Blog Post

PIB: Magazine Rate Cards, Ad Pages Rise — First Time In Nine Quarters

It’s been clear since the end of last year that magazines were benefiting for the ad spend recovery, but looked as though the improvement was merely going to be less severe declines. The latest figures from the Publishers Information Bureau actually show that consumer mags made some small gains in Q2. Nevertheless, the comeback remains fairly anemic.

In Q2, magazine rate-card-reported ad revenue hit $5.2 billion, a 5.7 percent increase against the same period in ’09. Ad pages in Q2 were a little better than flat, gaining of 0.8 percent year-over-year.

It’s important to point out that rate card revenues are a poor indicator of mags’ health, since most magazines offer discounts. Ad pages are a more exact representation of how good or bad things are. Still, considering the last two years, the rise in those two categories is worth noting, if only because the last time both areas were on the plus side was in Q407.

PIB ad revenue and pages grew in six of 12 major ad categories in Q2. Automotive spending on mag ads surged 28 percent, while Financial, Insurance & Real Estate were up 20 percent as Toiletries & Cosmetics’ spending grew 17 percent. The worst performing category was Public Transportation, Hotels and Resorts, which was down 18 percent, followed by Direct Response, which spent 12.2 percent less in Q2.

Among the titles with the best performing ad pages growth:

ESPN: 42.9 percent
The Atlantic: up 35 percent
Boy’s Life: 55.6 percent
Esquire: 25.5 percent

The full list of the mag’s results is here. More details in the release as well.