Top executives at magazine companies have wishful hope for higher ad revenue dollars in 2010.
“Last year, it was people hiding under their desks,” Lou Cona, senior vice president of the Condé Nast Media Group, told Crain’s New York. This year, signed contracts with advertisers “are up over a year ago, and accounts that sat on the sidelines, from automotive to technology to luxury to retail, are jumping back in,” he continued.
Cona is among top ad executives at Time Inc. and Hearst who told Crains that advertising pages for many of their print titles to be up or at least flat through March.
Stephanie George, president of sales and marketing at the Time Warner division, said ad pages will be up about 40% for Sports Illustrated and about 15% for Time this month, compared with a year ago.
With staff cuts and title shutterings, they expect profits to rise soon, too.
But analysts have a different take, according to Crain’s:
It may be a long time before magazines get back their pricing power. Ad pages across the industry fell 26% in 2009, while ad revenue slid 18%, to $19 billion, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Layoffs haven’t ended either: Meredith Corp., publisher of Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, cut 45 employees last week.
Though the worst of the ad recession may be over, analysts still aren’t forecasting growth. Magna Global is calling for ad spending on U.S. magazines to drop 6% in 2010.
Spending will edge down again in 2011, as marketers put more money into promotions, says Borrell Associates President Colby Atwood.
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