Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Worldwide, magazines are holding up

Worldwide, magazines are holding up
Forecast of 3.4 percent growth in ad spending to 2010
By Heidi Dawley
Magazine publishing in the U.S. may have become gloomy for certain categories, but worldwide it's in healthy shape, with emerging markets making up for the slowdowns in mature markets like the U.S.
And the picture for magazines worldwide looks brighter still going forward, even if they're not seeing anywhere the growth in ad revenue as the internet.

Worldwide ad spending on magazines grew 2.7 percent in 2007, and that pace is forecast to pick up to 3.4 percent a year through 2010.

Much of that growth is coming in countries like India and China.
"It is still a relatively positive outlook in the west, but much more so in the emerging markets," says Rolf Rohwer, marketing and research manager at the International Federation of the Periodical Press, which just released a new study.

But even with the growth in the developing markets, magazines are seeing their share of total media dollars shrink, and that's expected to continue, falling from 12.5 percent in 2006 to 11.4 percent by 2010, according to figures provided to IFPP by ZenithOptimedia.

But there's some consolation. Spending on magazines has kept ahead of inflation over recent years, always a welcome sign for any media. Notes Jonathan Barnard, head of publications for ZenithOptimedia: "It is rising in real terms."

Also, as Barnard further notes, magazines are doing better than newspapers worldwide, where ad spending is forecast to rise roughly 2.8 percent a year on average over the next three years.

Barnard thinks this is the case in part because the magazine experience isn't so easily replicated online. "The experience of reading a magazine is different from a newspaper. The relaxed experience people have browsing through the magazine isn't the same while you are in front of your computer console clicking away."

But magazines have also held the attention of the younger generation better than newspapers, he notes.

What's driving the growth of magazines in developing economies is the emergence of a middle class of growing affluence. They can afford magazines as they could not before, and they can afford the products advertised in them. That in turn makes magazines a more attractive medium to brand advertisers, more so than newspapers.

In China, ad spending on magazines more than doubled between 2001 and 2006, from $145 million to $375 million, and it's forecast to reach $515 million this year. Magazines have also grown their share of market, from 2.3 percent in 1995 to 3.3 percent in 2006.
In the U.S., magazines ad spending grew from $21.5 billion in 2001 to $25.2 billion in 2006 and is forecast to hit $28.3 billion in 2008, according to FIPP figures.