PIB: Ad Pages Down in Q1

Travel and beauty titles were top performers.

Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon

Ad pages are down again, but the MPA insists there's reason to be optimistic about the Q1 PIB numbers it released earlier this week.

Travel (9 percent) and beauty (4 percent) were among the top performing major magazine categories, hedging a 4-percent drop overall. The fall is an improvement over the same periods in 2013 (-4.8 percent) and 2012 (-8.2 percent) however.

Several niche categories were also growth drivers. Kids titles were up 26.2 percent, along with in-flight (4.2 percent) and enthusiast (2.4 percent) publications.

Conversely, family titles suffered the biggest losses as a group, down close to 17 percent in the quarter, while shelter (-7.7 percent) and sports (-6.8 percent) magazines also trended downward. Epicurean titles—a category that's seen a lot of launches recently—was down 3.5 percent.

Business (-2.2 percent) and auto (-2.2 percent) also finished in the red, but showed improvement over previous quarters.

Individually, Eating Well (127 percent) was the top performer for the quarter, followed by Destination Weddings & Honeymoons (90.2) and Playboy (60.2).

The association puts the blame squarely on tech and retail advertisers, saying declines in those categories accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total page loss. While the MPA names a few other select ad categories as winners for the quarter—home furnishings (up 16.4 percent) and financial, insurance and real estate (up 5.7 percent) chief among them—it doesn't provide the detail that's available for individual magazines.

Michael Rondon By Michael Rondon

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