Magazines’ Third-Quarter Ad Revenues Up Slightly

By Steve Cohn

Just-released data from Publishers Information Bureau finds that cumulative July-September magazine ad revenues for 2010 versus 2009 are +5.3% ($4.78 billion versus approximately $4.54 billion). Year-to-date, the differential is now +2.6% ($14.03 billion versus approximately $13.70 billion). These increases are indicative of the recovery that is following year-end 2009’s recession-plagued -17.5%.

The biggest gain is coming from automotive, where third-quarter spending is a whopping +46.6% and year-to-date is +35.7%. That reflects the sector nearly grinding to a halt last year as General Motors declared bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by the federal government.

But automotive’s $341.48 million (third quarter) and $910.07 million totals (year-to-date) rank only seventh among the 12 leading PIB categories after dominating nearly all of the 20th century. The current leader is toiletries/cosmetics, with $643.33 million for the third quarter (+4.5%) and $1.85 billion year-to-date (+11.5%).  Runners-up are food/food products (+$522.0 million third quarter/+$1.54 billion year-to-date) and drugs/remedies ($475.5 million/$1.47 billion).