It’s usually this time of year when the fashionable woman’s oversized purse is filled with inches thick, four pounds-plus fall fashion magazines. This year, however, skinny September issues — and their severely decreased ad pages — are the new red.
Advertising pages for fashion bible Vogue are down 36 per cent, to 429, and, as of July 21, the magazine’s advertising revenue decreased by 26% from 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal. Just two years ago, the Vogue September issue featured 727 ad pages. Things are even worse at Vogue‘s sister magazine, W, where ad revenue is down 41%. Elle and Harper’s Bazaar are more than 20% skinnier as well.
A fair amount of the downsizing can be attributed to the recession and lagging advertising revenues industry-wide, but, as the WSJ notes, luxury fashion houses, which depended heavily on magazine advertisements in the past, are beginning to experiment with other forms of Internet-friendly promotions, including Twitter (Louis Vuitton, 27,000+ followers) and YouTube (see Chanel short starring Audrey Tautou here).
WSJ: Data from WPP’s ad tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence show a significant uptick in the ad spending that fashion marketers are devoting to the Web. Louis Vuitton North America more than doubled its digital ad spending in 2008 to $286,000, from $107,000 in 2007, TNS reports. Diane von Furstenberg boosted its Web spending from nothing to $43,000 last year.
It doesn’t amount to much yet, but it represents one of the few slices of the industry’s marketing budget that are expanding. In addition, the data track spending on display ads but not other types of digital ads, such as search and online video — and they don’t account for the cost of creating a Web site.
Though fashion magazines are beginning to realise it may take a little effort to remain the industry standard-bearers, and are revamping their Web sites and working to increase their own web presence accordingly, they are certainly still hoping luxury ad revenue will eventually creep back up. But, for this September at least, they’ll have to accept being severely underweight.
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