Magazine Ad Pages Continue to Decline, Despite Increase in Digital

Print pages off 4.5 percent in second quarter

MPA — The Association of Magazine Media has released its consumer magazine ad page data for the second quarter of 2013, and again, print advertising continues to decline. Advertising for the quarter fell 4.5 percent versus the year-ago quarter, putting the total decrease for the first half of the year at 4.9 percent.

Some of the hardest-hit magazine categories included financial titles (The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Money and Harvard Business Review all saw double-digit ad page drops on soft financial advertising), newsweeklies (Time was off 16.8 percent, The Week, 22.7 percent) and thought-leaders like The Atlantic, New York and The New Yorker.

The publisher-submitted numbers come from Publishers Information Bureau, a service of MPA.

Titles that depend on the healthier categories of fashion and grooming fared better. Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, GQ, Esquire and Details all posted gains, as did Vogue, W, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country. Helped by an increase in food advertising, books like Bon Appétit, Food Network magazine, Eating Well, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart Living all had double-digit ad page increases.

Digital advertising is growing fast, albeit off a small base. Across the 58 magazines for which the MPA had both print ad pages and iPad ad units (so far the only tablet for which PIB has data), print pages decreased 1 percent while iPad ad units rose 24.5 percent, for a combined 7 percent increase.

MPA president and CEO Mary Berner called the digital gains “encouraging” and said they underscored the need to collect more tablet data. “When you only report on print, it’s not reporting on magazines anymore,” she said. “You have to report across platforms.”

Cross-platform data has been slow in coming, but around 100 magazines will be reporting tablet and print data by next quarter, per Berner. 

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