Flat: the new up

Modest ad-page gains for few magazine publishers

The magazine business still tracks ad pages as an indicator of its (relative) health, and the final data for 2011 is just about wrapped.

The Media Industry Newsletter rolled up the gains and losses to identify the five "top" group publishers, measured by ad page gains in 2011. The winners:

In percentage terms, the gains ranged from 7.6% to essentially flat (0.4%). Even taking into account that these are group tallies, the results fall short of "gangbusters".

Still, the results are a bit of a relief for publishers whose page counts dropped by double digits in 2009. As well, revenue is migrating to digital platforms that sidestep a "page count" metaphor.

I do worry about a false sense of complacency, though. With only five of the larger magazine publishing companies showing any gains, it could be a calm before the storm.


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