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Magazine Advertising Sales Drop in November


Magazine advertising revenue for November fell by 11.2%, to $1.6 billion, compared with the same month a year ago, with technology, media and travel-related publications showing dramatic drops, the Publishers Information Bureau reported Tuesday.

Only three major advertising categories--drugs, magazines published by direct response companies and magazines devoted to toiletries and cosmetics--logged gains, according to the bureau.

"Magazine advertising continues to experience repercussions from Sept. 11, as are most other media," said Ellen Oppenheim, the bureau's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

The terrorist attacks clearly hurt some categories, including transportation, hotels and resorts. Delta Air Lines' Sky Magazine, for example, saw a 39.7% revenue drop and a 41.9% drop in its number of advertising pages. US Airways Inc.'s Attache in-flight magazine suffered a 19% drop in revenue and a 39.6% drop in ad pages.

Travel magazines, though, were suffering before Sept. 11 as hotel, airline and other travel-related advertisers cut back in the face of growing talk of a recession.

After the attacks, many advertisers outside the travel industry--including upscale auto manufacturers, wineries and other luxury goods companies--"started to believe that travel isn't a good environment to be in right now," said John Griffin, president of National Geographic's magazine group.

The flagship National Geographic magazine reported a solid 16.3% revenue increase during November, and Griffin reports strong advertising sales for the next three monthly issues. But the company's National Geographic Traveler spinoff was noticeably hurt by the terrorist attacks, reporting a 44.7% November advertising dollar drop.

Categories that normally perform well during recessionary times managed gains during November. Advertising for drugs and remedies rose by 11.8%, to $106.5 million, while the toiletries and cosmetics category rose by 5.7%, to $133 million.

The 12 sectors tracked by the publishers bureau generated 85% of total magazine advertising. Magazine advertising fell by 4.3%, to $14.9 billion, through the first 11 months. The number of advertising pages fell by 10.9%, to 219,554.


Ad Slump

Magazine advertising continued to slow during November, with several travel-related categories reporting noticeable drops in revenue and advertising pages.

November Percent ad spending change from Category (millions) year ago * Automotive $177.4 -6.1% Home furnishings/supplies 134.3 -8.7 Toiletries/cosmetics 133.0 5.7 Apparel/accessories 132.2 -5.9 Food/food products 117.5 -2.5 Technology 113.5 -40.4 Drugs/remedies 106.5 11.8 Direct response companies 104.7 1.8 Retail 92.2 -13.4 Media/advertising 86.9 -28.5 Financial/insurance/ real estate 86.9 -27.1 Transportation, hotels, resorts 68.0 -12.3

Source: Publishers Information Bureau

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