Print ad pages are down for the eighth-consecutive quarter, but the pace of those losses is slowing down.
Total consumer magazine ad pages were down 4.5 percent year-over-year for the quarter and 4.9 percent for the first half of 2013, according to the latest numbers from PIB and the MPA-The Association of Magazine Media.
The second quarter, which has been strong historically, marks the third quarter in a row that losses have slowed across the industry however.
Broken down by category, the health and wellness segment had a successful first half with Men’s Fitness (36.1 percent), Women’s Health (26.9) and Men’s Health (24.8) each posting percentage improvements in the top 10 among all consumer magazines. Food titles also saw significant gains as Eating Well (46.5), Bon Appetit (25.0) and Food Network Magazine (15.4) were bunched near the top.
See Also: Ad Pages Dip 5 Percent in Q1
Harper’s Bazaar (19.3), Details (18.9), Motor Trend (18.1), Martha Stewart Living (18.0) and Prevention (14.3) were also among the big gainers.
Business—The Economist (-23.7), Bloomberg Business Week (-18.9), Forbes (-16.5), Harvard Business Review (-15.1) and Money (-10.9)—and automotive titles—Road & Track (-31.1), Autoweek (-19.0) and Car and Driver (-15.8)—saw significant losses across their segments.
iPad Ad Sales Gaining Share
PIB also released ad sales numbers for 58 magazines tracking print and iPad editions.
While iPad ad unit sales—up 24.5 percent for the first half year-over-year—still don’t approach print numbers, their impact is growing. They accounted for close to 37 percent of the group’s total ad sales, up from 31 percent last year.
iPad units and ad page counts aren’t apple-to-apples comparison though. Tablet ads are counted and priced differently than pages, according to Anthony Sarcone, the newly-appointed president of PIB and MPA’s senior vice president of marketing initiatives and insight.
For example, a two-page spread would count as two pages in a print magazine, but only a single ad unit in an iPad edition; a half-page ad is 0.5 ads in print, and a full ad unit on an iPad. Sarcone also notes that digital replica editions aren’t being counted in the iPad ad unit totals.
Moreover, pricing for the two ads isn’t equal. Rate cards aren’t always available for digital editions, so the bottom-line impact of a sale on one platform can’t always be compared to another.
Improving the measurement of digital mediums has been a stated goal for both Mary Berner, president and CEO of MPA, and Sarcone.
"We’re still developing what the best practices are there, [how to] get that information together and pass it by committee to make sure we’re doing it as accurately as possible," Sarcone says. "We’re working with [Kantar Media, who captures the PIB data,] to develop the methodology. We’re anxious for it, and we know the industry is anxious for it. Hopefully within the next year is when we’ll have that data together."