ad revenue from the web. The magazine’s goal is to get to 50 percent within five years. A full chart of the survey is available here (PDF).

Photo Credit: lusi

One Response to “Mag Publishers: Digital Barely Made A Dent In ’08 Ad Revenues”

  1. Perhaps there will never be parity between online and print advertising, just as it's been thirty years and there still isn't parity between broadcast and cable television. It is unrealistic to expect advertisers will pay the same rates that they did in print; but nor will advertisers continue to spend as much as they previously did on print. (The recession is also accelerating this trend.) However, it is up to publishers to find new ways of delivering value to advertisers, new ways of creating revenue and new ways of improving margins. Because advertisers–and consumers–will not pay the same for less, clinging to the old ways isn't going to benefit anyone, except the competition.