Very encouraging to see a story on Forbes.com this week that magazine ad sales for April and May are heading higher. Hearst Magazines’ chief marketing officer, Michael Clinton, reports that sales for April rose 12% compared to the same period last year. Now Clinton says May will be even better. Ad sales across 13 of Hearst’s main titles are already up 17% for May, he says, and the month isn’t fully booked yet. Hearst won’t report official numbers until mid-April. The story reports that the growth is being driven by Hearst’s “big books” like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Oprah and House Beautiful. The ad climate seems to be improving for the magazine business. Overall ad spending for magazines will rise this year by 1.9%, to $9.4 billion, predicts a recent study from Outsell. For consumer titles (as opposed to b-to-b), spending will climb 4.2%.
While I take this as a very encouraging sign in terms of the direction our economy will take over the next 12 to 24 months, this won’t change the long term trend for print magazine revenue, either for advertising or circulation. In fact, according to a recently released Outsell report (Annual Advertising and Marketing Study 2010: Total US and B2B Advertising), “For the first time, advertisers plan to spend more on digital and online marketing and advertising (in 2010), 32.5% of the total, than on print, 30.3%, an industry milestone crossover event.” I am not alone in expecting this trend to continue.
Interesting commentary on the Outsell report (as the report itself is behind a very tall pay wall):
Breitbart.com: US advertisers to spend more on digital than print: study