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 Magazinecurrently 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).
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2008 Magazine Advertising Shows Effects of Soft Economy
January 13, 2009
New York, NY (January 13, 2009)—Total magazine rate-card-reported advertising revenue for full-year 2008 closed at $23,652,018,533, posting a 7.8% decline against the previous year, according to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB). A total of 220,813 advertising pages were generated throughout the year, a drop of 11.7% compared to 2007. In the fourth quarter, PIB revenue generated $6,569,577,476, which was a 13.8% decrease compared to 2007’s fourth quarter. There were 60,814.50 advertising pages counted for the quarter, a decline of 17.1% compared to the same period in 2007.
“Like other ad-supported media, magazines have been affected by the economic slump, which deepened as 2008 progressed,” said Ellen Oppenheim, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Magazine Publishers of America, which administers PIB. “Advertiser decisions for the fourth quarter were influenced by a range of factors. For longer-lead time monthlies, consumers cut spending during the summer due to soaring energy prices, which caused advertisers to put buy fewer ads in year-end magazine issues. In the fall and early winter, rising unemployment and steep stock market declines led to restrained ad spending in weekly titles.”