August Ad Rebound for Magazines

Monthly Ad Sales Up 10%

Industry Sees Signs of Stabilization


A key sign of relief for the struggling magazine industry: monthly ad sales for August magazines jumped 10 percent.

Media Industry Newsletterjust reported this jump in ad pages at monthly magazines — the first month of 10 percent year-over-year growth in nearly six years.

Though the percentage increase is certainly off some weak numbers last year, it does indicate that the weak industry is stabilizing.

(August already? Monthly magazines always hit newsstands about two weeks ahead of their cover date).

These stats come on the heels of a magazine rebound in second quarter.

Just last week the Publishers Information Bureaureported that magazines (weeklies and monthlies) showed gains in both revenue and ad pages in the second quarter, their first growth since 2007. Ad revenue grew 5.7 percent to $5.2 billion on a .8 percent increase in ad pages.

J.P. Morgan dug into the August magazine data to analyze how Time Warner, Meredith and Martha Stewart Omnimedia's titles each performed. Martha Stewart brought home the gold medal: her titles rose some 29 percent. And it wasn't just the flagship magazines: "Everyday Food" and "Whole Living" both had double issues in July and showed 16 percent and 16.9 percent respectively.

Time Inc's magazines grew their ad revenue 18 percent, and the company's area of strength reflected the overall trend towards food, women's and lifestyle brands, and away from men's magazines. "In Style" ad pages catapulted nearly 45 percent higher while Golf Magazine reported just 5 percent gains.

Meredith's titles dropped 7 percent; with "Ladies Home Journal" losing 31 percent of its ad pages while "Better Homes and Gardens" lost 12 percent. Losses were moderated by "Fitness," which logged 19 percent growth.

Now we'll have to see if digital revenue for magazines, from the likes of the iPad, can along with more ad pages get the magazine industry back in shape.

Questions? Comments?