NUMBERS GAME: When second-quarter ad page figures were released earlier this year, magazine publishers breathed a small sigh of relief. After five straight quarters of industrywide improvement, it seemed publishers were slowly getting their groove back.

Not so fast.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Third-quarter figures released Monday show that ad paging took a turn for the worse, falling almost 6 percent compared to the prior year, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

Only a handful of fashion titles bucked the trend, with People StyleWatch up 48 percent to 331 pages. The dramatic increase can be tied to its July issue, a first for the magazine. Marie Claire posted a 10 percent boost, to 350 pages. Vogue and W also had some success, up almost 4 percent apiece, with 766 pages and 335 pages, respectively.

For the rest of the pack, it seems those typically bigger-than-normal September issues weren’t enough to salvage the quarter. Glamour, which reported that its September issue was the most profitable in its history, fell almost 13 percent to 384 pages and fellow Condé Nast title Allure wasn’t far behind, down 9.7 percent to 233 pages. Elle’s paging fell 8.5 percent to 556 and InStyle was down 5.2 percent to 656. Lucky’s paging continued to slide, down 4.5 percent to 294, and Harper’s Bazaar rounded out the pack, falling 4.1 percent to 387 pages.

Meanwhile, in the weekly division, one clear winner emerged: Bloomberg Businessweek, which reported a 39 percent rise in paging to 340. The New Yorker’s ad pages increased 4 percent to 252. Tina Brown’s Newsweek fell 10 percent to 181 pages, while Time’s ad pages declined 4 percent to 288.

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