Wednesday, June 13, 2012

B2B ad page declines accelerate in March, down 10.75%, now down 7.25% for the year

There appears to be no good news for B2B publishers this year as ad pages continue to decline. According to the just released BIN report from The Association of Business Information & Media Companies (ABM), publishers saw the rate of decline in ad pages accelerate in March.

Ad pages in March 2012 fell 10.75 percent against the same quarter in 2011. Last year at this time B2B publishers were reporting ad pages that were essentially flat versus 2010, as some media observers began to hope that the worst was over for the beleaguered industry.
But ad pages are now down 7.25 percent for the year (PDF).

If there is any good news, it is that the trade show side of the business is not showing the same level of declines. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, trade show revenue is up slight, 1.5 percent, to $2.99 billion in the first quarter of the year.

Antidotal evidence points to a continued weakening of second and third tier titles – those titles that are not number one in their industry. Recent copies of some B2B titles coming across my desk show folios of 28 to 32 pages total, with ad page counts barely breaking double digits.

Those publishers waiting for a recovery may have a long wait ahead of them, and since so many B2B firms are owned by private equity companies, there are probably many on the financial side of the business wondering if or when they will be able to exit their investments.