For most of 2011 it looked like consumer magazine publishers would be able to eek out a small gain in ad pages. But thanks to a very bad fourth quarter, total ad pages for 2011 fell 3.1 percent for the year, according to the year-end report issued by the Publishers Information Bureau.
"The magazine industry posted positive 2011 Q1 and Q2 advertising performances in pages and revenue, but a weakened economy in the second half of the year offset those gains as advertisers grew more skittish from diminished consumer spending, wild stock market swings and zero job growth,” said Nina Link, President and CEO, MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.
"There were pockets of strength in some categories for full-year 2011. Advertisers in the apparel, cosmetics and financial sectors increased their magazine marketing spend last year. Magazines were negatively impacted by the food sector in 2011 as rising energy and production costs in the food industry resulted in a decreased overall advertising spend. Similarly, magazines were also affected by a decline in overall advertising spending in home furnishing and supplies, a result of the soft housing market,” Link said.
Ad pages declined by 8 percent in the fourth quarter, wiping out any hope that the year would end positively.
Magazines that recorded good ad page growth included AARP-The Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Departures, and Esquire. But most titles recorded ad page declines including Better Homes & Gardens, Cooking Light, Flex, Ladies Home Journal, Real Simple, Saveur, and Scholastic Parent & Chile. Both Sports Illustrated and Sporting News also recorded declines in ad pages in 2011.
The list of magazines follows the break: