Custom Publishing: Spending Up, Circulation Down
Customized content is growing at a faster rate than traditional media, but custom circulation is showing a decline, according to a new study conducted by the Custom Publishing Council in cooperation with Publications Management. The report, "Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Custom Publications in America" found that in the past year, custom publishing spending is up with more than 125,000 custom publications produced in the U.S., a seven percent increase over 2005.
In 2005, magazines became the most common publication format, beating out newsletters for the first time since 1999, and in 2006, magazines accounted for 41 percent of the market share, a slight increase from 2005, while newsletters dropped to 35 percent of total market share. Online publications rose slightly from 15 percent to 17 percent, a fairly constant figure since 2000, while tabloids remained steady at 8 percent.
The average number of unique custom titles per company remained constant since 2000, with an average of 2.3 publications produced per company. Custom publishing spending by corporate companies hit an all-time high in 2006, reaching $55.6 billion, its seventh consecutive year of growth and a 21 percent increase from 2005. Of that figure, companies spent a record high $37.3 billion on production and distribution of custom publications (excluding personnel-related costs) and $24.5 billion alone on the production of custom publications, including printing, paper, editorial and image development costs.
Circ, Frequency and Ads Post Decline
Average circulation per issue for custom titles decreased in 2006, the first time since 2001. The average circulation is about 35,221 per issue, an 18 percent decrease over 2005, but still a near 80 percent increase since the survey’s inception in 1999. Annual average circulation per title (which combines average frequency per title with average circulation per issue) also showed a decline of nearly 22 percent to 296,000 copies. However since 1999, annual circulation per titles has increased by 139.7 percent.
Custom publication frequency also dropped slightly from 8.8 times per year on average in 2005 to 8.4 times per year on average in 2006. However, a decrease in frequency could be a direct result to the higher number of pages per custom publication issue. Custom publications on average contained 24.9 pages last, the same number of pages reported last year and an increase of 80 percent since 1999.
Although 62 percent of companies use all four color compared to the 39 percent using all four color in 1999, paid advertising decreased in 2006, the first time since first measured in 2002. Sixty-two percent of custom publications reported carrying no advertising in 2006, a near 35 percent change over 2005. Nine percent of custom publications carry in-house ads while 29 percent reported paid advertising.