Custom Publishing Industry Showing Mixed Results During Economic Downturn
A study on custom media released this week demonstrates that the custom publishing industry has remained relatively strong despite the economic downturn, with circulation, frequency and page count all steady or up in the past year. The study, "Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Custom Publications in America," was a joint effort by the Custom Publishing Council (CPC) and Publications Management, a newsletter that tracks the custom publishing industry.
Not all of the study's findings were positive, however. The study showed a 20-percent decline in spending on custom publishing. The number of unique custom titles being published also fell -- from 143,000 in 2007 to 123,157 in 2008.
"The drop in spending appears to be a combination of several factors, most notably the growing use of less expensive electronic media for the presentation of branded content, coupled with an overall reduction in marketing spend because of the current economic climate," said Lori Rosen, executive director of the CPC. "Clearly, some custom publishers have had to change their business models in the face of these forces, but it's equally clear … that there is increased consumer interest in custom media and that the industry has been less affected by these changes than have other forms of marketing and content distribution. The fact that circulation is at an all-time high and pages per issue have increased reaffirms that custom publishers and marketers are committed to this valuable medium and are continuing to invest in their top titles."
The average circulation per issue for custom publications increased from 30,044 in 2007 to 37,340 in 2008, and the total number of custom publications copies distributed increased 7.4 percent in the same period. The average annual frequency of custom publications remained steady at nine times per year, while pages per issue climbed from 22.2 to 23.2. Since 1999, the number of pages per issue has increased 68.1 percent.