ABM released its first-quarter 2012 BIN report Tuesday, and print advertising reversed course from 2011 and event revenue, while remaining a bright spot, appears to have slowed its growth when compared to the first quarter last year.
Ad pages for the quarter were down 7.25 percent and revenue was down about 3.5 percent to $1.8 billion when compared to the same period last year, which saw pages relatively flat from 1Q 2010 and revenue up by about 3 percent.
The downward direction on print is an about face on 2011, when b-to-b print advertising closed the year on a high note with almost 4 percent growth. And the first quarter 2012 numbers interrupt what had been three straight quarters of growth across both pages and revenue, according to BIN numbers.
Month-by-month, performance declines were accelerating: January pages and revenues were down 6 percent and 3 percent; February pages and revenues were down 7 percent and 4 percent; and March pages and revenues were down 11 percent and 5.5 percent.
The big page decliners by category for the quarter include computing (-22 percent), pharma (-16 percent) and healthcare (-12 percent).
In all, 15 of the 22 categories tracked showed declines in revenue, while 18 showed declines in pages for the quarter. Page and revenue figures are supplied to ABM by Inquiry Management Systems (IMS).
Event revenues according to the report, which gets its figures from CEIR, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, edged up slightly by 1.5 percent compared to first quarter 2011.
That’s slower growth than 2011’s first quarter, which jumped 5 percent over 2010’s 1Q. Nevertheless, other key metrics in CEIR’s report are also up: Attendance is up 4.5 percent; net square feet is up 3.4 percent and exhibitors were up 1.5 percent. Of those metrics, revenue, exhibitors and net square feet showed slower growth than same period last year.